Lasagna is definitely a firm family favorite. And the best thing is that it is really easy to make. Whether you are having a bit of a dinner party or just looking for a quick and easy meal, lasagna is the way to go.
There is one small downside to lasagna though. It is really filling, and whilst you can spice it up, it can get a little ‘bland’ if you are serving big portions. So, what’s the alternative? Well we are going to show you 21 sides for lasagna that will enliven any plate and allow you to dress up one of the simplest pasta recipes. Let’s get started.
What To Serve With Lasagna
We cover some of the best lasagna side dishes, so you know what goes with lasagna to make the ultimate meal. Lasagna can be fine by itself, however sometimes pairing it with sides such as coleslaw and garlic bread bring it to the next level.
1. Leafy Salads
Ok so let’s be honest, lasagna is not a waistline friendly dish. You’ve got pasta based carbs, cheese, rich ground beef and, if you’ve done it right, more than a little olive oil. Why not offset this with a side for lasagna that is sparse in calories and also adds a little color to your plate?
The choice of refreshing salad is up to you and there is plenty to choose from, regular iceberg lettuce is nice enough, but to add a touch of class why not mix it up? Go for spinach or for a real peppery note that compliments the herbs in your lasagna, try a handful of Arugula. Frisee and Chicory also works beautifully.
Adding this to your famous Italian dish isn’t as exciting as your average garlic bread but light sides can be good too. Even adding some lemon zest can add more flavor.
2. Fresh Tomato and Feta
What could go better with a tomato and cheese-based dish. Than more tomato and cheese? Hey at least you know there won’t be a clash of flavors? Cooked tomatoes tend to lose some of their acidic flavor and soften when cooked, so fresh tomatoes will add a sweet crunch and a little extra texture when served alongside. Feta is quite salty, and as you’ll already know salt in a dish really brings out flavors too.
This is an easy side to make at short notice. Just slice some small cherry tomatoes into quarters and add a handful of roughly cubed feta cheese. If you want to add another layer of savory flavor then throw in some really thin slices of sweet red onion.
I love sprinkling a mix of fresh mozzarella cheese, feta cheese and lemon juice with cherry tomatoes to bring out the flavors in this side.
3. Buffalo Wings
Ok this one might be a bit opulent and we doubt that you’ll be going to the trouble if you are making lasagna for one. But when they are served, who can resist a couple of buffalo wings? Individual wings are small enough that they won’t be too filling. However, they are interesting enough that they will provide a welcome distraction from lashings of cheese and tomato sauce. If buffalo wings are too spicy, simple seasoned fried wings should fit the bill quite nicely too!
Nice mix with a vegetarian lasagna, otherwise it can get very filling quickly.
If you are going to cook Italian why not jump in with both feet? Antipasto provides a lot of variety and is easy to make. It also looks fabulous when served with a flourish. We like to use rough serving boards or a wooden Pizza peel. For a really rustic look feel free to make an untidy board. Roughly arrange piles of cheese, marinated olives and some cooked deli meats on your board. For an extra bit of flair drizzle the lot with olive oil and serve with cocktail sticks so that everyone can pick as they go!
5. Sweet Carrots
Cheese and meat slowly cooked to make a thick and tasty ragout can be quite rich. It is nice to add something sweet that cuts through the richness. Carrots, when roasted have a certain sweet goodness to them. To enhance this further consider brushing them with a mixture of equal parts honey and white wine vinegar.
To make them simply drizzle them with olive oil and salt and pepper and bake in a preheated oven for around 25 minutes. Remove them from the oven, mix them with your honey and vinegar and bake for a further 25 minutes until the honey goes all sticky and brown. Serve immediately.
The flash of deep orange is just the right amount of color to make a plate really sing.
6. Bread Sticks
Let’s get back to an Italian theme now, Breadsticks feature heavily in most Italian restaurants. They are great as a really light appetizer, but they are also fabulous for dipping into rich and cheesy tomato sauces, such as you’d find in a lasagna. The best bit is that they aren’t actually that filling so you won’t be over faced even if you have a few.
Bread sticks aren’t quite like normal bread in that they are very crunchy and relatively unleavened. You certainly don’t need to do the usual messing associated with bread such as proving and knocking back.
Want to know a quick way to make them? Here’s how: –
This recipe is scalable so feel free to double up on the quantities if you have a lot of guests.
