In Italy (the birthplace of lasagna), olives are part of many pre-dinner spreads, so why not follow suit? Fortunately, an olive board is one of the easiest pre-dinner nibbles around—especially now that most supermarkets have great olive selections readily available. For your olive board, you can certainly keep it simple and pick up a variety of olives and simply place them in your prettiest bowls set on a tray. A good selection (and some toothpicks) will be all you need for a basic olive board.
Want to take it up a notch? Here are a few links to recipes and tips that will help you make the best olive board ever:
• Olive Varieties: Learn about different kinds of olives so you can choose great combinations for your olive board.
• Herbed Baked Olives: You won't believe what a few extra ingredients and a little warmth can bring to your olive board.
• Gorgonzola Stuffed Olives: It's hard to beat stuffed olives on an olive board—except when you stuff them yourself for the freshest-best versions ever!
Present a cheese board for everyone to nibble on while your lasagna recipe bubbles in the oven. The key to designing a cheese board that precedes a lasagna dinner is to make sure you're not repeating the cheese varieties that are in your lasagna recipe. In addition, here are a few ideas for building or rounding out your cheese board:
• How to Make a Party Tray: This story includes information on how to mix-and-match your way to a great cheese board, including how much cheese and accompaniments to serve per person.
• How to Pair Wine and Cheese: Not sure which wines to serve with your cheese board? We've got the answers!
• Beautiful Cheese Pedestal: That's right, we love cheese so much we put it on a pedestal. Try this high-and-mighty presentation as an alternative to a cheese board.
Though infinitely impressive, this tall beauty takes no more time to make than any other lasagna recipe in our files. The secret to the head-turning look is to simply use a springform pan. Because it serves 10, this is a perfect lasagna recipe for entertaining a houseful. The vegetarian lasagna with spinach also features carrots, mushrooms, and three varieties of cheese among its layers.
Keep the layered theme going by serving a layered salad recipe. Our Spinach and Cabbage Layered Salad brings bright vegetables with an Asian-inspired dressing. For dessert, imagine how refreshing the cool, creamy Strawberry-Lemon Icebox Cake with taste after the hearty lasagna recipe.
The Complete Meatless Lasagna Pie Menu:
• A cheese board and/or an olive board (see tips, above)
With a prep time of just 25 minutes, this is an easy vegetable lasagna recipe to make when a red-letter day also happens to fall on a crazy-busy weekday. Using purchased Alfredo sauce lets you make vegetable lasagna with white sauce—without actually making a white sauce. Brown Sugar-Glazed carrots will add a colorful contrast to the green-forward vegetarian lasagna with spinach. Add some Cheesy Garlic Rolls that are actually store-bought rolls you've dressed up with a trick or two. Finish this 100% family-friendly meal with sweet-and-simple Oreo Neapolitan Shakes.
The Complete Alfredo Vegetable Lasagna Menu:
This lasagna recipe puts the spotlight on Swiss chard, a veggie that combines a deep spinachlike flavor with more subtle hints of beets. It's a fabulous vegetable for a meatless lasagna recipe, as it's extra hearty. Bright cherry tomatoes add color, and walnuts add extra richness.
With plenty of leafy greens in the lasagna recipe, you won't need to serve a lettuce salad alongside. Instead, try our Shaved Celery and Mushroom Salad with Pecorino—its lemony dressing will provide a nice contrast to the rich lasagna recipe. Also try our Spiral Breadsticks, though if you prefer sweet breadsticks, sprinkle them with a little cinnamon and sugar instead of the savory ingredients suggested. Our Caramel Drizzle Brownies make a great choice for dessert, especially if you're serving a crowd. Make them ahead, and do up the drizzle at the last minute.
The Complete Vegetarian Lasagna Menu:
• A cheese board and/or an olive board (see tips, above)
When it's time to pull out all the stops for your grandest get-togethers, turn to this lavish lasagna recipe. This vegetable lasagna with white sauce stars baby artichokes, which you can usually find at specialty produce shops. For this menu, start the evening with an olive board or a cheese board while guests mingle. Then, invite everyone to the table for a splendid sit-down first-course salad before you pull out your show-stopping lasagna recipe. Serve the lasagna alongside simple roasted asparagus that you pop into the oven while the lasagna stands after baking. Finish with a make-ahead dessert you have waiting in the wings: a minty and indulgent Peppermint-Fudge Pie, complete with meringue.
The Complete Artichoke Lasagna Menu:
• An olive board and/or a cheese board (see tips, above)
Here's the meatiest meatless lasagna recipe around—and no, that's not an oxymoron! Mushrooms and eggplant can always be counted on to add heartiness to vegetarian dishes, and that's the angle they work here. This vegetarian lasagna with eggplant also stands out for its top-notch selection of cheeses—goat cheese and Gruyère bring beyond-amazing richness and flavor.
With all this opulence, you'll want to star a side salad with a windfall of zesty flavors, and what better choice than a classic Caesar salad, with its bright anchovy-lemon-garlic bite? For dessert, send everyone swooning into the night with a rich yet refreshing Tiramisu Semifreddo.
The Complete Three-Cheese Vegetarian Lasagna Menu:
• Olive Board or Cheese Board (see tips, above)