When it comes to the soft, olive oil-rich goodness of focaccia, you might find yourself wondering, “What can I serve with this delightful Italian bread?”
Well, worry no more. We’ve cooked up a list of fantastic pairings that will elevate your focaccia experience to the next level.
So, come along, check out the options, and find that perfect plate partner for your deliciously baked masterpiece. Happy exploring!
I’ve put all the recipes in specific categories to help you find your favorites faster. Jump around using the navigation below!
Dips and Spreads
Focaccia can be served with a variety of dips and spreads, such as hummus, baba ganoush, tzatziki, or even a simple mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
This combination makes for a great appetizer or snack, with the focaccia acting as a satisfying, flavorful vehicle for the dips and spreads.
Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar
The easiest and arguably one of the most classic accompaniments for focaccia is a simple blend of high-quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The olive oil’s fruity notes are highlighted by the acidic sweetness of the balsamic vinegar, creating a perfect balance.
This combo is straightforward to serve, simply pour both into a shallow dish and serve alongside the focaccia for dipping.
Roasted Garlic Spread
Roasted garlic is both sweet and savory, providing a simple but mouthwatering spread.
To make it, roast a whole head of garlic until soft and caramelized, then squeeze the cloves into a bowl and mash them into a paste. Add a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and spread it over pieces of focaccia.
The hearty, robust garlic flavor works well with the earthy bread.
This classic Middle Eastern dip made of chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic pairs beautifully with focaccia.
The creamy texture of the hummus contrasts with the crusty outside and soft inside of the bread, while its savory and slightly tangy flavor complements the olive oil and herbs in the focaccia.
You can make it yourself or buy it from a store, then serve it as a spread or a dip.
Ricotta and Honey Spread
For a sweet and savory option, mix fresh ricotta cheese with a drizzle of honey and a pinch of salt.
The light, creamy texture of ricotta pairs well with the dense, rich focaccia, while the honey adds a touch of sweetness that balances out the salty, herbaceous flavor of the bread. For an added twist, you can sprinkle some chopped fresh rosemary or thyme on top.
Tapenade is a Provençal dish consisting of puréed or finely chopped olives, capers, and olive oil. Its briny, umami-packed flavor profile makes it an excellent match for focaccia, particularly if the bread is on the milder side.
It might take a bit of time to gather and prep the ingredients, but the process of making tapenade itself isn’t particularly difficult.
Serve it as a spread on top of slices of focaccia.
Marinated Goat Cheese
For a more complex pairing, try making marinated goat cheese. The tangy, creamy cheese is marinated in olive oil, herbs, and spices for at least a few hours, infusing it with intense flavor.
This cheese spread offers a satisfying contrast to the earthy, hearty focaccia, and the herbal notes can beautifully complement those in the bread.
To serve, spread the marinated cheese on slices of focaccia.
Artichoke and Spinach Dip
This creamy and cheesy dip pairs well with almost any type of bread, including focaccia.
It’s a bit more time-consuming to make, as it involves cooking down spinach and artichokes, adding cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and a blend of cheeses, and then baking everything until it’s golden and bubbly.
The creamy, rich flavors of the dip contrast well with the rustic, hearty focaccia. Serve the dip warm with pieces of focaccia for dipping.
This Levantine appetizer made of mashed cooked eggplant, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and various seasonings, is an exquisite dip option for focaccia.
It’s slightly more difficult to prepare as it involves roasting the eggplant until very soft, peeling it, and then blending it with the other ingredients.
The smoky, creamy, tangy flavors of baba ganoush play beautifully against the chewy, olive oil-infused focaccia. Serve it as a dip or a spread.
Soups and Stews
The thick, hearty texture of focaccia makes it a great companion to a wide variety of soups and stews.
It can be used to soak up broths and sauces, adding a depth of flavor and a satisfying texture to the meal. Whether it’s a tomato-based minestrone, a creamy chowder, or a hearty Zuppa Toscana, focaccia fits right in. It also pairs well with other Italian soups, like Italian wedding soup.
This is one of the simplest soups to make and pairs excellently with focaccia. The acidity of the tomatoes and the smooth texture of the soup is a perfect match for the rich, salty, and crunchy focaccia. Simply dip the focaccia into the tomato soup, or serve it on the side for a comforting meal.