You’ll need 12oz white flour (we love using Italian ‘00’ tipo), 8oz water. A pinch of fast action dried yeast, a large pinch of sugar, 3 teaspoons of salt and two ounces of butter.
In a mixer or by hand combine all of the ingredients and knead for around 10 minutes until you have a silky-smooth dough. Roll the dough into a long thin sausage and cut at regular intervals. Place on a tray and bake until they turn a golden-brown colour. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
7. Garlic Roasted Broccoli
We are back on a green theme now. When it’s as delicious as this we’d eat it regardless of colour. Although it sounds quite high class, it is one of the easiest dishes on our list to create.
Simply heat a skillet over high heat with a little olive oil. Once it is hot, toss in some trimmed broccoli stems. Toss regularly, and don’t worry if the edges of your broccoli ‘trees’ get a little charred (that’s the tastiest bit). Once the broccoli is bright green and add two cloves of chopped garlic and a large pinch of salt.
If you add a few tablespoons of water and put a lid on the pan for a couple of minutes you’ll find the broccoli will be cooked al dente and will have soaked up a lot of the flavor from the garlic.
8. Roast Vegetables
An impromptu tray bake is super easy and practically fool proof. If you can turn on your oven and roughly chop a vegetable you can make a tray bake. The key to roasting vegetables is to make sure all of your chunks are of similar size, that way they cook evenly. Some great pairings are zucchini, potatoes and tomatoes. Or for something lighter try red and green bell peppers, red onion and carrots.
The humble Brussel sprout also roasts really well. They take on a dark and crunchy texture that works beautifully with lasagna. To make them slice them as fine as you can, toss with a little olive oil and seasoning and bake for around 20 minutes in a 350-degree oven. For a little extra flair add chopped walnuts and a handful of precooked and crumbled bacon. Delicious.
9. Baked Tomatoes
So, in Italy they’d probably be sun dried, but we haven’t got time for that, so here’s the quick version with all of the flavor. When you bake tomatoes, they go soft and super sweet. Bearing in mind that your lasagna will already be packed with tomato flavored goodness, this can help take it to new heights.
This dish works best when you combine it with other Italian ingredients. The use of Garlic, Oregano, Basil and olive oil is highly recommended. Make a blend of the above oil and spices (dried is fine, fresh is divine) in a bowl, toss the tomatoes in the dressing and then bake on a medium heat in the oven for around 55 minutes. The tomatoes are ready when they have got a crinkle to their skin and are beginning to leak their juice.
10. Garlic Bread
Depending on how you make your lasagna, you can maybe expect garlic to feature as a key ingredient. Well let’s go one step further with garlic bread… That’s right, you will be vampire proof. Garlic bread is really easy to make, and as an additional bonus is great for tearing and mopping up any leftover tomato sauce.
The easiest way to make garlic bread is to heat a dry skillet on a high heat and fill the pan with slices of bread. Turn the bread once it has charred and possibly slightly dark around the edges. Whilst the second side is cooking, slice a garlic clove in half. Remove the charred bread from the pan and ‘scrub’ both sides with the garlic clove. For a touch of richness drizzle with a good quality olive oil and maybe a pinch of dried oregano.
11. Caesar Salad
You are going to have the oven on anyway, so why not use the spare shelf to make some crispy croutons which can be combined later with some parmesan shavings a few lettuce leaves and perhaps a little dressing? Just toss torn bread hunks with olive oil, salt and pepper and throw them into the oven about 15 minutes before your lasagna is due to be finished. Once they are golden and sizzling toss them with the lettuce for and dressing for a sharp acidic tang which works beautifully with lasagna?
12. Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells are a perfect side dish if you’re looking for something that can stand up to the hearty, robust flavors of lasagna. These large pasta shells are generously filled with a creamy, savory mixture of spinach and ricotta cheese, a blend that offers both a pleasing texture and a rich flavor profile that complements the lasagna well.
13. Caesar Salad
A Caesar salad is a great way to balance out the richness of lasagna. The crisp romaine lettuce, creamy Caesar dressing, crunchy croutons and fresh parmesan cheese offer a lighter, refreshing contrast to the hearty lasagna. It’s also a great way to add some greens to your meal.
