Ina Garten's Simple Salad Pairing For Chicken Parmesan

Choosing a side dish can be one of the most daunting aspects of planning a meal. You don't want it to be too heavy or too light. Nor do you want the flavors of your side dish to clash with those of the leading role, or take up more time than you have to make it. Instead, you want it to complement and add to the overall dining experience, as well as be easy to prepare. That's why we love the salad pairing Ina Garten recommends alongside her decadent and delicious chicken parmesan – it's simple but tasty.

According to the Barefoot Contessa, this dinner will take just 30 minutes to prepare and cook. She explains that after making up her chicken parmesan using her store-bought-is-fine bread crumbs, Garten drizzles some of her homemade lemon vinaigrette dressing over lettuce leaves piled on top of the hot, crispy chicken. It's the perfect, uncomplicated addition that completes the meal. 

It checks all the boxes for a side dish

The lemon vinaigrette the celebrity chef creates uses just a few ingredients: freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. It's fresh and bright and the texture of the salad greens with the juicy parmesan chicken is just the flavor burst your taste buds will appreciate. It also checks all the boxes you want in a side dish, an easy-to-make dish that complements without outshining the main dish and adds to the overall meal. Plus, because the salad's ingredients are so minimal, it's easy to customize; consider adding herbs, a few pine nuts, and shredded parmesan cheese to the mix to further satiate your appetite. 

This side salad really is that simple, and perhaps that's why Garten loves it so much. She told NPR, "I think that I'm a very nervous cook. And so if a recipe isn't simple enough for me to do and do well and repeat and do it again the same way, it doesn't make it into a book." And it just so happens, this chicken parmesan recipe topped with this simple salad is in Garten's cookbook "Barefoot Contessa Family Style."