What to Serve Paella With

Looking for the perfect accompaniments to make your paella meal complete? Wondering what to serve paella with to enhance its flavors and create a memorable dining experience? Look no further!

This article is here to guide you through a variety of delicious options that will perfectly complement your paella dish. From traditional Spanish side dishes and fresh salads to crusty bread and dipping sauces, we’ve got you covered.

So, let’s dive in and discover the best pairings for your next paella feast!

Key Takeaways

  • Traditional Spanish side dishes and tapas that pair well with paella include patatas bravas, pan con tomate, arroz a la cubana, and arroz con frijoles.
  • Fresh salad options to serve with paella include a vegetable medley of roasted bell peppers, sautéed zucchini, and steamed green beans, enhanced with a citrus-infused dressing.
  • Crusty bread options like sourdough, focaccia, ciabatta, cornbread, or garlic bread can be paired with paella, along with flavorful dipping sauces like Spanish-style aioli or tangy tomato salsa.
  • Wine pairings for paella include light and fruity red wines like Rioja, or crisp and refreshing white wines like Albariño, which complement the flavors of paella and provide a pleasant contrast.

Traditional Spanish Side Dishes

You should serve traditional Spanish side dishes with your paella, such as patatas bravas and pan con tomate. These side dishes not only complement the flavors of the paella but also add depth and variety to your meal.

When it comes to fresh vegetable options, a popular choice is patatas bravas. These crispy potatoes are typically served with a spicy tomato sauce, providing a contrast of textures and flavors to the rich and savory paella.

Another classic side dish is pan con tomate, which is essentially grilled bread rubbed with garlic and ripe tomatoes. The simplicity of this dish allows the flavors of the tomatoes to shine through, making it a refreshing accompaniment to the paella.

In addition to these fresh vegetable options, traditional rice dishes can also be served alongside paella. One such dish is arroz a la cubana, which consists of white rice topped with a fried egg, tomato sauce, and plantains. This hearty and flavorful rice dish adds a touch of comfort to the meal.

Another option is arroz con frijoles, a rice dish cooked with black beans and seasoned with aromatic spices. The combination of rice and beans provides a protein-rich and satisfying side dish that pairs well with the paella.

Fresh Salad Options

When it comes to fresh salad options, there are two key points to consider: vegetable medley pairing and citrus-infused dressing options.

Pairing different vegetables together in a medley can create a delicious and visually appealing salad.

Additionally, using a citrus-infused dressing can add a refreshing and tangy flavor to your salad.

Let’s explore these two aspects further to create the perfect fresh salad.

Vegetable Medley Pairing

To complement your paella, try serving it with a vegetable medley that includes roasted bell peppers, sautéed zucchini, and steamed green beans.

This delightful medley not only adds vibrant colors to your plate but also brings a burst of flavors that perfectly complement the rich and savory notes of the paella.

The roasted bell peppers add a smoky sweetness, while the sautéed zucchini brings a subtle earthiness. The steamed green beans provide a refreshing crunch and a touch of brightness.

This vegetable medley is a great alternative to the traditional salad option, adding variety and depth to your meal. It pairs beautifully with paella, creating a balanced and nutritious combination that will satisfy your taste buds.

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Citrus-Infused Dressing Options

For a burst of refreshing flavor, try adding a citrus-infused dressing to your vegetable medley.

Citrus infused salad dressings and marinades are a great way to elevate the taste of your dishes. Whether you’re looking to add a tangy kick to your salad or enhance the flavors of your grilled vegetables, citrus-infused dressings are the perfect solution.

The combination of zesty citrus fruits like lemon, lime, and orange with a blend of herbs and spices creates a bright and vibrant dressing that will leave your taste buds wanting more.

Not only do these dressings add a pop of flavor, but they also provide a healthy dose of vitamin C and antioxidants.

Crusty Bread and Dipping Sauces

When it comes to serving crusty bread with dipping sauces, there are plenty of options to choose from.

You’ll want to pair the right type of bread with the right sauce to enhance the flavors and create a delightful culinary experience.

Whether you prefer a classic baguette with a tangy marinara sauce or a rustic sourdough with a creamy garlic aioli, the possibilities are endless when it comes to bread pairing options and flavorful dipping sauces.

Bread Pairing Options

You can’t go wrong with a crusty baguette or some warm, fluffy dinner rolls as the perfect bread pairing options for your paella. These bread options provide a delightful contrast to the rich and savory flavors of the dish, enhancing your dining experience.