14. Roasted Vegetables
Roasted vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, or eggplant can add a healthy and flavorful side to your lasagna dish. The roasting process caramelizes the vegetables, bringing out their natural sweetness, which can be a nice contrast to the savory lasagna.
Bruschetta is a classic Italian appetizer that also works wonderfully as a side dish for lasagna. It’s made of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with diced tomatoes, fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil. Its fresh and tangy flavors can help cut through the richness of the lasagna.
16. Antipasto Platter
An antipasto platter offers a variety of flavors and textures that can complement lasagna. It can include a selection of Italian cured meats, cheeses, olives, marinated vegetables and more. It’s a great starter to share and can keep your guests satisfied as they await the main course.
16. Italian Sausage
Italian sausage can add a savory and spicy element to your meal. You can grill or sauté the sausage and serve it on the side. Its robust flavors can stand up to the hearty lasagna, making it a fitting side dish.
17. Caprese Salad
A Caprese salad, with its combination of ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil leaves and a drizzle of balsamic reduction, offers a light and fresh side dish option. Its flavors are simple yet satisfying, and can provide a refreshing contrast to the rich lasagna.
Stuffed mushrooms are a hearty side dish that can complement your lasagna. You can stuff the mushrooms with a mixture of breadcrumbs, cheese and herbs. When baked, they become tender and flavorful, with a deliciously crispy top.
19. Minestrone Soup
Minestrone soup can be a comforting side dish, especially if you’re serving lasagna on a colder day. This hearty Italian soup is packed with vegetables, beans and pasta, and can offer a warm, soothing contrast to the cheesy lasagna.
20. Italian-Style Green Beans
Italian-style green beans, cooked with tomatoes, garlic and herbs, can be a delicious and healthy side dish. The tanginess of the tomatoes and the earthiness of the green beans can complement the flavors of the lasagna.
21. Focaccia Bread
Focaccia is an Italian flatbread that’s seasoned with olive oil, salt and various herbs. It’s soft and chewy, and can be used to mop up the sauce from the lasagna. It’s a versatile bread that can be flavored with a variety of toppings, making it a delicious side dish.
What type of salad goes best with lasagna?
A Caesar salad is a popular choice due to its crispness and tangy dressing, which can help balance out the richness of lasagna. Other good options include a simple mixed green salad or a Caprese salad.
Can I serve soup as a side dish with lasagna?
Yes, soups can be a great side dish with lasagna, especially on a cold day. Minestrone, a hearty Italian soup packed with vegetables, beans, and pasta, is a common pairing with lasagna.
What type of bread should I serve with lasagna?
Garlic bread and focaccia bread are both excellent choices. They have strong flavors that hold up well to lasagna, and their crusty texture provides a nice contrast to the soft layers of pasta and cheese.
What vegetables pair well with lasagna?
Roasted vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, or eggplant can add a healthy and flavorful side to your lasagna dish. Italian-style green beans and grilled asparagus are also good options.
What should I serve with lasagna at a dinner party?
For a dinner party, consider serving a variety of dishes that cater to different tastes and dietary needs. An antipasto platter, Caesar salad, garlic bread, and a vegetable side like roasted vegetables or grilled asparagus would make a well-rounded meal. For dessert, consider something light and refreshing like sorbet or fruit salad.
Can I serve another pasta dish as a side with lasagna?
While it’s not common to serve two pasta dishes together, there are no hard and fast rules. If you want to do so, consider a pasta side dish that’s lighter and less rich, like Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells. This can provide a contrast in flavors and textures.
What kind of wine pairs well with lasagna?
A medium to full-bodied red wine such as a Chianti, Sangiovese, or a Zinfandel can pair well with traditional meat and tomato-based lasagnas due to their ability to stand up to the robust flavors. If you’re serving a white sauce or vegetable lasagna, a white wine like a Pinot Grigio or a Chardonnay might be a better match.
Well there we are, perfect sides for lasagna. Now you should know what to serve with lasagna. The key to making the best side for lasagna is to pick flavors that either go alongside those already existing in the dish, such as tomatoes, garlic, cheese and fresh herbs, or alternatively pick something that provides a counterpoint, like a slight acidity or sweetness.
Bonus points if it adds a burst of colour to your plate. If you have any other ideas, please feel free to let me know. I really enjoy hearing your ideas. Lasagna dinner is my favorite but these accompanying sides truly make it taste better.