If you are a fan of Italian food, then you will love chicken Piccata. Essentially, the dish is a chicken cutlet that has been pounded out thin and breaded. The chicken is pan seared and smothered in a lemon cream sauce with capers and herbs. It is one of the more popular chicken dishes in any Italian restaurant.
Chicken Piccata is a rich dish that is slightly acidic so, the most obvious choice is pasta. Some of the best choices are linguini, capellini or penne pasta. Potatoes are always a fan favorite and are also very easy to make. The most popular to pair with the chicken piccata is mashed potatoes. If you want something healthier, then go with some vegetables or fresh salad.
Some great choices for the vegetables would be artichoke hearts, yellow squash or zucchini. You can steam them, grill them or sauté them; you can also go with a fresh salad. Chicken Piccata is such a versatile dish that just about everything will pair nicely with the entrée.
We have compiled some of the best side dishes for you to choose from below.
- The Best Side Dishes to Serve with Chicken Piccata
- The Best Wines to Pair with Chicken Piccata
- The Best Desserts to Serve with Chicken Piccata
- Can You Substitute the Chicken for a Different Protein?
- Final Verdict
The Best Side Dishes to Serve with Chicken Piccata
For just about any Italian entrée, pasta is going to be the best choice of side dish. The same goes for chicken piccata. The sauce that is covering the chicken is slightly acidic and has a creamy texture. This is a perfect sauce to go with any kind of pasta. Even though you can go with any kind of pasta you want, some will work better than others. Any kind of pasta that is long will work the best.
Pastas like linguini, spaghetti and angel hair are the best choices. Since the sauce is a little thin, an angel hair pasta will help to trap the sauce within the noodles. The bigger the pasta you go with, chances are you will not be able to have much sauce to pasta ratio.
Another great side dish to go with is mashed potatoes. Simply because chicken and potatoes go together nicely. They also create a nice vessel for the chicken piccata while still holding the sauce.
I would recommend going with a very basic mashed potato recipe. Don’t go too crazy by adding lots of other ingredients like cheese and bacon in the mix. You want the chicken piccata to speak for itself, so keep the mashed potatoes simple. Plus, the flavors may clash if the mashed potatoes are not the plain jane way.
No Italian meal is really complete without the addition of some kind of bread. The bread will work as a vessel for the chicken piccata first and foremost. The bread can also be used to soak up all the leftover sauce on the plate towards the end of the meal. The best choice to leap for is going to be a nice soft Italian loaf of bread. However, just about any kind of bread will work just fine as well.
If you want to keep the side dish on the healthier side, go with some vegetables. I like to grill up some vegetables to pair with my chicken piccata. Some of the best that hold up on the grill will be asparagus, yellow squash or zucchini.
You can go with any kind of veggies you prefer though. If you don’t have a grill, you can always just steam the vegetables or give them a quick boil. You can also sauté them with some butter, salt and pepper to gain the same kind of effect.
If you enjoy the flavor of chicken tortilla soup on cold winter days and want more ideas about what vegetables go well with this soup and its yummy toppings, check out our article What to Serve With Chicken Tortilla Soup.
Even though we did mention pasta already, gnocchi are a little different than most pasta. In fact, it is basically a mash up of a pasta and a mashed potato. Gnocchi is literally made with mashed potatoes, eggs and flour which are the same ingredients as the aforementioned. You have to be careful not to add too much flour when making them.
This will make the gnocchi dense and hard. You want them to be soft and pillow like. If you are making your gnocchi from scratch, I recommend adding ridges on them. Once you form the gnocchi, press them against a fork to create ridges. This will allow the gnocchi to grasp on to the sauce from the chicken piccata.
Another great go to is rice. You will want to go with a plain type of rice with not much to it. This will ensure the chicken piccata remains the star of the plate. Sometimes, people will use risotto as the side dish for chicken piccata. You can do this if you want but the meal will be somewhat heavy and rich. Also, risotto is meant to be the main course and star of the entrée. So, when you pair them together, they will be fighting for the center stage of the plate.
We did mention mashed potatoes at the top of the list, but that doesn’t mean other applications don’t work as well. Herb roasted potatoes are a very common side dish to accompany chicken piccata in many restaurants.
