There’s nothing better than biting into some freshly baked focaccia on a hot summer’s evening. This unique bread is packed with flavor, despite having relatively simple ingredients.
Focaccia bread is known for being extremely versatile. It is best enjoyed with pasta, salad, hummus, or tomato bisque, but it doesn’t stop there! Whether you eat it on its own with rosemary and garlic or dip it in some olive tapenade — its light, fluffy texture and delectable taste is sure to make your mouth water as you find yourself reaching across the dinner table for seconds.
What is Focaccia Bread?
Focaccia bread is an Italian flatbread baked in the oven. It’s quite similar to pizza, except more yeast is used, which gives the focaccia its fluffiness and bread-loaf shape.
If you’ve ever had focaccia, you have probably noticed its unusual, blemished appearance. These indentations are made in the dough to prevent the focaccia from getting large bubbles while baking.
Focaccia was and still is used as a dipping bread, hand-torn, and served with soups, vinegar, and olive oil. Over time, people have certainly gotten more creative with how they eat focaccia, stuffing it with vegetables or meat, and serving it with pretty much anything under the sun.
Why Serve Focaccia With Side Dishes?
While side dishes like mashed potatoes and sauteed broccoli are delicious on their own, most foodies can’t help but feel like something’s missing: the bread! Focaccia is just the bread to fill this role, as it is adaptable to almost any dish.
For example, why not dip an airy slice of rosemary garlic focaccia into your mashed potatoes? Why not mix your sauteed broccoli with your mashed potatoes and make the combination even more heavenly?
What Do You Eat Focaccia Bread With?
As previously mentioned, focaccia bread is quite versatile and adaptable. Here are some dishes most commonly enjoyed with focaccia. Feel free to mix and match, or put your own spin on things! As long as focaccia is involved, dinner is sure to be delicious.
Hummus is always a good choice because of how easy it is to make. The main ingredients you will need are chickpeas, olive oil, tahini paste, lemon juice, and of course garlic! Or, if you don’t have time to make hummus from scratch, it’s quite available in most grocery stores.
Most would agree that hummus is great with baby carrots or tortilla chips, but what about focaccia? The garlic flavor and creamy texture of hummus absolutely complement the light, flakiness of the focaccia bread.
You can even slice up the focaccia into small triangles with a pizza cutter so that it’s bite-sized, and therefore much easier to dip into the hummus.
Mashed potatoes are definitely a comfort food, and so is focaccia! Like hummus, the creamy texture of mashed potatoes makes it perfect for dipping. You could eat your mashed potatoes with a spoon this Thanksgiving, but why not eat them with focaccia instead?
Melt a bit of cheese into the potatoes, and don’t forget the butter! Enjoy it with some homemade gravy, which will also taste excellent with the focaccia bread. You can also add a side of cranberry sauce or salad, both of which would complement the focaccia quite well.
Braised greens are certainly a healthier choice than buttery mashed potatoes and gravy, but don’t let the abundance of vegetables turn you off the idea of making them. This side dish is fantastic when paired with focaccia bread — even the kids are sure to enjoy it.
This dish is also quite easy to make. After washing the greens and breaking them into small lengths, sauté them with garlic and oil on medium heat for one minute. Then, simply add chicken or vegetable stock and dry sherry, and cook until the greens are soft.
Enjoy the braised greens on top of or with a slice of focaccia for the ultimate flavor experience.
Tomato bisque is an absolute classic. You have probably dipped a grilled cheese sandwich into a bowl of tomato soup at some point in your life. Dipping focaccia into tomato bisque is a very similar idea.
The tangy flavor complements the focaccia quite nicely, and the airiness of the bread means less bisque dripping onto the table or into your lap. Tomato bisque is also a good bit thicker than tomato soup because it is made by adding whole milk or heavy cream. We feel this can only be a good thing.
Salad is a staple when it comes to Italian food. It pairs well with pasta and of course focaccia bread! Making salad is also quite simple, and like focaccia, salad is very versatile. You can add pretty much anything you want to it — croutons, Italian dressing, diced onions — you name it.
