Paella is probably the most famous Spanish dish, people don´t only love it in Spain, but all over the world. Although it´s true that paella is a heavy dish and can be eaten just by itself, depending on where you go, you will find it accompanied with different starters or side dishes. Today, to explain “What to serve with paella?” we have made a list of the 5 different dishes that match better with the typical Spanish rice.
1) Bread with aioli
Okay, there are many dishes to serve with paella, but two of them are the most typical all over Spain, the ones you will find in most restaurants.
The first one is a tapa, and it´s the aioli. Normally people order bread with aioli, before the paella arrives. It´s as simple as getting a slice of bread and spread the aioli on top of it. In our family, we love it, and it´s something we order always when we are somewhere near the beach.
Another option (that we don´t really like) is spreading the aioli through the paella dish. We don´t recommend this at all, as it destroys the essence and the flavor of the paella.
2) Mixed Salad
The second of the most common dishes to eat with paella is the mixed salad. Actually, there are many kinds of Salad to accompany with paella (we tell you about them later on this article), but the one we have seen most since we were little is the mixed salad.
Lettuce, tomato, raw onion, olives, tuna and of course a great amount of olive oil and a pinch of salt… These ingredients make the mixed Salad a perfect side dish to serve with paella.
It´s a fresh dish, and you can either order it to have it while you wait for your paella to be ready, or just put it in the middle of the table when you already have your paella dish.
When you are wondering “What to have with a paella?”, you should always keep in mind the starters and appetizers, as we said, paella is a heavy dish, so you don´t want to be full before it comes.
We will show you later a full list of appetizers that goes with paella, but the most common ones are the olives. Olives are very entertained and not very heavy, so it won´t make you be less hungry for your paella.
Being more specific, the olives you should have, are the ones of “Campo Real”. Which are the best olives in the world (In our opinion)
4) Gazpacho or Salmorejo
We decided to include gazpacho and salmorejo on this list, just because is very common in some areas of Spain to have a SMALL cup of it, before getting your paella, but being honest, in our opinion, is not the best option at all.
We do love salmorejo and gazpacho, but it´s a heavy plate and it goes better with other dishes that are not a main course. Like a plate of meat or fish.
Anyway, you won´t be disgusted if you ask for it, and many people order it, so why not trying it to see if it is one of those great foods to have with paella… Or not.
5) Padron Peppers
To finish our list of the 5 dishes that go well with paella, we have selected the Padron Peppers, which are not the most popular option, but we really enjoyed them.
For the ones who don´t know what Padron Peppers, you will find our article bellow, but just so you know, these are a kind of peppers very popular from the North of Spain. The tricky thing about them, is that they can be normal, and they can be spicy… You never known how yours is going to be.
The reason why Padron Peppers are great food to serve with paella is because their size is very small, and they are not heavy at all. You will have lots of fun eating them and you will be well prepared for your paella after finishing.
Full menu of things to eat with paella
As we said before, these were just our favorite 5 dishes to accompany the paella, but as you can imagine there are a million options, and it all depends on your taste. That’s why we are going to tell you which are the favorite choices for Spaniards depending on if you are looking or a drink to serve with paella, a salad, a starter, a side dish… Or even a dessert.
What appetizer goes well with paella?
A paella can normally take between 20 to 30 minutes to be ready, so the most typical thing to do when ordering one at a restaurant is to ask for a starter, an appetizer or a tapa.
We have told you already about the olives, the aioli and the salmorejo, but other tapas to serve with paella are a plate of ham and cheese, a few croquettes (just one or two for each), or a small dish of Marcona almonds, peanuts or other kinds of nuts.
Generally, you ask for an appetizer just to not starve. The point is not eating much and be ready to have a full dish of paella.
What salad to serve with paella?
As we said before, if you are looking for good side dishes to serve with paella, salads are your best option. Mixed salad is the option we always order, as it´s fresh, light and very tasty, but there are more options.
Almost any kind of salad will work as a side dish when eating paella, but the mixed salad, the Caesar salad, and sometimes, the “Ensaladilla Rusa” (Russian salad) are the most typical choices in Spain.
What drink to serve with paella?
This one is pretty easy, Spaniards won´t give you many options when talking about drinks to share with paella. A glass of whine or a beer are the only drinks they have when eating paella on a hot day of summer. Of course, you can just order a glass of water, a coke or even a cocktail if you want to, but that´s what people in Spain do.
The beer is either a “Clara” (beer with lemon), or a normal beer. The wine is normally a “Tinto de Verano”, which is very similar to the famous and popular sangria.
Oh, and of course, after having a hearty paella dish, you can´t forget your coffee… It´s a must.
What is a good dessert to serve with paella?
There is no typical dessert to eat after having paella, so order the want you like the most.
BUT… If you ask us, we would advice you to go for a Catalan Cream, a flan, or a piece of the cake they have on the restaurant (Cheesecake is a great option). These are the options we used to have in our family and all of them are delicious.
What else would you eat with paella?
That´s it, those are all your options of things to eat with a paella, as you can see there are multiple and of all kinds. Being honest, none of these really matter, because what matters is the paella, but it´s great to have good things around it.
Now you know what to serve with paella at dinner party, or when ordering on a restaurant. Hope the article was useful, and before you live, we would love to know which options will you choose the next time you eat a paella?