A classic Italian vegetable soup, minestrone is a great pairing with focaccia due to its hearty, robust flavor. The soup is traditionally filled with beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, and tomatoes. You can either dip your focaccia into the soup or eat it on the side.
(Cooked minestrone? Here are some great minestrone sides.)
Pasta e Fagioli
This is a traditional Italian soup made from pasta and beans. The creaminess of the beans and pasta goes well with the crunchy and salty focaccia.
Use the bread to soak up the flavorful broth left after finishing the pasta and beans.
A Tuscan soup made with bread and vegetables like cabbage, beans, onion, and carrots. It’s a thick soup, and quite hearty, with a lot of flavors.
Pair it with a piece of focaccia to add an extra crunch to your meal.
Lentil stew can be a bit more challenging due to the time it takes to properly cook and flavor the lentils, but it’s well worth the effort.
The rich and earthy flavors of the lentils, along with the hearty texture, pair wonderfully with focaccia.
The bread can be used to scoop up the stew, adding a pleasant contrasting texture.
This seafood stew originates from San Francisco but has Italian roots. It’s filled with a variety of seafood like clams, shrimp, scallops, and fish.
The tomato-based broth is flavorful and savory, perfect for pairing with focaccia. The bread can be used to soak up the rich, briny broth.
(Interested in cioppino pairings? Here’s my list of foods that go well with cioppino.)
This is a Milanese specialty of braised veal shanks cooked with vegetables, white wine, and broth. It is quite challenging to make due to the long cooking time required to make the veal tender.
However, the rich, meaty stew and gremolata (a garnish made from lemon zest, garlic, and parsley) serve as a flavorful contrast to the focaccia bread.
Focaccia is a bread originating from Italy, hence it pairs wonderfully with various Italian dishes. This includes pastas, lasagna, risotto, or antipasti platters.
The savory, herb-infused taste of focaccia makes it an excellent companion to the robust and hearty flavors found in many Italian dishes.
Additionally, it can be used to mop up any remaining sauce, ensuring that no delicious bit is left behind.
One of the simplest and most classic Italian dishes, Caprese salad, is a perfect accompaniment for focaccia. The combination of ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and olive oil matches the flavors found in the bread.
Serve the salad on the side and use the focaccia to mop up the leftover dressing.
(This Caprese salad works great with ham and bean soup.)
Pasta Aglio e Olio
This straightforward pasta dish consists of garlic sautéed in olive oil with red pepper flakes and tossed with spaghetti. The flavor profile of garlic and olive oil in the pasta beautifully complements the same flavors in the focaccia.
Serve the pasta as the main course with pieces of focaccia on the side for dipping in the extra sauce.
An antipasto platter, filled with a variety of cured meats, cheeses, olives, and marinated vegetables, pairs wonderfully with focaccia.
The salty, tangy, and rich flavors of the antipasto items are balanced by the neutral, yeasty, and slightly salty focaccia.
Cut the focaccia into bite-sized pieces and serve them with the platter for guests to make their own small sandwiches or just to cleanse the palate.
While bruschetta is typically served on slices of baguette, you can switch things up by using slices of focaccia instead. The fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil topping provides a fresh counterpoint to the rich and oily focaccia.
Toast the focaccia slightly before topping it with the bruschetta mixture.
This classic Italian dish features layers of eggplant, mozzarella, Parmesan, basil, and tomato sauce. Its robust, hearty flavors make it a great partner for focaccia, which can help balance out the dish’s richness.
Serve slices of eggplant parmesan with pieces of focaccia on the side.
This creamy, saffron-infused risotto has a rich flavor profile that matches well with the herby, olive oil-soaked focaccia. While the risotto is time-consuming to make due to the constant stirring required, the pairing is worth it.
Serve the risotto as the main course, with focaccia on the side for a complete meal.
Lasagna, with its layers of pasta, Bolognese sauce, béchamel, and cheese, is a rich and hearty dish that pairs well with focaccia. The bread can be used to scoop up any leftover sauce and adds a nice textural contrast to the soft, creamy lasagna.
This dish is quite involved to make, but it’s a crowd-pleaser and makes a great main course, with focaccia served on the side.
Focaccia’s slightly salty, olive oil-rich flavor complements a variety of cheeses. From fresh mozzarella to aged Parmigiano-Reggiano or even a creamy blue cheese, the pairing allows for a wonderful contrast of textures and flavors. A cheese platter served alongside focaccia can make for a great appetizer or a light meal.
