What to Serve With Cranberry Jalapeno Meatballs

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If you want to make special meatballs for the holidays or just as a treat, cranberry jalapeno meatballs are the way to go!

They’re that perfect, mesmerizing combination of sweet, spicy, hearty, and homey that warms you up and leaves you coming back for seconds straight away.

If you’re planning on serving meatballs, why not take the next step and make a perfectly paired side? These dishes are my top choices for serving with cranberry jalapeno meatballs, and I’ve included something for everyone, such as:

Let’s get into it so you can find your fav!

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

There are so many variations on mashed potatoes out there, but these are my top pick for most meals.

They’re smooth, soft, indulgently buttery, and bursting with garlicky flavor. The creamy texture cools down the jalapeño’s kick while matching the cranberries’ jalapeno meatballs tartness.

I also love this recipe because it’s easier than classic mashed potatoes! After boiling your potatoes to soft, you whip them in a mixer, which makes them smoother and fluffier while saving your arm muscles at the same time.

As you beat the potatoes, you add in whipping cream, butter, and minced garlic as well as salt and pepper, making them silky and creamy as well as evenly flavored. Then garnish with some chives, serve, and dig in!

Cilantro Lime Rice

This copycat recipe is a great alternative to a side of plain rice. While still simple and easy to prepare, this rice dish is zesty, herbal, and aromatic, adding depth and complexity to any main.

This recipe uses a boil and strain style of cooking rice rather than absorption, which leaves the grains more separate, and chewier.

The rice is then seasoned with lime juice, lemon juice, cilantro, and salt, and served alongside anything you like.

Serving this alongside your Jalapeno meatballs means each spicy bite gets tamed by the cool, zesty flavors of the rice.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze

I love how great brussels sprouts are at soaking up flavor in all of their leafy layers. These perfect sprouts are crispy and close to caramelized on the outside, while still being tender and juicy on the inside.

They are super simple to make too! You coat your halved brussel sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper (it’s fine to do this straight on the baking tray), then pop them in the oven for twenty to twenty-five minutes – tossing halfway through.

What’s unique about this recipe is how the roasting process draws out a natural sweet-n-savory deliciousness from the sprouts, which goes hand in hand with the rich balsamic glaze. And that glaze, it’s like the sprouts’ best friend, balancing out any remaining bitterness with its lovely tart-sweet personality.

These sprouts are a fab pick when you’re serving up meatballs with bold flavors. They act as a palate cleanser, thanks to their earthy, nutty profile, and the glaze’s acidity cuts through the spiciness of the meatballs effortlessly.

Apple Walnut Salad with Blue Cheese

This salad is sweet and crunchy, with bites of savory creaminess from the blue cheese and tartness from the apples. It cuts through the richness of the meatballs with its crisp, sweet, and tangy notes

While this is a classic salad recipe, it always makes meals seem a little more put together and celebratory to me!

The first thing you will need to do to make this dish is to concoct your salad dressing.

In a medium bowl or glass jar, mix together a half cup of vegetable oil, six tablespoons of sugar, two tablespoons of white vinegar, a tablespoon of chopped red onion, and a half teaspoon each of salt, ground mustard, and celery seed.

Then, combine your salad ingredients (romaine lettuce, baby spinach, crumbled blue cheese, toasted walnut halves, and chopped apples), toss with the dressing, and enjoy!

Charred Corn and Avocado Salsa

This light, fresh salsa is summery, bright, and super tasty. I love serving it as an appetizer or side dish during casual shared meals.

It’s an explosion of flavors that complement the boldness of the meatballs. And, with a kick from chili powder, it parallels the jalapeno heat in your main dish.

It only takes about fifteen minutes to put this dish together as well!

You’ll need to grill ears of corn until soft and slightly charred, then cut off the kernels once cooled slightly (or using heat protection.)

Mix the corn with diced avocado, cherry tomato, and red onion, then season with citrus juice, cilantro, chili powder, and salt and pepper, and serve!

Leftovers go really well in tacos or in a breakfast scramble as well.