Here are some bread alternatives that you might consider:

  • Sourdough: With its tangy flavor and chewy texture, sourdough complements the bold flavors of paella exceptionally well.

  • Focaccia: This Italian bread, topped with olive oil and herbs, adds a delightful Mediterranean twist to your meal.

  • Ciabatta: Known for its airy interior and crispy crust, ciabatta is a versatile choice that holds up well to the robust flavors of paella.

  • Cornbread: For a unique twist, try serving your paella with some moist and crumbly cornbread, adding a touch of sweetness to the dish.

  • Garlic bread: The combination of garlic, butter, and crusty bread creates a mouthwatering accompaniment to your paella.

Choose the bread option that suits your taste and enjoy the perfect pairing with your paella.

Flavorful Dipping Sauce

Now that you’ve chosen a delicious bread to accompany your paella, let’s talk about the perfect dipping sauce to elevate your dining experience.

One classic option is a Spanish-style aioli, a creamy and garlicky sauce that pairs beautifully with the flavors of paella. Made with olive oil, garlic, and egg yolks, this aioli adds a rich and velvety texture to your meal. Its bold and tangy taste complements the savory notes of the paella, creating a harmonious combination of flavors.

Another fantastic choice is a tangy tomato salsa. Prepared with fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice, this salsa adds a refreshing and zesty element to your paella. The vibrant flavors of the salsa balance the richness of the dish, providing a burst of freshness with every bite.

Whether you prefer the creamy aioli or the tangy salsa, these flavorful dipping sauces are sure to take your paella to the next level.

Tapas and Small Bites

If you’re serving paella, don’t forget to include some delicious tapas and small bites to complement the main dish. Tapas are a popular choice when it comes to pairing with paella, as they offer a variety of flavors and textures that can enhance the overall dining experience.

Here are some small bites ideas that you can consider:

  • Patatas Bravas: These crispy fried potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce are a classic tapas dish that adds a kick to your meal.

  • Gambas al Ajillo: Shrimp cooked in garlic and olive oil, this dish brings a burst of flavor that pairs well with the rich flavors of paella.

  • Croquetas: These creamy and crispy fried bites filled with ham or cheese are a crowd pleaser and make for a great addition to your paella spread.

  • Pan con Tomate: Simple yet delicious, this dish consists of toasted bread rubbed with garlic and ripe tomatoes. It’s a refreshing option that complements the flavors of paella.

  • Chorizo al Vino: Sliced chorizo sausage cooked in red wine creates a mouthwatering combination of smoky and tangy flavors.

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Including these tapas and small bites alongside your paella will not only elevate the overall dining experience but also provide your guests with a variety of flavors to enjoy.

Wine Pairings for Paella

When choosing a wine to pair with your paella, consider opting for a light and fruity red such as a Rioja or a crisp and refreshing white like an Albariño. These wines complement the flavors of paella perfectly and enhance your dining experience.

If you prefer red wine, Rioja is an excellent choice. Its notes of red fruits and oakiness pair well with the rich and savory flavors of the paella. The acidity in this wine helps to cut through the richness of the dish, balancing the flavors and leaving a pleasant aftertaste.

On the other hand, if you prefer white wine, Albariño is a fantastic option. It is known for its crispness, bright acidity, and citrus flavors. This wine adds a refreshing element to the paella and brings out the flavors of the seafood and vegetables in the dish.

If you’re not a wine lover, there are other beverage options to consider. Beer can be a great alternative to wine when pairing with paella. A light and refreshing lager or a hoppy IPA can complement the flavors of the dish and provide a nice contrast.

When it comes to wine and cheese pairings, a Rioja pairs wonderfully with aged Manchego cheese, while an Albariño goes well with fresh goat cheese. These combinations bring out the best in both the wine and the cheese, creating a harmonious and satisfying taste experience.

Vegetarian Accompaniments

To accompany your vegetarian paella, try adding a side of grilled vegetables for a burst of smoky flavor. Grilled vegetables are not only delicious but also provide a variety of nutrients. Here are five vegetables you can grill to enhance your vegetarian paella experience:

  • Bell peppers: Grilling bell peppers brings out their natural sweetness and adds a charred flavor that complements the paella perfectly.
  • Zucchini: Grilling zucchini gives it a lovely smoky taste and a slightly crisp texture. It adds a fresh and light element to the dish.
  • Eggplant: Grilled eggplant becomes tender and creamy, adding a rich and meaty texture to your paella.
  • Portobello mushrooms: These hearty mushrooms are a great vegetarian protein alternative and have a meaty texture when grilled. They add a savory flavor to the dish.
  • Asparagus: Grilling asparagus gives it a slightly charred taste and a tender yet crunchy texture. It adds a vibrant green color and a fresh taste to the paella.

