For Americans, baked lasagna is one of our all time favorite Italian comfort foods.
At its basic level, it’s noodles and meat, glued together with gooey cheese and a delicious red 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.
It’s not unlike spaghetti and meatballs in this way; another traditional family favorite.
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 to serve with lasagna is usually open to discussion. At least until you and your family find a side dish 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.
What Goes with Lasagna: 13 Pleasing Ideas
Below are 13 recipes to accompany your lasagna that will make this dinner all the more memorable. Make sure to remember to save some leftovers!
1. Mediterranean Cucumber Salad
It’s fresh, crunchy and clean. A salad recipe that is 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.
If you like this, then you’ll also love a good caprese salad, just in case you want to stay a little more Italian.
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 or an Italian ciabatta bread. The latter tends to be a little softer, but it really comes down to preference when we’re talking garlic bread.
Then comes the Italian seasoning and…
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 for that crunchy juiciness.
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 like: cookingwithcurls.com
5. 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 chef and blogger Mindy inspires in this side dish with her succinct little recipe over at Mindy’s Cooking Obsession: mindyscookingobsession.com
6. Kale Caesar Salad
This is probably one of the most go-to selected salads when considering lasagna sides. A rich, hearty and creamy chopped 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 and of course impact the flavor in ways you can’t even explain.
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
7. 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…
See, 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 combining 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
8. Garlic-Prosciutto Brussels Sprouts
Step aside ordinary green beans… And, 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 crisped.
All together, it’s one of the best side dishes to lasagna of any kind. It’s all yours in less than 15 minutes.
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
9. 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.
10. Antipasto Platter or Salad
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.
Make sure to 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
11. 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
12. 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!
13. Golden Baked Breadsticks
What more can you say when it comes to freshly backed breadsticks?
Their moist, doughy texture will go great with this Italian meal.
Just make sure not to snack on them before diving in to eat the main course so you have plenty of room!
What to Serve with Lasagna Extra Innings
We’ve just looked at some amazing lasagna side dishes 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 garlic bread, topped flatbreads, baguettes, focaccia (check out our focaccia toppings list), bruschetta (topped with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves – see our bruschetta toppings ideas), 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 some oranges or strawberries on to your side salads as toppers, you can enjoy other naturally sweet bites like pear with prosciutto and gorgonzola cheese as a lovely side dish.
Or, venture out with an arugula and roasted fruit salad using pears and plums.
Other fruits like raspberries and blackberries are such 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
Wine and Lasagna
Of course, you could write an entire book on wines that go 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 for what to serve 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.
What to Serve with Lasagna
- Cucumber Salad
- Sautéed Spinach
- Garlic Bread
- Steamed Asparagus
- Roasted Broccoli
- Kale Caesar Salad
- Mixed Baby Greens
- Garlic-Prosciutto Sprouts
- Sautéed Peppers and Onions
- Antipasto Platter
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Roasted Cauliflower
- Choose your desired Lasagna side dish recipe.
- Gather and organize needed ingredients.
- Create a tasty Lasagna side to complete your meal!