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Chicken Marsala is a delicious and classic Italian dish that features tender chicken breasts cooked in a flavorful Marsala wine sauce with mushrooms. It’s a popular choice for dinner parties and family meals alike because it’s relatively easy to prepare and boasts a rich, savory taste.
The key to a fantastic Chicken Marsala meal lies not only in the main dish but also in the perfect side dishes that complement and elevate the flavors. In this blog post, we’ll explore the best side dishes to pair with Chicken Marsala and answer some frequently asked questions about this delightful recipe.
What is Chicken Marsala?
Welcome to another culinary journey, where today, we’ll be exploring the rich, flavorful world of Chicken Marsala (and the best side dishes to serve with it), a classic Italian dish that has won hearts around the globe. This beloved dish, named after Marsala wine—a key ingredient—originates from Sicily, a region steeped in culinary tradition and known for its vibrant cuisine. Let’s delve into the history and essence of this delectable dish, as we decode what makes Chicken Marsala a timeless favorite.
Why Chicken Marsala is the Perfect Chicken Dish
Chicken Marsala may seem like a complicated dish to prepare, but it’s actually quite simple. The ingredients are easy to find, and the cooking process is straightforward, making it a great option for weeknight dinners or special occasions. The Marsala wine sauce, made with garlic, butter, and mushrooms, adds a rich and earthy flavor to the tender chicken, creating a dish that is both comforting and elegant. With the right side dishes, Chicken Marsala can become a complete and satisfying meal that will impress your family and friends.
What to Serve with Chicken Marsala
Whether you’re looking for veggies or ready to carb load, here are our favorite recipes to serve with Chicken Marsala.
For a lighter side dish, try serving your Chicken Marsala with lemon butter asparagus. The bright lemon flavor cuts through the richness of the Marsala sauce, while the tender asparagus adds a delightful crunch to the meal.
Whole Wheat Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Pasta transforms a simple dinner into a healthful, flavorful delight by substituting whole wheat pasta, adding vibrant vegetables, and using a delectable sauce. With its light, fresh appeal and a handful of simple ingredients, this dish proves that pasta can be a nutritious and scrumptious meal.
This recipe puts a flavorful twist on the classic roasted potatoes, seasoning them with tangy ranch dressing mix before roasting them until crispy and golden. It’s a versatile side dish that pairs well with almost any meal, offering a delicious combination of comforting potatoes and zesty ranch flavor.
Making use of the quick and convenient cooking style of the Instant Pot, this recipe delivers tender, buttery new potatoes in a fraction of the time. Perfect for a quick weeknight side dish, these potatoes are finished with fresh herbs for a burst of flavor.
Roasted Brussels sprouts are a great side dish option for Chicken Marsala. The caramelized, slightly sweet flavor of the roasted sprouts pairs well with the rich, earthy taste of the Marsala sauce, creating a balanced and delicious meal.
Risotto is another classic Italian dish that goes well with Chicken Marsala. The creamy rice, flavored with Parmesan cheese, creates a deliciously comforting side that perfectly complements the flavors in the Marsala sauce.
Garlic Parmesan Zoodles offer a flavorful, low-carb alternative to traditional pasta, turning fresh zucchini into delicate noodles tossed in a rich garlic and Parmesan cheese sauce. This light and nutritious dish not only showcases the vibrant taste of summer zucchini but also promises a satisfying texture and indulgent cheesy note.
Garlic mashed potatoes are a classic side dish that pairs beautifully with Chicken Marsala. The creamy potatoes complement the rich Marsala sauce, while the garlic adds an extra layer of flavor that enhances the overall taste of the dish.
Easy Buttered Egg Noodles is a simple, comforting side dish that combines tender egg noodles with a rich buttery sauce. This quick and versatile recipe enhances any meal, providing a creamy, satisfying addition that pairs especially well with stews, roasted meats, or hearty sauces.
Veggie Skewers offer a colorful and healthful side dish, featuring an assortment of fresh vegetables threaded onto skewers and grilled until charred and tender. The natural flavors of the veggies are enhanced by the smoky grill, making these skewers a delightful accompaniment to any barbecue or summer cookout.
