The Best Meals To Pair With Garlic Bread (Besides Spaghetti)

Just like chocolate cake, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes, garlic bread is one of those foods even the pickiest of eaters can get behind. Who doesn't love an easy garlic bread recipe loaded with butter, the distinct tang of parmesan cheese, and of course garlic? The first instances of traditional Italian garlic bread, or better known in history as bruschetta alla Romana, were developed before and during the 15th century. They took shape in the form of stale bread crisped and adorned with salty, savory toppings. As the years passed, toasted bread slathered or oftentimes soaked in olive oil transformed into a modern Italian-American version with the addition of butter.

While you might assume garlic bread can only be eaten alongside a hearty plate of spaghetti and meatballs, it's actually a versatile side dish that can accompany many different meals. In truth, a crusty piece of bread slathered with Italian herbs and garlic butter can dress up your favorite soups and stews but also make some of your lighter meals (think salad or seafood) a bit heartier. However, you may be wondering which meals specifically pair well with this flavor-bursting side, so let's get into the details. What are the absolute best foods to eat alongside a rich, crusty piece of garlic bread?

Warm and savory dishes are obvious

Truthfully, the sky's the limit when it comes to pairing your next batch of garlic bread with your favorite meals. Since garlic bread is a simple versatile food, it can accompany a wide array of dishes. If your first instinct is to enjoy this flavorful bread next to a savory bowl of soup or a warm plate of pasta then you have the right idea. Whether you crave broth-based vegetable soup or a creamier variety like lobster bisque or cream of broccoli, garlic bread proves to be a tasty match.

If you need a recommendation, any dish that has tomatoes as a base is a surefire guaranteed match for garlic bread. Defined as both a fruit and vegetable depending on who you talk to, tomatoes have a complex flavor profile ranging from sweet to sour. The highly acidic makeup of tomatoes makes them an umami-rich food perfect for pairing with the intense flavor of garlic. As the birth of garlic bread came from making heartier meals out of simple leftover ingredients, you may want to pair this flavorful toast with traditional Tuscan dishes like oysters with spinach or classic pasta e fagioli which is a tomato-based soup with white beans. Next to slow cooker beef stew and more classic Italian tomato-based dishes, garlic bread tends to be the perfect complement to lighter fare as well.

Try eating garlic bread with a lighter dish to create a well-rounded meal

Instead of classic garlic bread, you may be excited to try something a little more robust such as cheesy savory monkey bread which has all the usual ingredients of traditional garlic bread but with appetizing extras like bacon and mozzarella cheese. Feel free to make your next lunchtime salad a richer meal with a helping or two of this filling bread. Or if you want to utilize classic garlic bread in a more unique way, you can substitute this delight in traditional Caesar salad instead of standard croutons.

If salads aren't at the top of your list of foods you want to chow down on, garlic bread happens to be a great accompaniment to seafood as well. Besides traditional clam chowder, the nuanced flavors of steamed lobster tail or crab legs pair perfectly well with a crusty piece of bread massaged in garlic and butter. Classic barbecue also happens to work well with garlic bread since smoked meat and all the leftover sauces and liquid it creates in the cooking process are meant to be soaked up by a crusty piece of bread or two. All things considered, feel free to get creative and use garlic bread based on how it was first utilized historically — by adding flavor to traditional dishes and bulking up your favorite everyday meals.