What To Serve With Mackerel: 10 Tasty Sides

May 23, 2022
what to serve with mackerel

Have you got some mackerel to prepare for dinner, but unsure about what side dishes and accompaniments you should make to create a tasty meal? 

This oily fish is mild and gently flavoured, very often sustainably sourced, and it needs just a little bit of love to let the taste of the ocean shine through.

Though it can feature in complex, showstopper recipes, it’s just as good when simply grilled with a drizzle of oil, a sprinkle of salt, and a squeeze of lemon. 

Add a side or two, and you’ve got a beautiful and nutritious meal.

From creamy potato salads to vibrant tomato pastas, here are the best ideas for what to serve with mackerel…

the best side dishes for mackerel

1. Beetroot fritters and soured cream 

The earthy flavour of beetroot works so well with oily fish such as mackerel, and its vibrant colour ensures that it grabs plenty of attention at the dinner table. 

These beetroot fritters served with soured cream are a wonderful side dish for mackerel, especially if you want to create an elegant and sophisticated lunch that wouldn’t be out of place in a quirky Parisian bistro! 

Though beetroot is often considered to be an autumnal vegetable, it’s actually at its sweetest and best in spring and summer. Served with mackerel, it makes for a delicious lunch on a sunny day. 

beetroot fritters

2. Creamy potato salad 

A creamy potato salad is a fabulous pairing for simply grilled fish like mackerel.

You’ll need just a handful of ingredients, but with a little care and attention, you’ll have a meal that will impress even the most passionate foodies in your life. 

My secret ingredient when it comes to potato salad is a dollop of horseradish. It adds a real kick to your potatoes, and works so well with grilled mackerel fillets. 

potato salad

3. Honey roasted carrots 

Roasted vegetables are so easy to prepare, and based on the season and what you have available in your pantry, you can keep things varied and interesting each time. I like to experiment with different types of veggies, as well as adding different seasonings and flavourings. 

Sometimes though, simple is best. Roast a tray of carrots in some good olive oil, and 5 minutes before they’re done, remove from the oven and toss with honey and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Return to the oven, and serve hot. 

If you want to get a little fancy, look our for coloured carrots at your local supermarket or farmers market. You can often pick up purple and yellow varieties which look super impressive on the table. 

roasted carrots

4. Apple and radish salad 

The sweetness of fruit works so well with the salty oiliness of mackerel, so a fruit based salad can be a great way to bring an extra dimension of flavour to the plate, and really give your tastebuds a good workout. 

This apple and radish salad can be served as either a starter or a side dish to your fish main course.

Raw, spicy radishes, tart green apple, and earthy celery come together beautifully, and a touch of parmesan adds a creamy saltiness that you’ll love. 

apple radish salad

5. Spicy tomato pasta 

Sometimes, nothing can beat a generous portion of carbohydrates! If it’s one of those days, try pasta as a side dish for mackerel. 

A long pasta like spaghetti or tagliatelle works particularly well here, and you can add as much as little heat as you like. I personally like to add plenty of freshly chopped red jalapeño peppers, and garnish with lashings of parmesan cheese and a few sprigs of fresh basil. 

Mackerel with pasta can be a quick after work meal, but it’s so satisfying and will likely be a meal that you want to try again and again. 

tomato pasta

6. Tomato and avocado salsa 

Mackerel with a tomato and avocado salsa makes for a beautiful light lunch, and it’s the kind of dish that will make you dream of beach holidays and enjoying fish fresh from the ocean. 

You don’t need a recipe for this choice for what to serve with mackerel. Just chop up tomatoes, peppers, avocado, and any other veggies you might like. Dress with lime juice, a sprinkle of salt, and you’re good to go! 

tomato avocado salsa

7. Toasted sourdough bread 

Have you ever enjoyed a quick lunch of a tin of fish in a tomato sauce, on a slice of bread or toast?

It’s easy and it’s nutritious, and you can make a slightly more sophisticated version by serving your grilled mackerel fillets with a slice of fresh sourdough bread.

Bonus points if you bake it yourself! 

sourdough bread

8. Pickled cucumber 

The acidity of vinegar works so well with mackerel, so why not serve up a side of your favourite pickles? 

I recommend trying pickled cucumber. It’s refreshing, crunchy, and looks fantastic on a plate when garnished with some sesame seeds and finely sliced red chilli. 

cucumber salad

9. Mustard sauce 

A yellow mustard sauce is an ideal accompaniment to mackerel. 

The crisp, tangy, slightly vinegary flavour, with a kick of heat in the background, works so well with an oily fish and adds a real talking point to the meal. 

Buy it ready made from the supermarket if you don’t have the time or the inclination to make your own. No one will know unless you tell them! 

mustard sauce

10. Gohan (Japanese rice) 

Gohan is a staple in Japanese cuisine, and it’s rare that you’d be served a meal without. It’s quite simply a bowl of fluffy, sticky rice, seasoned with dashi and mirin. 

Here’s where it really gets interesting though… It’s often used a base for adding all kinds of different meats, fish, and veggies of your choice, so you can create your own based on everything that you love. 

I like to create gohan bowls with mackerel, bean sprouts, chilli, and spring onions. Get as creative as you like, or just use up the odds and ends at the back of your fridge when you don’t have time to visit the shops. 

sticky japanese rice

As you can see, there really is no shortage of tasty options when it comes to what to serve with mackerel! 

Grill your fish, select a side dish or two, and you’ll have a delicious dinner on the table in no time at all. 

Which of these accompaniments will you be trying? 

what to serve with mackerel pin

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