Sweet Potato Fries with Herbed Yogurt Dip

These sweet potato fries are sugary and spicy, plus crispy enough to hold shape for dipping and get a satisfying crunch with each bite but still are soft and tender in the center.

To make this dish, coat your sweet potato wedges with grapeseed oil, cumin, curry powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon, and then bake in a 400°F oven for thirty to thirty-five minutes – flipping once halfway through.

While they’re cooking, make a simple dipping sauce by combining plain yogurt, lemon juice, dill, parsley, salt, and pepper.

The spicy and sweet kick from the Cranberry Jalapeno Meatballs, balanced by the earthy sweetness of the wedges, is a unique twist that draws inspiration from diverse culinary traditions. And the herbed yogurt? It’s like a nod to cooler Mediterranean flavors.

I recommend refrigerating your dip until it’s time to serve everything, as the combo of cold creaminess with the hot crunch of the wedges is amazing.

Sautéed Green Beans with Almonds

This simple recipe goes really well with holiday meals, though of course, you can make it any time you’d like!

These green beans are rich and complex in flavor, pleasantly moist and crunchy, and are a truly versatile and delicious side.

They bring a fresh, crisp contrast to the sweet and spicy main, plus they throw in a nutritional punch that makes you feel good about what’s on your plate

They come together quickly as well! You just have to heat sesame oil in a pan, then saute your beans on their own for a minute or two before adding seasonings and almonds.

Then, they’ll be ready in about ten minutes! I like adding a little parmesan or crumbly goat cheese right before serving as well.

Quinoa-Cranberry Pilaf

Another rice dish that is bound to complement holiday meals is this easy quinoa-cranberry pilaf.

This meal is so nourishing, nutritious, and satisfying, while still being light and tangy with pockets of sweetness.

To make this dish, first, gently toast your quinoa by adding it with oil to a saucepan over medium heat for around two minutes.

Next, add in your fennel, onion, garlic, chopped kale, and salt and pepper, then pour in your liquid (chicken or veggie broth and white wine) and cover.

Once the quinoa has absorbed the liquid (roughly twelve to fifteen minutes), fluff with a fork and ross is drained cranberries, toasted walnuts, and fresh rosemary.

You can serve this dish at any temperature, though I personally prefer warm to boost the aroma.

Rustic Garlic Parmesan Herb Bread

This savory, artisan-style bread is super easy to make yourself and adds a level of hearty, homey comfort to any meal! It’s soft and spongy, with a crunchy crust and gorgeous savory, herby, and cheesy flavors.

To make it, you’ll need to make your dough by blooming your yeast, adding in your herbs and garlic, then adding flour and parmesan.

The dough needs to rest covered until doubled in size (about one hour), divided into loaves, and briefly let rest again (about fifteen minutes), brushed with butter, and then baked in a 375°F oven for eighteen to twenty minutes.

I love serving this loaf with extra garlic butter, or even a little honey!

The robust garlic paired with the sharpness of Parmesan and the earthiness of the herbs creates an unforgettable taste profile that complements the tangy cranberry and zesty jalapeno of your meatballs

Light and Crunchy Coleslaw

This coleslaw is a light, refreshing, crunchy, and creamy side dish that always rounds out the spread. It’s a light, refreshing palate cleanser that your taste buds will crave after the heat and juiciness of the meatballs.

The apple cider vinegar in the dressing has just the right tang to cut through the meatball’s richness, and let’s not forget the visually appealing burst of color it adds to your plate.

The only tedious part of this recipe is the chopping time for the cabbage, and I often use my food processor rather than doing it by hand just to speed it along.

Other than that, it’s a breeze: just combine your chopped cabbage with grated carrot and toss with a dressing of mayo, mustard, apple cider vinegar, sugar, celery seeds, and a little salt and pepper. Then, you’re ready to serve up!

Eating this bright, cheerful slaw, you’ll understand why I’m converted into a cabbage-loving aficionado. Perfect for BBQs or to put a fresh spin on a classic meal, this coleslaw is sure to become a staple at your table. Plus, any leftovers can chill out in the fridge for a couple of days, staying crisp and ready for your next craving.

