“Lasagna Salad” Is Just Wrong

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/The Kitchn

Low-carb is a hot trend right now. Whole30, Paleo, and keto diets all propose cutting carbs to some extent (some more than others). And it seems like everyone is clamoring to get their hands on low-carb versions of their favorite recipes (see: the rise of cauliflower rice and pizza crust).

But this recipe for “lasagna salad” is taking the trend too far.

Of course, adaptations on traditional lasagna are plentiful. There are versions with cheese and without cheese, with meat and without, with veggies instead of pasta; really, if you can dream it, it’s probably been done. But the most recent iteration is a stretch of anyone’s imagination.

“Invented” by an engineer living in the U.K., who came up with the idea while preparing dinner for a vegan friend, “lasagna salad” is layers of iceberg lettuce, sliced onions, and sliced tomatoes.

A picture of the dish eventually made its way to Reddit, where it (of course) elicited some reactions — although they weren’t all negative.

While there were several outraged responses (i.e. “This should be illegal”), others were more measured, even positive. One measured commenter wrote, it’s a “convenient salad,”  but “no substitute for lasagna,” while several others suggested adding bacon to create a breadless BLT.

To be fair to the creator of “lasagna salad,” we don’t think he was trying to replace traditional lasagna. And yet, there is something slightly disturbing about this dish in the era of low-carb everything. The fixation on replacing things that don’t need replacing — like lasagna — with healthier options has reached a fever pitch. It almost comes off as a tortured attempt to insist that, as long as you close your eyes and believe, lasagna can in fact be replicated with soggy lettuce and tomatoes. We promise you, it cannot.

Of course, shunning pasta in favor of a more vegetable-heavy diet is your prerogative, and totally legitimate. But, there is nothing wrong with eating comfort food that tastes incredible and probably even inspires a little nostalgia, too.

Bottom line: Let’s just call a salad a salad. This is just a house salad (that you can find on the menu at any Italian restaurant) in disguise.