Mozzarella and Fresh Tomato
This is a classic and straightforward pairing. Slices of creamy mozzarella and fresh, juicy tomato layered on top of a slice of focaccia is a simple and delicious combination.
The creamy mozzarella complements the rich, olive oil-infused flavor of the focaccia, and the tomatoes add a burst of freshness. Just layer the ingredients on top of the focaccia and season with a little salt and pepper to taste.
Gorgonzola and Pear
This pairing is a little more gourmet but still easy to prepare.
The sharp, pungent Gorgonzola cheese and sweet, juicy pear slices create a delightful contrast when served on focaccia.
Spread a thin layer of Gorgonzola on the focaccia, then top with thinly sliced pear. You can also drizzle a little honey on top for added sweetness and complexity.
Baked Brie and Cranberry
This combination can serve as a luxurious appetizer or a decadent snack. The warm, melted brie goes wonderfully with the tart cranberry sauce, providing a balanced flavor profile.
To prepare, place a wheel of brie on the focaccia, bake until the brie is warm and gooey, then top with homemade or store-bought cranberry sauce.
Focaccia Pizza with Ricotta and Provolone
This is a more involved recipe but results in a delicious focaccia pizza. The creamy ricotta and the slightly smoky provolone pair beautifully, especially when combined with a good marinara sauce. Spread marinara sauce on your focaccia, then dollop with ricotta and sprinkle shredded provolone. Add any other pizza toppings you like, then bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Focaccia Grilled Cheese with Cheddar and Gruyère
This recipe takes the classic grilled cheese sandwich to a whole new level. Cheddar’s sharpness and Gruyère’s nuttiness make for a perfect combo. Place a mixture of the two cheeses between two slices of focaccia, then grill until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted.
This process requires a bit of technique to ensure a perfectly toasted exterior and a gooey, melted interior.
A piece of focaccia can be a delightful addition to a fresh salad. The bread’s richness can balance out the lightness and acidity of many salad ingredients. It can be served on the side, or even be torn into chunks and added directly to the salad, similar to a panzanella.
This traditional Italian salad made of fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese is a great accompaniment to focaccia due to its refreshing and light taste. The tomatoes and mozzarella provide a nice balance to the savory bread.
To pair it, just serve a slice of focaccia on the side of a Caprese salad.
This salad is made of cucumber, olives, tomatoes, red onions, feta cheese, and a light dressing of olive oil and oregano. The salty tang of the feta and olives in the salad pairs well with the richness of focaccia, especially one that’s been topped with rosemary and olive oil.
You can serve slices of focaccia alongside this salad or even use it to scoop up the salad ingredients.
Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Arugula’s peppery flavor can cut through the richness of the focaccia, and the lemon vinaigrette provides a tangy contrast. This salad usually includes some parmesan shavings, which complements the focaccia.
Serve the focaccia as a side to this salad, or cut it into small squares to add as croutons for an extra crunch.
Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
This salad requires a bit more preparation, as you’ll need to roast the beets before assembling the salad. However, the earthy sweetness of the beets paired with the tangy goat cheese is a fantastic combination with focaccia. The bread can be served on the side, or you could also layer some of the salad onto a slice of focaccia for a quick, open-faced sandwich.
Chicken Caesar Salad
A classic Caesar salad with the addition of chicken is a hearty pairing for focaccia. The creamy Caesar dressing and salty Parmesan complement the bread, while the chicken makes the pairing more substantial.
Serve the focaccia on the side or cut it into cubes and lightly toast them to create homemade croutons for the salad.
This Tuscan bread salad is the most challenging but directly includes focaccia as a main ingredient. Panzanella is traditionally made with stale bread, but focaccia, especially when slightly toasted and torn into chunks, adds a flavorful twist.
Along with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and a simple vinaigrette, it’s a beautiful marriage of flavors and textures where focaccia shines as a central ingredient.
Grilled or Roasted Meats
The robust flavors of grilled or roasted meats, such as chicken, beef, or lamb, pair well with the hearty and rustic nature of focaccia. The bread can be used as a base for a sandwich, or simply served on the side to help balance out the richness of the meat.
A simple grilled chicken is the easiest meat to pair with focaccia. The chicken’s delicate flavor allows the taste of the focaccia to shine through.
To pair it, you can serve a piece of grilled chicken with a side of focaccia, or slice the chicken and place it in between two pieces of focaccia for a sandwich.
