The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Guest Spot: Sam Raithatha’s veggie lasagna recipe (without pasta!)

Photo: Sam's veggie lasagna

Photo: Sam

Do you remember that I wrote about Sam’s. The best fast food takeaway in Newmarket and maybe all of Britain  (back at the end of November?) Sam’s spotless wagon serves only organic food and feeds the hundreds of tradesmen and a lot of other discerning visitors that just drive into Ridgeon’s car park to scoff his food. He also runs Queen’s the event company.

Well it turns out that he’s also an enthusiastic vegetarian chef.

I just had to have a ‘Sam fix’ yesterday lunchtime. Luckily I needed to buy paint so motored over to Ridgeon’s and ordered a bacon (yes I know, we make great bacon but I wanted to try his) and egg wrap. The bread was Mezzaluna (half moon), italian pizza dough slighlty baked then griddled. I guzzled this delight (parked beside the gallops) watching the dogs racing through the snow and into the mist. I did consider sharing with Danny but he was attached to his computer back at the cottage/it was a cold day and I needed a decent lunch/he wouldn’t know unless I told him.

While this snack was being prepared, Sam mentioned that he had created a great veggie lasagna for four for £4.50. A lot of the ingredients were bought for well under 30% from Waitrose and Tesco. The aubergines, cheese sauce and tofu (quorn) were all massively discounted and the result was a gourmet feast. So this fits with our 2009 challenge – great food for 50% or less!

Reading Sam’s recipe this evening, I had no idea that there’s a vegetarian version of Lea and Perrin’s Sauce or vegetarian wine. I love the idea of serving salad and broccoli together. That’s Sam all over, disparate combinations that just work. I often eat salad as a separate course – this horrifies Danny. So I’m going to try this crispy salad warm vegetable combination.

Sam Raithatha’s veggie lasagna recipe (for four)

Sam says: Here is the recipe for my version of Veggie lasagna. This is a dish to have just in case you have a few friends that are Veggie and for you unlucky ones – Vegans ( only joking, but really have you ever tried cooking something other than Tofu!!!!!!!)



  • 1 x Large Aubergine ( two smalls are ok, or 3 very smalls )
  • 2 x garlic cloves
  • 1 x courgette
  • 1 x shallot
  • 1 x Pepper ( Red, Green or Orange )
  • 3 x mushrooms 
  • half bottle of Passata or half tin of tomatoes
  • 1 x a good dash of veggie worcester sauce ( Waitrose £ 1.79 ) extra brownie points
  • 1 x Packet of soya chunks ( they look like chicken chuncks) if you can’t get these, just double up on mushrooms
  • 1 x a good tablespoon full of mixed Italian herbs and rosemary (just chuck it in, no rule applies to Rosemary)
  • 1 x tablespoon of jalapeno peppers chopped
  • Now, for those of you watching your weight or cholesterol use olive oil (for non vegans, Irish salted butter)

N.B. The vegetables mentioned above DO NOT HAVE TO BE USED if you have others, in they go, it’s a eclectic mix.


  • Firstly slice Aubergine into thin circles. Lightly fry in olive oil until golden brown, remove and drain, using same pan add a bit more olive oil
  • Slice shallots, add herbs ( the whole lot) and a little Veggie Red Wine ( Cuvee Chasseur 2007, Waitrose £ 4.99)  extra brownie points ( will keep in fridge for months)
  • Once the shallots are golden,  add courgette, peppers and mushrooms.  Cook until soft. Add salt to taste ( but if your trying to cut out salt, add a teaspoon of capers ) and the passata or half tin of tomatoes.
  • Add the packet of soya (quorn) chunks and mix, if mixture is to thick add a bit more wine or a little water.
  • Now for the cheese sauce….
    a good  béchamel  sauce is great a little Mustard power added is amazing, for the vegan option add a layer of veggie soya cheddar
  • So to the layering..I
    In an large oven proof dish
    place a layer of fried Aubergine
    add a layer of the mixture
    than a layer of the béchamel sauce  repeat this until you reach about the top.

on the last layer put a good helping of cheddar  ( soya cheddar )   ( IF YOU WANT TO MAKE INDIVIDUAL PORTIONS USE SMALLER DISHES )

place in oven 180c (160c fan) for 20 mins or until golden brown.  Now a little tip: take out of oven and let it rest for a while.

As a side dish cut a large potato in to thick chips, par boil them, and on a heated oven tray pour on olive oil add salt & pepper then once chips are par boiled, drain and pour on to heated tray, mix  and put back in oven with lasagna, turn a few time while lasagna is cooking, watch eyebrows!!!

Serve with a salad and a bit of broccoli.


  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Carla

    I think that this dish looks great too. Sam is a good cook.

    Really delighted that you are enjoying the blog. Thank you.

    Hi Sylvie

    Frugal yes but doesn’t it look mouth watering. Can’t wait to try it!

    Hello Pamela

    I love salad as a separate course, after the main dish. Sometimes I’ve eaten it with the main dish but it looses its crisp and fresh delight.

    Thanks for the tip about salmon and spinach in lasagna – must try this soon.

    Hi Veronica

    I think that this dish sounds scrummy. Also I loved the tip about the chips – par boiling before roasting. Perfect for a busy cook pressed for time.

    I prefer the French way too. Salad on its own and cheese before dessert.

    Hi Carol

    I’m sure that they are not and probably really appreciate the effort you put in.

    Sam’s dish does sound tasty, though. Personally I’d go for Quorn rather than tofu.

  2. Brill!! My veggie repertoire is not that great and this will do nicely for our next visit from a veggie friend who is probably bored with my usual stuff.

  3. Veronica

    This sounds excellent! Not much like lasagne, but excellent 🙂 Thanks to Sam and you.

    In France it’s completely normal to eat salad as a course on its own before or after the main course. Oh, and we eat cheese before dessert too 🙂

  4. We eat salad with all sorts of odd dishes like curry or lasagne (though not spag bol strangely enough). It’s only what you get used to. Years ago I thought lettuce was the most boring bit of salad now I love it. Mind you the lettuce variety available has improved tremendously.

    I always cook my chips this way, ususally with Maris Piper/Peer potatoes or at a push King Edwards & give them a good shake when they are about 2/3rds cooked. This sounds delicious & some in our household are looking to cut down on wheat, not an easy task, so this will be a really good recipe to try. Thanks to Sam for his generosity & to you for taking the time & trouble to post it.

  5. Toffeeapple

    I eat salad as a separate course too, always have done. Though not vegetaria, I don’t need to eat meat or fish everyday and this dish sounds just right, though I have never eaten Quorn/Tofu and wonder about using it. I could leave it out I suppose.

  6. As a veggie I will have to try this recipe. It sounds really yummy! Thanks for sharing!

    I love reading your blog, its always a nice treat to read with a cuppa and a couple of biccies!

  7. I love salad as a separate course and almost always eat it at the end of my main course if it is served as a side dish. Might have something to do with having lived in France and Spain I suppose, where salad is always served as a course in its own right. This sounds like a nice light version of lasagne. Salmon and spinach work well in lasagne too.

  8. It’s great to get such a frugal meal, packed full of veg. Great recipe!

  9. This is really fabulous! I’m going to make this dish because I love vegetables.Thank you for sharing it with us.I like your blog very much and it is the first thing I read in the morning with my coffee when I switch on my pc. I am from Florence living in the Island of Krete,Greece. My two children are both living in U.K. Love!xxxx

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