Enjoy the salad and focaccia bread as separate side dishes, or stack some salad on top of the bread like an open-faced sandwich. The same can be done for several items listed in this article, including fried eggs, and pasta puttanesca.
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of fried eggs is probably breakfast. Why not add a little pizzazz to your typical fried eggs and toast by replacing the toast with a slice of focaccia?
A zing of flavor in the morning is the perfect way to start your day off right, and the eggs are sure to compliment the focaccia brilliantly. They are also less likely to run and make a yolky mess because of the focaccia’s fluffy texture.
Add some salt and pepper and you’ve got a delicious meal that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Just the thought of the soft crunch of sauteed broccoli paired with a couple of slices of rosemary garlic focaccia is enough to make your mouth water. Sautee the broccoli in butter and garlic, and enjoy it on top of the focaccia.
Broccoli has a rather subtle taste, so you can season it however you want to. You might be noticing some recurring themes on this list — versatility, and simplicity.
Since focaccia is also quite simple, it will taste good when paired with other simple dishes like mashed potatoes and sauteed broccoli.
Steamed shellfish is a light and healthy side dish to enjoy with focaccia. It is low in fat and sodium and high in protein. This dish in particular is quite convenient because it can be served hot or cold.
The garlic flavoring on the focaccia bread should bring out the flavor of the steamed shellfish quite nicely. You can eat this for lunch or dinner, and enjoy it as a side with salad or pasta.
Like tomato bisque, the tangy flavor of olive tapenade works well with the delicious garlic flavor of focaccia bread. Like hummus, this is more of a dip or spread than it is a side dish. Thankfully, like hummus, it is quick and easy to make!
If you like olives, you’ll love it as a spread on top of some warm, freshly baked focaccia. The flavor may be a bit overwhelming for some people, so try it first on top of some plain focaccia before plopping it onto the fancy stuff.
Pasta puttanesca (or any pasta, really) is the perfect main course to eat with focaccia. Simple and filling, this dish is made with garlic, olives, capers, chopped tomatoes, pepper flakes, and anchovies.
Enjoy it with a side salad or some sauteed broccoli! Remember: leftovers are the best, and all of these dishes (not including the salad) can be reheated the next day.
What’s the Best Side Dish to Eat With Focaccia?
The best side dish to eat with focaccia is of course a matter of taste and personal opinion, however, we do have some thoughts about which side dishes are tastiest when served with focaccia bread.
Hummus definitely takes the cake in our book. Its creamy texture and delicious taste pairs perfectly with both the texture and taste of focaccia bread. Hummus is also thick enough so that it won’t drip like tomato bisque might, although, tomato bisque is an excellent choice as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should focaccia be served warm or cold?
Focaccia is best served hot for sure, but that doesn’t mean you can’t store it in the refrigerator and reheat it for later. Unlike pizza, it unfortunately doesn’t taste very good cold. Focaccia is more of a snack or appetizer than it is a meal, though, so you should have plenty of opportunity to enjoy it while it’s hot!
How long is focaccia bread good for?
Focaccia bread will keep for 2-3 days at room temperature and up to 4 or 5 days in the refrigerator. It should ideally be stored in a sealed, airtight bag. You can always put it in the freezer if you would like to save it for longer.
Should focaccia bread be refrigerated?
Focaccia bread can absolutely be refrigerated! As mentioned before, focaccia can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days before it goes bad. Make sure to keep it in an airtight container or bag so that it is protected from any funky fridge smells.
Focaccia is both simple and versatile, and it is best enjoyed when served with other simple, versatile foods. Focaccia is so widely loved because you can do so many things with it. It makes for the perfect side to pasta or salad and is a healthier alternative to salty chips when it comes to choosing what you want to dip into your hummus.
Eat it while it’s hot, and don’t forget to share it with your friends! They will definitely thank you for it.