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25 Sides: Inspiration For What To Serve With Fish

Cooking is one-part technical ability, one part patience, and 100% creativity. I’m always wondering what to serve with fish that doesn’t come in a frozen bag or a blue box.
 
Fresh ingredients, simply prepared, are often the best way to level up fish recipes.
 
The internet has been a wealth of inspiration for how to cook, but even more so is a look-book for side dish recipes and a treasure trove of ideas, especially when I know I don’t have everything I need at once, so I can improvise where needed.
 
So, we put together lists of recipes to help you decide what to eat with fish that you can make at home. 

These serve as a jumping-off point for some of your favorite flavors and allow you to use 1:1 of what you have on hand.
 
Enjoy our recommendations for fish side dishes, from a beautiful cauliflower dish with coriander seeds and Italian parsley, to simple, comforting Garlic Spaghetti powdered with parmesan.
 
What we feature here is just a taste (see what we did there) of all the amazing recipes of the best side dishes that go with fish.

Food at home can sometimes be time-consuming to prepare, but whole roasted butternut squash is as simple as it comes.
 
Butternut squash is a favorite alongside salmon—a lightly sweet complement to that rich salmon.
 
With a chef’s knife, slice one lengthwise, coat with olive oil and set on a baking sheet at 400F and you have a vegetable that’s either ready to eat or ready to use in recipes.
 
Once cooled, cube al dente roasted butternut squash for fall salads, or scoop it into a blender to make into a puree for soup, similar to how you might use sweet potatoes.

This three-ingredient potato recipe has gorgeous presentation with just butter, baby potatoes, and some rosemary seasoning.
 
These Hassleback potatoes can be grilled or roasted, and you can sub out the butter for olive oil.
 
Make your own rosemary or steak seasoning here, or even garnish with fresh herbs as you see fit.
 
The trick is making sure you don’t cut all the way through the potato.
 
These make a tasty side for fish, and even kids are happy with the fun shape.

While not (yet) one of America’s most popular grains, this chewy, nutty and absolutely fortifying grain makes a perfect side dish for pork, chicken, and as I see it—fish.
 
This side uses an air fryer to make quick work of the prepped root veggies, and you still have the stove top to simmer the pearled farro to an al dente finish.
 
Served hot as a hearty pilaf or a chilled dish that serves up similar to a pasta salad, this will make a lovely, easy side dish any time of year.

Another beautiful air fryer recipe, this one is a simple mixed veggie dish that uses zooks, and either cherry tomatoes or cut tomato wedges.
 
Grab your big mixing bowl and toss your oil and seasonings, then set your air fryer to “awesome” and you’ll eat in about 15 minutes.
 
Get your fish going at the same time, and everything is practically ready to serve at once.

This one is both a recipe and a how-to, so especially if you are new to cooking, it’s a good tip for how to sauté with a short list of the ingredients.
 
With delicate fish, it’s good to enhance that light flavor in two ways: stay with a light-lunch ideal, or make your flavorful sides do the heavy lifting on the plate.
 
Freshly snapped green beans will cut the rich, creamy cajun flavors of Baked Flounder with Pontchartrain Sauce, for example.
 
Got a Salmon Oscar? We got you— these al dente green beans with just a hint of sea salt and olive oil are the great way to go.

We really love the versatility of bok choy—the carte blanc of “exotic” vegetable side dishes.
 
This article mentions it as a side for meat loaf, sirloin, and of course, plenty of Chinese meals feature bok choy.
 
But I’m loving this sauteed bok choy as a great side dish for fish.
 
This three-ingredient recipe (hit that Jump to Recipe to go straight there) is really a jumping-off point for using your favorite seasonings.
 
The trick is not to flip or move around the bok choy too much, so it gets nice and charred.

I will be the first to admit that I grew up LOVING spinach. It was one of the only vegetables that my mom served that I didn’t throw a fit about.
 
Maybe it was the irony (get it? Iron?) of how she was so shocked that I would eat it, but I made it my life’s mission to eat it and enjoy it in as many recipes as possible.
 
This Easy Cheesy Creamed Spinach is one of many.
 
The garlic and parmesan transform these leafy greens into a rather decadent dish, but you can still say you had your veggies for the day.

How many times have you had seafood out and rice was over, under, or beside your seafood entrée, nestled with a lemon wedge?
 
Citrus just goes hand-in-hand (hand-in-fin?) with fish, and that perfectly cooked basmati rice just brings it all home. Combine these classic flavors into this 5-Ingredient Lemon Rice Recipe—one versatile and delicious side dish.
 
This recipe uses lemon zest, garlic and olive oil as a simple, fresh sidecar to practically any fish recipe. Want more lemon juice flavor? Double that zest and make it sing.

We’ve already established that citrus is a natural sidecar to seafood and fish, and this lemon-levitating powerhouse over at Feasting at Home is both vegan and gluten free.
 
Even if you don’t follow a specific diet, look at this one like a delicious way to get your veggies in at your next dinner party.
 
