What Goes Alongside Your Italian Beef Sandwich?

The perfect side dish can elevate any sandwich. If you find the accompaniment, your Italian beef sandwich turns into a meal in itself.If you are preparing an Italian beef sandwich at home, the perfect side dish can elevate the entire meal. The best sides add flavor and complement the sandwich while adding contrast too. As such, traditional Italian sides as well as creative reinterpretations can make excellent options.

Authentic Italian Sides

Italians know how to do sides right – simple yet packed with bright, fresh flavor. These traditional accompaniments have transitioned seamlessly into American cuisine, becoming new favorites stateside. Italian staples are American favorites now. Dishes such as marinated artichokes, hearty sausage and bean stews, and composed salads are now eaten commonly in the US.

The pleasant tanginess of artichokes, the comforting belly-warmth of stewed beans and sausage, the lovely pairing of radicchio, aged balsamic and olive oil – these have made their way into the American culinary lexicon. Briny olives and sun-dried tomatoes often adorn a sandwich, adding punch without overpowering. By keeping to these customary Italian recipes, the sides shine through with taste.

Antipasti Platter

If you’re unsure of what to pair with your sandwich then make an antipasti platter. These platters typically feature vegetables, roasted peppers and cured meats. They add variety to any casual dining experience with great flavors.

Pre-made antipasti platters provide convenience. Preparing one ahead avoids cooking and saves time.

Highlight: Corrie Cooks

The blog Corrie Cooks stands out for its detailed recipes and innovative Italian-inspired sides to accompany a wide variety of meals. From one-pot dishes to vibrant pasta salads, home cooks can discover an abundance of options to try alongside an Italian beef sandwich.

Classic Potato Chips

Sometimes simple is best. A bag of classic salty potato chips can perfectly accent the flavors of an Italian beef sandwich. The crunch of the chips plays against the tender juiciness of the meat, making for a satisfying combo that’s easy to grab and eat.

Garlic Fries

For indulgent garlic fans, housemade crispy garlic fries take things up a notch. Tossed in minced garlic, parsley and shredded Parmesan, the crispy fries offer bursts of flavor that enhance the sandwich experience. The added crunch also balances the softness of the bread and meat.

Mozzarella Sticks

These sticks have crispy, golden exteriors enclosing melted cheese. Alongside a rich Italian sandwich, they offer neutral contrast in both texture and flavor. The distinctive stretchy cheese pulls apart with each bite, playing perfectly against sliced beef and peppers. Paired with marinara or ketchup, they always vanish quickly as an easy crowd-pleaser.

Rustic Italian Pasta Salad

A hearty pasta salad holds its own next to an Italian sandwich without overshadowing it. Laden with ripe tomatoes, olives, salami and a homemade Italian dressing, the mixture of flavors meld together remarkably well. The al dente pasta offers a satisfying crunch to offset the softness of the sandwich.

Pesto Pea Salad

For those desiring something lighter and greener, a pesto pea salad delivers brightness and flavor. Vibrant green peas tossed in a pesto made with basil, garlic and olive oil lends plenty of taste in a simple salad that uplifts the Italian sandwich.

Polenta Chips

Seeking an alternative to potato chips? Crispy baked polenta chips offer crunch and a subtly sweet, corny flavor. Dusted with Parmesan, the baked or fried chips provide texture that plays against the softness of the sandwich interior. Crunching on these, it may be hard to stop after just one.

Creative Slaws

Adding a slaw onto the plate brings color, crunch and acidity to balance the richer flavors of the sandwich. Whether it’s a family favorite classic coleslaw or unconventional varieties containing apple, fennel or radicchio – the possibilities for creative, tasty slaws are endless. They work to cut through the hearty textures for a bright contrast.

Pickled Vegetable Medley

Pickled vegetables offer the ideal tangy counterpart to the savoriness of sliced Italian beef and peppers. Pickled cucumbers, onions, cauliflower, carrots and more provide vibrancy against the hearty central player. Their sharpness serves as a refreshing contrast, keeping each bite feeling dynamic.

Beverage Pairing

In terms of beverages, sparkling wines and light, crisp lagers make excellent choices for cutting through the sandwich’s richness without overpowering it. For non-alcoholic options, lightly sweetened iced tea or Italian soda offer thirst-quenching matches as well.

Focaccia Bread

Focaccia enhances the meal as a side in itself, requiring no accompaniments. The olive-oil flatbread’s soft, chewy texture offsets the meatiness of the sandwich. Additionally, toppings like sea salt, rosemary or caramelized onions can be added before baking for even more flavor. Focaccia bread satisfies both visually and gastronomically alongside a robust Italian sandwich.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Hearty stuffed mushrooms packed with Italian cheeses, meats or grains complement the sandwich’s strong flavors. Baked mushroom caps make convenient, tasty handheld sides to enjoy between sandwich bites. Savory and rich, the compact appetizers mirror the intensities of flavors in the sandwich itself.

Olive Assortment

Lastly, a platter displaying a variety of olives automatically evokes the Mediterranean, perfect for an Italian-style meal. Ranging from briny Kalamata to buttery Castelvetrano, the olives’ contrasting flavors, aromas and textures impress as a visual centerpiece. They hold their own against the layered flavors of an incredible Italian beef sandwich.

Where to Find An Authentic Italian Beef Sandwich

Searching for an authentic Italian beef sandwich outside of Chicago or the Midwest can prove difficult. However, a few destinations around the country serve up delicious versions of this regional specialty.

In Portland, Oregon, both Sizzle Pie and Burrasca pay respect to the classic sandwich. They pile thin slices of seasoned roast beef onto soft French rolls before bathing everything in spicy giardiniera and jus. For East Coasters near New York City, Arthur Ave in the Bronx offers several old-school Italian delis dishing out the sandwich in its fully dripping glory. Boston’s North End also harbors restaurants specializing in authentic Italian beef.

Getting the Real Deal

Of course, those wanting the genuine article should head straight to Chicago for sandwiches made according to long-held Windy City traditions. Legendary establishments include Al’s #1 Italian Beef, Mr. Beef on Orleans and the original Portillo’s hot dog stands. Almost everywhere serves the iconic sandwich fully dressed with sweet and hot peppers. Just don’t forget to order yours dipped as locals do to get every last drop of beefy goodness soaked into the bun.

Finding Italian Beef Sandwiches Further Afield

Outside the Midwest and foodie hotspots, slim pickings remain for finding authentic Italian beef sandwiches. Home cooks can order ingredients online, like batches of thinly sliced roast beef from Chicago butchers. Alternatively, various brands sell packet mixes for both giardiniera and the zesty jus gravy intended to dress the sandwich in its fully dripping glory. For enterprising folks, there’s nothing stopping them from crafting near-perfect versions to satisfy their Italian beef craving no matter where they live!

Final Thoughts

Creating a memorable Italian beef sandwich meal relies heavily on choosing the perfect side dish to complement the sandwich. There are plenty of excellent options to consider, from traditional Italian sides that pair well with the flavors to creative modern takes that put a new spin on the pairing. Regardless of what sides you decide on, they should work to accentuate and bring out the best qualities of the hearty Italian beef sandwich. The right combination of sandwich and sides makes for a dish you won’t soon forget.

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