What Goes With Lasagna – 13 Sides You’ll Love
For Americans, baked lasagna is one of our all time favorite comfort foods.
At its basic level, it’s noodles and meat, glued together with gooey cheese and a sauce infused with irresistible flavors.
Each recipe has it’s own twist, holding proud from generation to generation and maintaining a sentimentality for this quintessential family meal.
The maker of this melt-in-your-mouth dinner and leftover standby will not alter and drift away from Grandma’s recipe. This we know.
But what goes with lasagna is usually open to discussion. At least until you and your family find one to cherish, and then that becomes the chosen side-kick for every pan of lasagna eaten forever more.
It’s usually not too hard to find a good pairing, so it comes down to a few things like: taste preference, how healthy you want to be, how good you might be in the kitchen, and of course, how much time you want or have to spend on preparing an accompanying dish.
There’s no shortage of healthy lasagna side dishes since vegetables play a big role here. Combined with olive oil and garlic in their preparation, you’re sitting pretty, well into the guilt-free zone.
If you’ve looked at lasagna recipes, then you know there are countless ways to approach this meal. The main ones being meat or meatless.
There’s also white cheese sauce vs the traditional tomato-based red sauced lasagnas. Speaking of cheese, there are endless types of cheeses you can use. Plus meats, veggies and even Cajun and Mexican lasagnas. Dips made out of lasagna and even lasagna soups. The list goes on!
Whatever form your lasagna takes, it never hurts to have a complimentary side to go along with it.
Below are 13 foods to accompany your lasagna that will make this dinner all the more memorable. Just remember to save some leftovers!
1. Mediterranean Cucumber Salad
It’s fresh, crunchy and clean. The perfect compliment to the lasagna main event of pasta, meat sauce and cheese.
Chopped cucumber, tomato, feta cheese, and olives mixed with red wine vinaigrette make this salad complete and ready to be sidled up next to your favorite lasagna recipe.
Kim at the Low Carb Maven gives us some good photos for her take on this easy-as-pie salad side: lowcarbmaven.com
2. Sautéed Spinach with Garlic
It’s clear you don’t have to have an authentically Italian side dish to go with lasagna. A helping of perfectly sautéed spinach and garlic will augment any Italian main dish (it must be the garlic!).
Nina from Cooking Crossroads says you can even up the taste of Italy a bit by grating on a little Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese.
Nina shares her delightful recipe over at her cooking blog: cookingcrossroads.com
3. Garlic Bread with Parmigiano-Reggiano
What other kind of food can both crackle between your teeth as it melts in your mouth? That’s garlic bread for ya!
Pick between a French baguette an Italian ciabatta bread. The latter tends to be a little softer so it really comes down to preference.
Either way, butter, garlic, a little cheese, salt and herbs like fresh Italian parsley on warmed bread are just to-die-for!
Monique from the Ambitious Kitchen gives you all the details so yours turns out just right: ambitiouskitchen.com
4. Steamed Asparagus
You can grill, roast or steam asparagus but when it comes to pairing with homemade lasagna you can get by with a good ol’ fashioned steaming.
Using a steam basket or your instant pot, you can be sure to get any grade of asparagus sprees to crunchy but juicy texture.
No need to add sauces or butter (you can if you like!), but plain jane is a nice contrast with a strong Italian meal like lasagna.
Cooking with Curls goes over how to pressure cook some asparagus quick and easy: cookingwithcurls.com
6. Italian Roasted Broccoli
Broccoli isn’t always everyone’s favorite…until they try it roasted!
To go one step further, toss some florets with Italian dressing, slide them into the oven and then top with Parmesan cheese crumbles.
Seasoned cook and blogger Mindy inspires with her succinct little recipe over at Mindy’s Cooking Obsession: mindyscookingobsession.com
7. Kale Caesar Salad
This is probably one of the most go-to selected salads when considering what goes with lasagna. A rich, hearty and creamy salad with crunchy croutons will get your mouth watering and ready for the lasagna.
It’s also pretty easy to make, unless of course you opt for homemade croutons and salad dressing. But even with those extra steps, you’ve got a classic and delicious side salad for your Italian meal.
Don’t forget to marinate the kale leaves using olive oil. You can do this while you get dressing and croutons ready. The oil will help soften the leaves from the less appetizing, rigid texture of the raw kale.
Head on over to Gimme Some Oven for a quick recipe. There, you can see Ali’s take on a slightly healthier caesar salad she knocked off from a favorite eating spot: gimmesomeoven.com
8. Mixed Baby Greens
Of course, this is the ultimate simple approach to mixing together a side salad to go with pretty much any dinnertime dish. Especially when you buy a pre-mixed bag from the store!
Aside from its versatility, it also has built-in flexibility. Add some red wine or white vinegar, with sugar, an oil, salt & pepper and you’re good to go. Yes and no!
The fun really begins when you add things like fruit (mandarin oranges are very popular); nuts or seeds like pecans, walnuts or sesame seeds.
To get your Italian flare and make a nice pairing with your lasagna, try mixing your greens with red onions, heirloom tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette. Yum.
