Make It Italian: Easy Starters & Sides

From crunchy bruschetta topped with vine-ripened tomatoes to caprese salad with fresh basil and mozzarella, these authentic Italian starters and sides are great additions to your Italian night.

Bruschetta with Pesto & Tomatoes

"I would gladly have traded the rest of my dinner tonight to eat a whole plate full of nothing but this bruschetta. What a wonderful summer dish for fresh tomatoes!"

-Susiecat too

Beef Minestrone

"This is a very hearty and filling soup. It gives off a delicious, appealing aroma while simmering. Loved the cheese to finish it off."


Caprese Salad

"Big, fresh basil leaves, with vine ripe tomatos and fresh mozzerella, sprinkled with freshly ground cracked pepper—a delight for the tastebuds!"

-Mimi Bobeck

Cheesy Garlic Bread

"Wonderful bread! Crusty and melts in your mouth at the same time. Add a couple tablespoons of cream cheese to the butter mixture for an out-of-this-world taste!"

-Chef Doozer

Italian Wedding Soup

"Take the time to make the tiny meatballs—well worth the effort. It's a great tasting soup!!"

-Elly in Canada

Caesar Salad

"We really enjoyed this Caesar Salad! It reminded me a lot of the one we get from a local restaurant that we love."


White Bean & Garlic Dip

"What a scrumptious way of serving white beans! I was tempted to lick the serving bowl.The tahini and garlic add a wonderful depth of flavor to this, which is balanced nicely by the citrusy cumin seeds."


Stuffed Zucchini

"I fixed this the other night and my husband Rick & I really liked it. The only thing I added was chopped summer squash because there didn"t seem to be enough from the zucchini itself. I think that added to the flavor. I can see adding other veggies to this to change it and use up what you have on hand. We did fix it on the gas grill along with my version of beer can chicken. Thanks for a great idea."


Antipasto Pasta Salad

"This is a beautiful, colorful pasta salad. Serve over a bed of lettuce, and you have a complete meal. Toss in some cooked chicken, and VOILA, dinner is served!"

-Chicagoland Chef du Jour

Italian Rice Balls

"I added a cube of mozzarella cheese in the middle of each ball and was simply blown away by the end result. The crispy coating, the creamy interior and the lushness of the melted mozzarella—a true delight!"