Seafood and Shellfish Options

For a seafood twist, try adding shrimp or mussels to your vegetarian paella. This will not only enhance the flavors but also give you a taste of the sea. Seafood and shellfish options are a popular choice when it comes to serving paella. They add a delightful texture and bring a burst of flavor to the dish. Whether you prefer shrimp, mussels, or a combination of both, they will surely elevate your paella experience.

To help you create the perfect seafood paella, here are some tapas ideas and wine pairings to complement your meal:

Tapas Ideas Wine Pairings
Patatas Bravas Rioja or Tempranillo
Gambas al Ajillo Albariño or Verdejo
Pimientos de Padrón Cava or Rosé
Croquetas de Jamón Sherry or Manzanilla
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These tapas will not only add variety to your meal, but also create a well-rounded Spanish dining experience. Pairing them with the right wines will enhance the flavors and create a harmonious balance.

Grilled Meats and Sausages

If you’re looking to add some smoky flavor to your meal, try grilling some meats and sausages. Grilling is a fantastic way to cook these protein-packed ingredients, as it imparts a delicious charred taste that enhances their natural flavors. Not only will grilling meats and sausages add a delectable smoky element to your dish, but it also offers a healthier alternative to frying or pan-searing.

Here are some reasons why you should consider grilling meats and sausages:

  • Grilling brings out the natural juices and tenderness of the meat.
  • The smoky flavor adds depth and complexity to the dish.
  • It provides a healthier cooking method, as excess fat drips away.
  • Grilled meats and sausages pair perfectly with a variety of sauces and marinades.
  • You can also grill vegetables alongside the meats for a well-rounded meal.

When grilling, you can experiment with different types of meats and sausages. From juicy steaks and flavorful chicken breasts to spicy sausages and succulent pork chops, the options are endless. Additionally, if you’re looking to explore alternative proteins, grilling plant-based options like tofu, tempeh, or seitan can provide a delicious and nutritious alternative.

Light and Refreshing Desserts

When it’s hot outside, there’s nothing better than indulging in light and refreshing desserts. After enjoying a delicious paella meal, it’s time to satisfy your sweet tooth with some delectable dessert options.

One popular choice is a fruit salad. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and natural sweetness, fruit salads are not only tasty but also a guilt-free treat. You can create your own fruit salad by combining a variety of fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, and pineapple. Add a squeeze of lemon juice for a tangy twist and a sprinkle of fresh mint leaves for an extra burst of flavor.

If you’re looking for something a bit more indulgent, consider serving your paella with a scoop of refreshing sorbet. Sorbets come in a range of flavors like mango, lemon, raspberry, and passionfruit, providing a delightful contrast to the savory paella. The cool and smooth texture of sorbet is sure to refresh your palate.

Non-Alcoholic Beverage Suggestions

One great option to complement your meal is a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage like a sparkling fruit punch. When it comes to non-alcoholic drink ideas, there are plenty of delicious options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for something fruity, creamy, or even spicy, there’s a mocktail recipe out there to suit your taste.

Here are five ideas to get you started:

  • Virgin Mojito: This classic mocktail combines fresh lime juice, mint leaves, and soda water for a refreshing and zesty drink.

  • Strawberry Lemonade: A sweet and tangy blend of fresh strawberries, lemon juice, and sparkling water, perfect for a hot summer day.

  • Pina Colada Smoothie: This tropical treat combines pineapple, coconut milk, and a hint of vanilla for a creamy and refreshing mocktail.

  • Spicy Watermelon Margarita: For those who like a little kick, this mocktail features fresh watermelon, lime juice, and a touch of jalapeno for a spicy twist.

  • Sparkling Cranberry Punch: A festive and bubbly mocktail made with cranberry juice, orange juice, and sparkling water, perfect for celebrations.

These non-alcoholic beverages will not only enhance your dining experience but also provide a refreshing and flavorful alternative to alcoholic drinks. So, next time you’re planning a meal, don’t forget to include some delicious mocktails to please everyone’s taste buds.


So there you have it, a variety of delicious options to serve with your paella. From traditional Spanish side dishes to fresh salads and crusty bread with dipping sauces, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

While some may argue that paella is already a complete meal on its own, adding these accompaniments can elevate the dining experience and provide additional flavors and textures.

So go ahead and experiment with different combinations, and don’t forget to pair your paella with a fine wine or a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage.

Bon appétit!