Chicken Marsala is a classic Italian-American dish that combines succulent chicken breast, savory mushrooms, and a rich Marsala wine sauce. But this easy, elegant chicken entree is nothing without flavorful side dishes! From creamy risotto to roasted vegetables, these are my favorite chicken Marsala sides.
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You’ve whipped up a masterpiece – tender chicken breasts accented by the earthy flavors of sliced mushrooms in a delicious Marsala sauce. But what side dishes pair best with this classic dish for a complete meal? From rice, potatoes, and other starchy sides to nutrient-rich vegetable side dishes, you’ll find all the inspiration you need right here.
In This Article
Rice is a classic, gluten-free side dish that pairs perfectly with chicken Marsala. I recommend long-grain white rice (like basmati) and using chicken stock or vegetable broth for the liquid to pump up its delicious flavor. You can further jazz up your rice by adding fresh herbs, like thyme or oregano, or veggies, like diced mushrooms or carrots.
Sage Advice: While you don’t need any special equipment to make a batch of fluffy rice, for perfect rice every time, use a rice cooker.
For a classic Italian side dish, consider risotto, a creamier alternative to plain rice. To make risotto, the dry rice is toasted in butter or oil and then slowly cooked in broth (I recommend chicken broth) that is gradually added until all of the liquid is absorbed and the dish reaches the desired consistency. This Italian rice dish can be flavored with a variety of ingredients – like vegetables and seafood – and is often finished with butter, cheese, or cream for added richness.
Although mushrooms are a key ingredient in the delicious Marsala sauce, I still enjoy mushroom risotto (made with slices of fresh mushrooms) as a side dish. As an alternative, consider Parmesan risotto that’s finished with finely grated cheese.
What’s the Difference Between Rice and Risotto?
Rice and risotto are made from the same grain, but they are prepared differently. Rice is a common staple around the world that is typically cooked by steaming it in a pot. Risotto is a traditional Italian dish made using starchy, short-grain rice like Arborio.
3. Egg Noodles
Made from egg and flour, egg noodles are a great side dish for chicken Marsala because they soak up its rich sauce. To make this side dish, simply boil the egg noodles in salted water, drain, and finish with a little butter or olive oil. If desired, you can top the buttered noodles with fresh herbs or a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese to give them even more flavor.
4. Angel Hair Pasta
Angel hair pasta is another deliciously simple starchy side for chicken Marsala. Not only is it fast and easy to prepare (much like egg noodles), but these thin and delicate strands of pasta won’t overpower other flavors on your plate. All you need to do to serve this side dish is to drizzle a little olive oil on the cooked pasta, but you can also add a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley or a little grated cheese.
5. Zucchini Noodles
If you want noodles but are searching for a lower-carb, antioxidant-rich alternative, consider zucchini noodles. If you have a spiralizer, you can easily crank out a batch of veggie noodles. If not, look for fresh or frozen zucchini noodles at your local grocery store. To cook the noodles, either boil them in salted water for a few minutes or saut them in olive oil with a little bit of fresh garlic.
7. Mashed Potatoes
Potatoes make an easy, versatile chicken Marsala side. When it comes to mashed potatoes, you can make a basic recipe that combines cooked cubes of potatoes with milk or cream, butter, and salt – or something a bit more exotic. Mash a few roasted garlic cloves into the potatoes to whip up a batch of garlic mashed potatoes. Or, you can replace the milk or cream in your standard recipe with Boursin cheese to add a touch of both garlic and herbs to this creamy side dish.
Sage Advice: Boursin makes a dairy-free version of its soft, creamy cheese if you are an alpha gal who avoids dairy products.
8. Roasted Potatoes
Roasted potatoes are another easy option to serve with chicken Marsala. Petite red potatoes are a great choice for this dish due to their size. Whether you cut them in half or cook them whole, just toss them in olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and bake them in a single layer on a baking sheet at 400°F until they’re golden brown and crispy (about 20-25 minutes).
Or, for a fresh take on regular roasted potatoes, try these crispy stacked potatoes. They’re crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and perfectly seasoned.
If you prefer a side with less starch, pair your chicken Marsala with a green vegetable. One of my favorite Marsala sides in the vegetable category is sauteed spinach. To make this side dish, simply heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté some minced garlic until fragrant, then add several handfuls of spinach leaves to the skillet. Sauté the spinach leaves until they just become limp, and season with salt and black pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon to taste.
Asparagus is another vegetable side dish that pairs well with chicken Marsala. And, it’s a good source of fiber that is packed with folate and vitamins A, C, and K. You can boil, blanch, and sauté the asparagus or roast it in the oven. Whether you sauté the boiled stalks or bake them in the oven, cook them in a little olive oil with minced garlic, salt, and black pepper.
11. Green Beans
To serve green beans as a side dish, you can prepare them like asparagus – either by boiling and sauteing or by roasting. To take them to the next level, make green bean almondine. This variation on boiled green beans adds toasted sliced almonds to the skillet when you saute the cooked green beans.
12. Broccoli or Broccolini
These vegetables look similar, both with long green stalks topped with florets. But its longer, leaner profile makes broccolini look like a supermodel version of broccoli. Regardless of which option you choose, broccoli and broccolini can easily be sautéed, roasted, or grilled to accompany your chicken Marsala entree.
This classic, slightly sweet veggie is a super simple side dish to accompany chicken Marsala. Whether you opt for fresh peas or frozen, they just need to be briefly cooked and lightly seasoned to sit alongside the delicately breaded chicken cutlets topped with a rich fortified wine sauce.
Whether you use young French-style carrots with the greens still attached or peel and chop a bag of mature carrots into sticks or discs, these beta carotene-rich veggies are a perfect side dish. Simply place the carrots on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with Kosher salt, and roast for about 20 minutes. For a smidge of sweetness to balance the rich savory flavors of the chicken Marsala, make honey-roasted carrots by drizzling some honey over the carrots as they enter the last five minutes of cooking time.
Sage Advice: Can’t decide between peas and carrots as a side dish? Combine the two to create buttered peas and carrots for a dish that’s a family favorite at my house.
15. Caprese Salad
If starchy sides or traditional vegetables don’t seem like the perfect pair to your chicken Marsala, try Caprese salad. With layers of juicy tomato slices, fresh mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves, this salad from the Italian island of Capri is then drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and topped with a sprinkle of salt.
What’s Your Favorite Chicken Marsala Side Dish?
Do you lean toward starchy sides, vegetable sides, or one of each? Do you have a favorite chicken Marsala side dish not listed here? Any additional tips and tricks to pass along? Share your experiences in the comments section below.