A hearty, meaty lasagna is one of my go-to meals when I’m having company over. I precede it with a green salad, and follow it with coffee and dessert. As a former Southerner, of course I also have bread-and-butter pickles on the table. But the squares of lasagna look rather lonely on peoples’ plates.
I used to make sure I had garlic toast, but that seems like redundant carbs with lasagna. So what would a good Italian mother serve with her lasagna?
Yes, lasagna needs something, and that something is invariably a salad. My go-to has always been well-anointed garlicky Caesar salad. I serve both together on large plates. The nourishment, taste, and appearance of lasagna alongside a strongly flavoured robust Caesar salad are a perfect combination in every respect! And of course lots of red wine, usually Cabernet.
I’m making lasagna for our Easter dinner. One sister is bringing a big green salad and another sister is bringing garlic bread. I’ll also have some fruit on the table. That’s why I like lasagna - you don’t have to have numerous side dishes. It’s simple but so good. Of course, there will be a few desserts also.
Since the question seems as much about plating as it does about flavor/contrasts, I’d suggest julienned roasted orange and yellow bell peppers (red are my normal choice, but want the color contrast here) marinated in a good cider vinegar (a good balsamic would be a normal choice, but I’d want something slightly less sweet with a marinara lasagna).
The two other main options I would suggest is an artichoke dish - you can go super easy with quality marinated artichoke heart quarters from the jar, or make the equivalent yourself. The astringency is a bit much for some people though, and may overemphasize any tomato based sweetness in the lasagna if you’re alternating.
So the least offensive but still great option would be a roasted or marinated mushroom dish, either small whole or sliced. The variety will depend upon tastes, but with a hearty meat based lasagna, I’d probably go with a milder option like traditional white mushrooms. Again, a simple vinegar and/or butter dressing and a chiffonade of chives or other green herb should give a great contrast of flavor, color and texture. And if served cold, can be a temperature contrast as well.
@Johnny_Bravo’s suggestion of asparagus or brussels would be another excellent choice.