Here’s a lovely and colorful rendition from The Comfort of Cooking. With strawberries, it’s almost a dessert salad: thecomfortofcooking.com
9. Garlic-Prosciutto Brussels Sprouts
Okay, we’re not talking your usual brussels sprouts here. We’re going for immense flavor and texture. A buttery, garlic flavor with parmesan and chopped prosciutto that adds a crunch when crisps.
All together, it’s the perfect side dish to lasagna of any kind.
Head on over to Rasa Malaysia for a quick glance at the specs. Rasa does a nice job explaining how to get this one just right. You’ll be racing to the store for some brussels sprouts in no time: rasamalaysia.com
10. Sautéed Peppers and Onions
Continuing the theme of veggie sides, we come to another super easy one. While you would put these cooked peppers and onions on your lasagna like you would a steak or chicken, they do make a nice low-fat side.
Check out this quick video for a few tips on making these guys extra de’lish.
11. Antipasto Platter or Salad
Alright, so antipasto in Italian is technically a starter dish but whether you eat it first, during or even last this is still a nice side dish to a lasagna dinner.
It’s fresh and cool, appetizing and not too heavy…unless of course you go overboard and eat it by the handful! It could happen…
This is a great dish because there are so many variations you can do with it based on the preferences of the eaters. On the meat and cheese side you can try pepperoncini , pepperoni,, and provolone; or you can opt for salami, prosciutto, red peppers, with mozzarella.
Mix it up with other faves like chickpeas, olives, and artichoke hearts then drizzle with a basil or balsamic dressing and you’ll be nothing short of delighted.
See how mom and food lover Sara from Dinner at the Zoo puts hers together before dinner: dinneratthezoo.com
12. Garlic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Bursts of super sweet, liquidy flavor will rush across your tongue when you dive into freshly roasted cherry or grape tomatoes.
These are a piece of cake too; throw on a cookie sheet with some minced garlic and olive oil.
Once out of the oven, sprinkle some salt and enjoy on top of a piece of freshly toasted ciabatta. You can also toss with spinach or change up the main course slightly and serve with a creamy “green” or “white” lasagna. Too much yum.
Go get extra inspired by visiting Butter Your Biscuit for a quick recipe and more ideas: butteryourbiscuit.com
13. Roasted Cauliflower
Yet another welcomed low-carb and low-fat lasagna side option is the great white vegetable, cauliflower. So healthy and guilt-free.
Don’t let the color or any past experiences with raw or steamed cauliflower fool you.
Once you get the olive oil, seasoning (salt, pepper, fresh garlic) on and get that crispy outside, you’ll have one tasty treat. Topping with Parmesan cheese is like the frosting on the cake.
Cauliflower is light and not too dense by nature, so you can gorge on these while you eat your lasagna and won’t get too filled up!
What Goes With Lasagna Extra Innings
We’ve just looked at 13 amazing lasagna sides that are nutritious and go authentically well with your favorite lasagna recipe.
We should mention here just a few other considerations any real foodie would be pairing up with their lasagna dinner.
The classics before you dig into your lasagna are treats like topped flatbreads, baguettes, brushetta (topped with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves), crostini and antipasto platters as featured above.
Vegetables and Beans
We’ve highlighted veggies of all colors here but others that go well include squash (butternut), green beans, sauteed mushrooms on bread, fried zucchini, beans (cannellini beans, white beans), chickpeas, snap peas.
Crudités make a great warm-up to a nice lasagna meal. If you’re not familiar, this is just a fancy culinary way to say an assortment of raw vegetables at the ready to grab and munch on.
What really makes crudités special though is not whether you use carrots, broccoli, snap peas, celery or cherry tomatoes…no, it comes down to the dip or sauce you serve with them.
Aside from tossing on some oranges or strawberries on to your side salads, you can enjoy things like pear with prosciutto and gorgonzola cheese.
Or, venture out with an arugula and roasted fruit salad using pears and plums.
Other fruits like raspberries and blackberries are just a nice, sweet contrast to the savory meat, pasta and red sauce you’ll have in the lasagna.
You know these desserts all too well, so we’ll just list our favorites we can’t deny from our list of what goes with lasagna:
- Mascarpone with Berries
- Italian Almond Tart
Of course, you could write an entire book on wines and what to serve with lasagna. If you’re a wine connoisseur, you already have your go-to selections in your head when planning a meal like lasagna.
Otherwise, there’s not a hard and fast rule here when it comes to wine and lasagna. Just stick to reds of course. Here are just a few winners to get you started:
This is a strong wine, rich in it’s flavor of black currants and so does really well with tomato-based red sauces.
This is another hearty, full red wine that is ideally suited for sauces that are seasoned for flavor. It goes best with tomato-based red sauces, but would work well with white cheesy sauced lasagnas.
This is a lighter red wine compared to the two just mentioned above. It’s more versatile overall with flavors that can match well with both red sauces and white cheeses.
Whatever you decide on to go with lasagna dinners in your house, it’s a sure bet you’ll be happy. Why? Because it’s Italian, and that’s a food group that just makes everything just plain good.