A fresh Caprese salad, made with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, and olive oil, is a light and refreshing side dish that pairs well with the rich flavors of Chicken Marsala. The salad provides a welcome contrast to the hearty main dish, balancing out the meal.
Perfectly Roasted Sweet Potatoes make a versatile and nutritious side dish, with their tender, caramelized interiors and crisp, savory exteriors achieved through careful roasting. The natural sweetness of the potatoes pairs wonderfully with a variety of main dishes, offering a touch of comfort and a vibrant pop of color to any meal. And in case you were wondering, here’s how to know if a sweet potato is bad.
Green beans almondine is a tasty side dish that adds both color and flavor to your Chicken Marsala meal. The green beans provide a fresh, crunchy texture, while the almonds add a nutty, toasty flavor that complements the savory Marsala sauce.
Garlic and Herb Seasoned White Rice is a flavorful side dish that elevates simple white rice by infusing it with aromatic garlic and a medley of fresh herbs. This versatile recipe adds depth to any meal, transforming plain rice into a fragrant, savory accompaniment that pairs well with a wide range of proteins and vegetables.
Garlic Parmesan Spaghetti Squash is a flavorful and healthy alternative to traditional pasta dishes, combining roasted spaghetti squash strands with a garlicky, cheesy topping. The rich Parmesan and robust garlic perfectly complement the mild sweetness of the squash, creating a satisfying meal that’s both light and indulgent.
Air Fryer Broccoli is a simple and healthy side dish that transforms fresh broccoli into crispy, golden nuggets using the magic of the air fryer. With a touch of olive oil, salt, and pepper, this recipe delivers a deliciously crunchy texture and intensified flavor, making it a perfect complement to any meal.
Herb-infused polenta is a creamy and flavorful side dish that works well with Chicken Marsala. The soft texture of the polenta contrasts nicely with the tender chicken, while the herbs add a touch of freshness to the dish.
For a healthier side dish, consider serving Chicken Marsala with brown rice and sauteed spinach. The nutty flavor of the brown rice and the slightly bitter taste of the spinach complement the rich Marsala sauce, creating a well-rounded and nutritious meal.
Wine Pairing for Chicken Marsala
Pairing wine with Chicken Marsala can enhance the dining experience by complementing the rich flavors of the dish. Here are some wine pairing suggestions that would work well with Chicken Marsala, broken down into white wine and red wine sections:
White Wine Pairings
- Marsala Wine: Using the same Marsala wine that you cook with can be a great choice for pairing, as it will harmonize with the flavors already present in the dish. Opt for a dry Marsala wine for a more balanced taste.
- Chardonnay: A medium to full-bodied Chardonnay with a hint of oak can complement the creamy, earthy flavors of Chicken Marsala. The acidity in the wine will help cut through the richness of the dish.
- Sauvignon Blanc: If you prefer a white wine with higher acidity, a Sauvignon Blanc can be a good option. Its crisp, citrusy notes can help balance the richness of the Marsala sauce.
- Rosé: A dry, medium-bodied rosé can work well with Chicken Marsala, as its fruity notes and acidity can complement the flavors of the dish without overpowering it.
Red Wine Pairings
- Pinot Noir: A light to medium-bodied Pinot Noir can work well with Chicken Marsala, as its fruity and earthy notes can complement the flavors of the mushrooms and the Marsala sauce.
- Barbera: This Italian red wine is known for its high acidity and moderate tannin levels, making it a suitable choice for Chicken Marsala. Its fruity and earthy flavors can enhance the taste of the dish.
When selecting a wine to pair with Chicken Marsala, consider the flavors and ingredients in the dish, such as the Marsala sauce, mushrooms, and chicken. Opt for a wine that will complement and balance these flavors, rather than compete with them. Ultimately, the best wine pairing will depend on your personal taste preferences, so feel free to experiment with different options to find the perfect match for your Chicken Marsala.