Once again, you want to make sure to keep the roasted potatoes simple. Just some oil, salt and pepper will do the trick. You can add some herbs to them as well if you want. Try to use some of the same ingredients or herbs that were used when making the chicken picatta. That way the flavors will all meld nicely.
8.Fresh Garden Salad
If you are one of those people that like to keep the side dish light and healthy, then a fresh garden salad will always do the trick. Use some crunchy leafy greens along with your favorite vegetables to create a great side salad. For the dressing, try to complement the chicken piccata with some of the same flavors. I would go with an Italian or red wine vinaigrette. This will keep the playing field even between the two dishes.
The Best Wines to Pair with Chicken Piccata
There are plenty of wines to pair with chicken piccata. It just depends on which route you want to take of either complementing or contrasting the flavors of the meal.
This wine is one of the lighter white wines and works well with chicken piccata. Especially when the sauce is on the thicker or creamier side of things.
Sauvignon Blanc is going to complement the chicken piccata more than anything. They tend to have fruity flavors and happen to have higher acidity levels. This will work well with the lemon-flavored chicken piccata.
This is another wine that will work great with chicken piccata by way of complement. The wine is slightly acidic but also has a very dry mouthfeel when consumed. This will help to cut through the richness of the chicken piccata.
The Best Desserts to Serve with Chicken Piccata
Just like the wine, there are plenty of choices of dessert to serve after the meal. It just all depends if you want to complement the meal or contrast the flavors. In this case it is best to keep the same train of thought with wine and dessert.
If you want to keep the same flavor profile as the meal and complement the entrée, go with an acidic dessert. Lemon bars are very tart and will work alongside the same flavors as the entrée.
If you are wanting to go in a different direction and end the meal with a palette cleanser, this dessert will work well. Tiramisu is a very creamy dessert with plenty of espresso-soaked ladyfingers and Bavarian vanilla cream layers. This dessert will take the end of the meal in a completely different direction without ruining anything.
Can You Substitute the Chicken for a Different Protein?
The piccata dish was originally made with veal cutlet when it was created. Chicken was merely adapted to the dish later down the road. So yes, you can use other types of protein if you wanted.
Another great substitute instead of chicken or veal. Just make sure to get the cutlet covered in the sauce otherwise you will just end up with a pork schnitzel on the plate.
This is a really great choice to use a substitute. It is not uncommon to see fish piccata on any random Italian menu.
North Atlantic Cod
A solid white fish that is usually made into fish and chips. The meat is tender and flaky making it perfect for a piccata sauce.
This is one of the cheapest options to go with but still a great protein. The fish cooks very fast and is very flaky.
This is definitely one of the more expensive options but probably the best of the best. The dense white fish is packed with flavor and flakes off majestically. A great option for a solid piccata dish.
If you want to make a piccata dish but happen to not eat meat, then you do have a couple options to mimic a protein.
If you cut the head of cauliflower vertically in ½ inch cuts, you will end up with a cauliflower steak. This is one of the best options to go with and is becoming ever more so popular in the vegan community.
If you like mushrooms then try this option. Try and get the large mushroom caps and just grill them. The texture is very steak like and mimics a protein very well.
Yummy Chicken Piccata Recipe
I have made many versions of the chicken piccata but this one is the best! It is one of the same recipes that I have used in several fine dining establishments.
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. water
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. white wine
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
Pound out the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness between plastic wrap or waxed paper. Mix egg and water in a small bowl. Mix bread crumbs, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a separate bowl. Coat the chicken with flour first. Then dip into the egg mixture and then coat with bread crumb mixture.
Heat butter and oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken for 8 to 10 minutes, turning once, until fully cooked or when the chicken reaches 165 degrees internally. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside while keeping warm.
In the same skillet, add the white wine and lemon juice. Heat to boiling and reduce the liquid for 2 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley, and serve with lemon wedges for garnish.
As you can see, you have plenty of options to choose from when trying to figure out what to serve with chicken piccata. The dish is very versatile and will work with just about any side dish you throw at it. Just remember to keep it simple when making the side dish. That way there are no conflicting flavors or textures that may not work with the chicken picatta.
Kevin has spent 20 years as an Executive Chef, focused heavily on recipe construction and menu development. Today his focus is on writing, consulting to restaurants, and teaching culinary arts. In his spare time, Kevin loves to cook with his lovely wife and kids.