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Looking for salad advice... Alternatives to Caesar

We're really tired of Caesar salad! I'm looking for another salad suggestion/idea (anything but Caesar!!) that would go well with lasagna. It's a meat lasagna made with sausage and ground beef.

In an attempt to get ideas from colleagues and friends, I'm getting conflicting advice. Some people are saying that a lasagna needs a substantial salad like Caesar or Greek, while others are saying it's better to go with a light salad.

Your thoughts?

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  1. salads are vehicles for eating oil in a pleasant manner. let that be your guide as to what "substantial" is.

    1. My mother-in-law always makes with her macaroni meals the simplest salad of crisp lettuce (iceberg), cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, sometimes chickpeas, sometimes radishes, dressed with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano. I know, sounds like something you'd get in a diner, but I always look forward to it. I rarely use iceberg in my salads, so somehow it's refreshing. And she chills it in the refrigerator, then dresses it ever so lightly right before serving. Nothing special, but it's refreshing when having a "red sauce" meal. I wouldn't go with anything heavy.

      1. I think a baby spinach salad with warm bacon dressing would go well with the lasagna.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mucho gordo

          I agree with the lighter salad approach: my BIL was born in Italy and whenever he made lasagna, his salad looked like this: baby romaine lettuce leaves(the inner core of the head of romaine), tossed well ( maybe 1/2 hour) before serving in a half/half mixture of freshly squeezed lemon juice and EVOO.

          He really tossed them, actually 'bruising' them so they were quite 'wilty' before the meal. He then served them right after the lasagna, tossed again before serving with a little salt and a shaving of fresh parmesan.

          We thought this was an individual family technique until we were in Puglia (Umbria) in Italy in an extemely sophisticated and pricey ristorante. Same salad, same exact technique, different lettuce: they used butter lettuce.

          In NA we really prize the non-abusing of lettuce leaves, but this battering definitely did something positive that turned the simplicity of ingredients into something quite elevated.

        2. Agree with other CH's., light on the add in; big on the greens. A lemony-oil dressing...about the only add in I usually make is pitted black olives.

          1. My first thought was a crispy romaine with red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper...so refreshing with a heavy baked cheesy dish.

            1. I often make a spinach or arugula salad with lasagna if I have company over (really the only time i make lasagna). A spinach, radicchio, mushroom and cashew salad with a balsamic vinaigrette is pretty good, with a bit of parmesan.

              1. Fattoush is a Middle-Eastern salad distinguished by two things: 1) Before you start, tear up a pita and let the pieces be soaking up olive oil, vinegar, and garlic while you 2) Chop up lettuce, parsley, scallions, tomatoes, and cucumbers which you then add to the bread---which then turns up amongst the greens like little flavor bombs.

                1. Green salad w/ good oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt & pepper.

                  1. The light salad is always a good contrast with the heavy "casserole" quality of lasagna. If you are looking for somethng with a litlte more subsance (somewhere between a light italian and a caesar) you might consider a traditional (no avocado and no sour cream) Green Goddess (and if it doesn't have tarragon, it isn't green godess)

                    1. Lasagna is a heavy dish so I go light. Mixed greens, grape tomatoes, cucumber, green onion ...Lately, I am on a total bok choy as salad kick but I haven't tried it with lasagna.

                      1. I 50th the light . . .though I love coming up with new salads, when I'm serving a traditional baked pasta thing, I usually go with a traditional salad: escarole, black olives, VERY thinly sliced red onion, grape tomatoes, maybe some shaved parm or romano. Red wine vinegar dressing (lately I've been adding red wine to the dressing, which I quite like: when I don't want more oil or more vinegar, it adds something).

                        1. It would certainly depend upon the time of year. If tomatoes are good I would include them but that's only half the year at most--and I tend to skip tomatoes in the salad if I'm having tomatoes in the main course. Italians like all kinds of bitterish greens so arugula, radicchio, chicory could all become a part of it. There are also vegetable salads like cauliflower, orange and fennel salad, romaine with gorgonzola. Since you make a very rich lasagna, I would certainly vote for a lighter salad.

                          1. If you can find fennel where you are this time of year, fennel and orange salad.
                            Nice with a sweet vinaigrette, with red onion, almonds, cranberries.

                            1. You could do a classic tri-color with a citrus based vinaigrette. The bitterness would be a nice balance to the baked pasta.