What to Serve With Chicken Marsala
Lemon Butter Asparagus
Sun Dried Tomato Basil Wholewheat Pasta
Roast Ranch Potatoes
Instant Pot New Potatoes
Air Fryer Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Risotto with Parmesan Cheese
Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Easy Buttered Egg Noodles
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans Almondine
Garlic and Herb Seasoned White Rice
Garlic Parmesan Spaghetti Squash
Air Fryer Broccoli
Polenta with Herbs
Brown Rice with Sauteed Spinach
- Choose recipe.
- Gather ingredients.
- Cook and enjoy.
Chicken Marsala FAQs
What’s a good side dish for Chicken Marsala?
Some popular side dishes to serve with Chicken Marsala include garlic mashed potatoes, lemon butter asparagus, risotto, Caprese salad, green beans almondine, roasted Brussels sprouts, polenta with herbs, and brown rice with sauteed spinach. The key is to choose a side dish that complements and enhances the flavors of the Marsala sauce and tender chicken.
Do you use sweet or dry wine for Chicken Marsala?
Traditionally, dry Marsala wine is used for Chicken Marsala. However, if you prefer a slightly sweeter flavor, you can use sweet Marsala wine instead. The choice ultimately depends on your personal taste preferences.
What kind of Marsala wine is used for Chicken Marsala?
For Chicken Marsala, it is best to use a dry Marsala wine, which is typically labeled as “secco” in Italian. This type of Marsala wine will provide a more balanced flavor profile for the dish.
What type of wine is Marsala wine?
Marsala wine is a fortified wine from Sicily, Italy. It is made from a combination of white grape varieties and comes in both sweet and dry varieties. Marsala wine is known for its rich, caramel-like flavor and is commonly used in cooking, particularly in Italian dishes like Chicken Marsala.
How long does Marsala wine keep once opened?
Once opened, Marsala wine can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to one month. To extend its shelf life, you can store the opened bottle in the refrigerator, where it can last for several months.
Can you drink Marsala wine or is it just for cooking?
Marsala wine can be enjoyed both as a cooking ingredient and as a drink. While it is often used in recipes like Chicken Marsala, it can also be served as a dessert wine or as an aperitif.
Should you refrigerate Marsala wine?
It is not necessary to refrigerate unopened Marsala wine. However, once opened, it is recommended to store it in the refrigerator to prolong its shelf life and maintain its flavor.
What makes the perfect chicken marsala?
- Quality Chicken: Using boneless chicken breasts or thighs that are pounded to an even thickness ensures quick, even cooking and tender results.
- Flour Dredging: Lightly coating the chicken in flour before sautéing helps to give it a nice golden-brown sear and also aids in thickening the sauce later on.
- Marsala Wine: As the name suggests, Marsala wine is a crucial component of the dish, contributing a rich, slightly sweet flavor. There are two types – sweet and dry. Dry Marsala is commonly used for Chicken Marsala, but some prefer sweet Marsala for a slightly different flavor profile.
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms are a traditional ingredient in Chicken Marsala. They add an earthy flavor that balances the sweetness of the wine and adds a delightful texture.
- Garlic and Shallots: These aromatic ingredients add a depth of flavor to the sauce.
- Chicken Stock: This helps to balance the flavors and create a rich, savory sauce.
- Butter and Cream: These are sometimes added at the end to give the sauce a rich, luxurious finish. However, they’re optional and can be adjusted based on dietary preferences.
- Seasoning and Fresh Herbs: Salt and pepper are essential for seasoning, and fresh herbs like parsley or basil add a pop of color and freshness to the dish.
Chicken Marsala is a classic Italian dish that is both delicious and easy to prepare. By pairing it with the perfect side dishes, you can create a well-rounded and satisfying meal that will impress your family and friends. With options like garlic mashed potatoes, lemon butter asparagus, risotto, and Caprese salad, there is a side dish to suit every taste preference. Don’t forget to consider your choice of Marsala wine, as it plays a crucial role in creating the rich and flavorful sauce that makes Chicken Marsala such a beloved dish. Enjoy experimenting with different side dishes and create a Chicken Marsala meal that will become a favorite in your household.
Have questions or suggestions about what to serve with chicken marsala? Leave them in the comments below.