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 11 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 salads 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.
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.
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!
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?
Well there we are, 11 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 about your ideas.