The robust and spicy flavors of grilled sausages complement the richness of focaccia.
You can serve slices of focaccia alongside a serving of sausages, or slice the sausage and place it on top of a piece of focaccia for a hearty open-faced sandwich.
Grilled Lamb Skewers
These slightly more complex skewers offer a rich and flavorful pairing for focaccia. Lamb’s distinct taste and the char from grilling pair well with focaccia, particularly when the bread is topped with fresh herbs.
Serve skewers alongside focaccia or use the bread to pull the meat off the skewers.
A succulent piece of roast beef makes a hearty companion to focaccia. The bread can sop up the savory juices from the beef, enhancing its flavor. To pair, serve a slice of focaccia with a portion of roast beef. Alternatively, thin slices of the beef can be layered onto focaccia for a sandwich.
These require more preparation as you need to mix and shape the meatballs, then simmer them in a tomato sauce. The juicy meatballs and rich sauce are a delicious counterpart to focaccia.
You can serve them alongside focaccia, use the bread to scoop up the meatballs and sauce, or place a few meatballs between slices of focaccia for a sandwich.
In coastal regions of Italy, focaccia is often served with fresh seafood. The light, yet satisfying nature of seafood like shrimp, mussels, or grilled fish pairs well with the more substantial, savory focaccia. It’s a balance that makes for a filling, but not overly heavy, meal.
This is a simple and delicious seafood option to pair with focaccia. The light, subtly sweet taste of shrimp complements the savory flavor of the focaccia.
You can serve grilled shrimp on the side or create a grilled shrimp sandwich with focaccia and some garlic aioli.
The smoky and slightly salty flavor of smoked salmon pairs perfectly with focaccia.
You can serve thin slices of smoked salmon with a side of focaccia or create a smoked salmon sandwich with focaccia, cream cheese, and a bit of dill.
Mussels in White Wine Sauce
The sweet, briny mussels and the buttery white wine sauce pair wonderfully with focaccia. The bread can be used to scoop up the mussels and absorb the delicious sauce.
Just serve the mussels in their cooking pot with a couple of pieces of focaccia on the side.
This slightly more complex dish involves cooking shrimp in a garlic, lemon, and white wine sauce. The bright, zesty flavors of the scampi sauce contrast well with the savory focaccia.
You can serve the shrimp scampi on top of a slice of focaccia (instead of the usual pasta) or on the side.
Many vegetable dishes, like ratatouille, roasted vegetables, or caponata, are excellent when paired with focaccia. The vegetables can be enjoyed as a topping on the focaccia, or served alongside it. The bread’s rich, olive oil-infused flavor contrasts nicely with the fresh, often tangy flavors of vegetable dishes.
This Sicilian dish, often served as a spread, is easy to make and pairs beautifully with focaccia. It’s a blend of eggplant, celery, tomatoes, olives, and capers in a sweet and sour sauce. The complex flavors in caponata complement the simple, savory taste of the focaccia.
You can spread caponata on top of a slice of focaccia or serve it on the side.
Grilled vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and asparagus pair well with focaccia. The grilling process enhances the vegetables’ natural sweetness, providing a nice contrast to the focaccia.
You can serve the grilled vegetables alongside focaccia or create a grilled vegetable sandwich with focaccia.
This French dish made from slow-cooked vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers is a perfect match for focaccia. The rich flavors of ratatouille complement the bread’s simple taste.
You can serve ratatouille alongside focaccia or spoon some onto a slice for a hearty meal.
This is a more complicated dish, but it pairs beautifully with focaccia. The crispy breaded eggplant slices layered with marinara sauce and melted cheese provide a delicious counterpart to the focaccia.
You can serve a slice of focaccia on the side of the eggplant parmesan.
Stuffed Bell Peppers
This dish can be a bit more complex depending on the stuffing, but the combination of sweet bell pepper and hearty stuffing (like a mix of grains, herbs, and cheese) pairs well with focaccia.
Serve a piece of focaccia on the side, which can be used to help scoop up the stuffing.
This Spanish dish requires some skill to make, but a vegetable version featuring ingredients like bell peppers, artichokes, and peas makes for a flavorful pairing with focaccia. The saffron-infused rice and vegetables create a medley of flavors that complement the savory bread.
Serve the focaccia on the side to scoop up the paella.