Check out the perfectly charred florets on the cauliflower with fresh parsley throughout and you can practically smell the bright lemon through the screen.
 
They are using coriander seeds, caraway seeds and chopped Italian parsley like a boss.
 
If this turns out anything like their pics, I’d eat this gorgeous dish for dinner, lunch and breakfast.

Does it get any simpler than a serving bowl of noodles slathered with butter, salt and black pepper? 
 
Didn’t think so.
 
This easy recipe for a fish side has got the trifecta of yum: pasta, butter, and salt. Ah, it’s such a great option when you want a filling, easy side.
 
There are so many different ways to enhance this main ingredient with fresh flavors and spices.
 
You can garnish the heck of buttered noodles with practically any herbs like fresh dill, shaker cheese, lemon zest and more, so go to town on this simple recipe.
 
Pro Tip: Never overcook thy noodles is rule one.

Sweet potato fries are always a nice change from the usual, and you can make this all in one go when you use a conventional oven.

Baking these gems will cut down on the fat, but there are some things to remember:

    • Peeling provides a smoother fry – that skin comes out tough in the oven
    • Slice the fries thin as possible
    • Only cook in one layer
    • Don’t place them too close together
    • Use parchment paper or sprayed foil on the baking sheet.

You can make these into sweet potato wedges, too.

Who knew that an easy recipe for a salad was really important to making a meal go from yum to YOWZA!
 
The unassuming title of “Best Green Salad Recipe” doesn’t do this one justice.
 
The tang of pecorino cheese, the crunch of panko, red onion and my favorite—butter lettuce—makes this salad go over the top, 100%. 

With a mustard/vinegar combo vinaigrette, you’re set. Or sub out a simple lemon dressing or champagne vinaigrette if you don’t have all of the ingredients it calls for.

Not exactly smashed and roasted like my Uncle Pete at my cousin’s wedding but ALMOST. 
 
Brussel sprouts just weren’t a vegetable I could choke down until I was almost -cough- years old.
 
But then, THEN, some were prepared properly—nicked at the ends and roasted in the oven with balsamic vinegar—and it changed my veggie life.
 
This recipe for Smashed Roasted Brussels Sprouts features mountains of parmesan cheese, so let the cheese move you to tears.
 
You can even use fresh or frozen brussels (which is nice if you can’t find them in season near you).
 
Steam these little green gems and literally smash the cooked sprouts into submission.
 
The crisp edges of cheesy goodness will just send you over the edge, y’all.

Such a pretty side dish to go with tasty fish, particularly a grilled, teriyaki tilapia.
 
Shaving carrots was never on my to-do list until this spicy number from Running To The Kitchen showed up on my desk.
 
The salad itself is just carrots, scallion, cashew, but the flavor punch is coming from this dressing of home-roasted chili peppers, two kinds of oil—coconut and sesame—and white wine vinegar.
 
I’d probably add a touch more salt and honey because carrots seem to need the depth of flavor.
 
If you can handle that kick, this one will make your fish dish SING.

Corn is so versatile, and if you’re grilling your fish, find the grilling method here and get these set up on the grill before you put your fish on.
 
Grill it all and save your kitchen the cleanup.
 
But if you only have a few minutes and you want to get your fresh corn on the table fast, boil them on the stove top.
 
Serve with plenty of salt, butter (and Tajîn if you’re feeling fancy).
 
We always recommend that you drain corn on the cob well and cool them for a couple minutes before serving.
 
Get the bibs out—corn on the cob is one of the best sides for fish this side of the Fishissippi. (Sorry.)

Spaghetti is one of those popular side dishes that’s far more versatile than we often give it credit for.
 
I’ve been eating it with marinara and ground beef for so long (ok meatballs too) that I’ve rarely given it a chance to grow up.
 
This recipe over at Little Sunny Kitchen says “Here’s your chance, spaghetti. Go and make us proud.”
 
They talk about all the amazing ways to pair it but of course we are loving this with practically any fish: salmon, halibut, trout, and more.
 
They use fresh parsley—and of course fresh herbs are so bright and wonderful—but I have a packed pantry of dried spices, so I used dried parsley just fine in this one.

While we are happy cooking with garlic in any state, there’s something PROFOUND about roasted garlic. Profound, I tell you.
 
High heat changes the flavor profile of garlic completely!
 
Smooth, luscious, practically creamy with warm, nutty notes instead of the tang of fresh garlic, this recipe helps you take that first step to making roasted garlic for a charcuterie board, to add to sauces, or to make into a spread.

We were making this list too simple for you, eh? Well, level up dinner time with risotto, the famously time-consuming dish that takes all of your attention.
 
This recipe from Grace and Good Eats doesn’t have a long list of ingredients, but they are truthful about how long it will take you to create this lovely pot of grain goodness.
 
Follow the directions to a T and you’ll come out happy and full next to your delicate fish.

We do tend to like cauliflower with fish, because we can add a lot of sauces or cheese (or both) and still call it a veg.
 
This one, though, makes like steak—cut in thick slices and charred beautifully.
 