Butternut Squash Soup

This soup is super comforting, creamy, warming, and delicious! It’s subtly sweet from the squash, and very rich, buttery, and savory.

The creamy texture and slight sweetness of the soup provide a smooth, soothing contrast to the meatballs’ kick of heat and tartness.

Even better: the creaminess comes mainly from the blended veggies, making this soup healthy and easily adapted to be dairy-free if needed.

To make this soup, saute onions in butter with salt and pepper until soft and translucent (about ten minutes), then add cubes of pre-roasted butternut squash and cinnamon, then add stock and blend until smooth.

Garnish with heavy cream, herb oil, and/or pumpkin seeds and enjoy!

Oven Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Zest

This simple asparagus recipe is crispy, bright, and tender, perfect for spring and summer!

It brings together the freshness of spring with a zesty kick that complements the bold flavors of those meatballs exquisitely. It’s the unique pairing of the zingy lemon with the earthy asparagus that really makes this dish stand out. Plus, it’s incredibly versatile; it can sidle up next to beef, pork, poultry, or seafood with ease.

It only takes four ingredients and twenty minutes, and you’ll have the perfect side dish ready to go.

All you need to do is toss the asparagus in olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, then bake in a 400°F oven until tender (about fifteen minutes.)

Once they’re done, sprinkle with lemon zest and serve as soon as you can. I sometimes add a little grated parmesan as well!


Creamy Dijon Sauce

This mustard sauce is so tangy, creamy, and savory, and it adds intrigue and complexity to any main. It’s best served steaming hot, so make sure to time it right!

Whether you choose to slather it on pork, fish, or chicken, it amps up the meal without overpowering it. Plus, it’s got that little extra zing from the Dijon and a rustic touch from the whole grain mustard that’ll complement the spicy kick of those cranberry jalapeno meatballs.

The process is a breeze. If you’re already pan-searing something delightful, use those drippings to start your sauce, adding layers of flavor.

A dollop of butter, a sprinkle of finely diced onions, a splash of chicken broth, and a ribbon of heavy cream later, and voilà—you’ve got a side dish winner.

Herb Yogurt Sauce

If you prefer a cool sauce, this herby, savory, and refreshing sauce is perfect for pairing with hot foods! It’s great for dipping, or for dolloping on top!

You’ll love how the garlic punches up the flavors, making this sauce not just any old sidekick but a spotlight-stealer, all with a preparation time of just about 5 minutes.

And here’s the kicker—this sauce plays nice with pretty much EVERYTHING. From your cranberry jalapeno meatballs to salmon and chicken, it’s the versatile companion you didn’t know you needed.

Making this sauce is a no-brainer. You just toss parsley, basil, coriander, a bit of garlic, and seasonings into a food processor, give it a blitz, then whoosh in the Greek yogurt for another quick mix.

Chop, stir, and you’re ready. It’s creamy, it’s dreamy, and, bonus points, it can hang out in your fridge for a full week.

And here’s what sets this sauce apart—it’s unique because, let’s be honest, when was the last time you dipped a meatball into something so delightfully herby?

It’s like bringing a touch of Australian freshness right onto your plate, where international flavors meet home cooking.

Serve this up and watch as every mouthful of those Cranberry Jalapeno Meatballs gets a refreshing lift.

What to Serve With Cranberry Jalapeno Meatballs

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: Cranberry Jalapeno Meatballs


  • Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Cilantro Lime Rice
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze
  • Apple Walnut Salad with Blue Cheese
  • Charred Corn and Avocado Salsa
  • Sweet Potato Fries with Herbed Yogurt Dip
  • Sautéed Green Beans with Almonds
  • Quinoa-Cranberry Pilaf
  • Rustic Garlic Parmesan Herb Bread
  • Light and Crunchy Coleslaw
  • Butternut Squash Soup
  • Oven Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Zest
  • Creamy Dijon Sauce
  • Herb Yogurt Sauce


  • Pick a side.
  • Pick a sauce.
  • Enjoy!