Add spices of your choice or use the ones we’ve included. The trick is not moving the cauliflower too much, so it gets nice and dark on each side. It adds a smoky flavor that just steamed cauliflower doesn’t have.
 
It’s hard to wait, and patience is a virtue on this recipe. This goes in the oven, but you can adjust to make it on the grill.
 
You know what they say, “Fake it till you steak it.”

Broccolini, aka baby broccoli or broccoli rabe, with an asparagus-like stalk and a mild traditional-broccoli floret flavor, is best cooked nicely al dente. 

I love this stuff with seafood and super-rich, sauce-smothered entrees. 
 
Not that I’m trying to influence you in any way, but I discovered this cruciferous veg at Pappadeaux’s, and they know what to serve with fish.
 
So, try this recipe out, and the trick is to sear, sear, sear. They offer a lot of notes for broccolini first timers.

I am always waxing poetic about how cranberries go so well with everything salmon that I make: salmon patties, grilled salmon, oven-baked salmon, pan-sauteed salmon. 

While this isn’t fresh fruit, it’s cooked, this Cranberry Compote is the first thing that comes to mind when I’m thinking about what to serve with fish.

Full disclosure: I eat cranberry compote with a spoon as a snack, too, so I REALLY love it. That snappy sour tang isn’t for everyone, but I LOVE it. And it’s really best with a rich fish dish. (Say that one three times fast.)
 
Try this recipe with a frozen bag of cranberries that you bought during that short autumn window when they are available. Let me know what you think, unless you hate it, then don’t tell me.

This slaw is throwing it down with Granny Smith apples, apple cider vinegar, a touch of mayo and sour cream, and a prepared bag of coleslaw mix so your recipe comes together in a snap. 

That touch of table sugar heightens that apple flavor and this one disappears by the forkful.

Some days I think simple baked potatoes are so…simple… and then once I have one in front of me, I tuck in like I’ve been long lost in the desert. 

That perfectly soft and fluffy new potatoes, or Yukon golds, or a fine Russet. Topped with everything…or almost nothing…a baked potato will make your fish’s day.

We are hooked on the simplicity of a baked potato and how fast and easy it is to bake in the air fryer—and we still get that beautiful, aromatic, oven-roasted texture. 

See? Now I want a baked potato.

A light, bright no-mayo coleslaw goes perfectly with summer seafood recipes. 

We have a couple of slaw options on the site, but this one is our favorite to come alongside easy dinner recipes of meaty fish or grilled fish fillets. 

We pile this one high on sliders, fish sandwiches, and it’s the perfect pairing with fish tacos, too!

What list of sides to serve with fish would be complete without tartar sauce?

There’s plenty of fried fish out there (and maybe a few french fries) that are lonely and hoping for a quick dipping sauce to make life complete. 

Can you mix sweet relish with mayo and call it a day? Sure. But also try this recipe. 

The bottom line

What kind of fish are you having for dinner? 

We keep a lot of salmon in the freezer and so we are always on the lookout for a quick and easy side to whip up at the last minute.
 
Take a look at these 21 Mango Recipes—there’s so much good stuff, and some of these will go great with a healthy side dish of a mild white fish or other seafood pasta dishes.

We put together this Lemon & Dill Salmon with Herbed Salad, and it’s a nice main course that you can substitute other types of fish if you’re not a fan of salmon.

Let us know if you gave any of these dishes for your fishes a try, and if you made any adjustments.

PS: We mention air fryer recipes a lot because we love ours and use it all the time. Enter to win our giveaway for an air fryer. If you have one and love it, you can give it to someone for Christmas. Or keep it as a backup.

25 Sides: Inspiration For What To Serve With Fish

25 Sides: Inspiration For What To Serve With Fish

From slaw to noodles, rice to salad, here are some of the best recipes we could round up when you want inspiration for what to serve with fish!

Ingredients

  • Roasted Butternut Squash
  • Garlic and Rosemary Baby Hassleback Potatoes
  • Farro Salad with Air Fryer Vegetables
  • Roasted Zucchini with Tomatoes
  • Sautéed Green Beans
  • Sauteed Bok Choy
  • Easy Cheesy Creamed Spinach
  • 5-Ingredient Lemon Rice Recipe
  • Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Lemon and Parsley
  • Buttered Noodles
  • Baked Sweet Potato Fries
  • Green Salad
  • Brussels Sprouts: Smashed and Roasted
  • Shaved Carrot Salad
  • Corn on the Cob: Three Ways
  • Garlic Butter Spaghetti
  • Air Fryer Roasted Garlic
  • Creamy Parmesan Risotto
  • Cauliflower “Steaks” in the Oven or Grill
  • Broccolini, Charred
  • Cranberry Compote
  • Crisp, Apple Carrot Slaw
  • Air Fryer Baked Potato
  • No-Mayo Carolina Coleslaw
  • Tartar Sauce

Instructions

  1. Take a look at our list of recipes and choose a couple to go with your fish dinner. 
  2. Make the recipes and share your success with us!
  3. Check out our giveaway page and let your friends know about CookingChew!

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