Vegetarian lasagna with cashews – my mother’s recipe

This is my mother’s somewhat unusual recipe for vegetarian lasagna. It’s really tasty. I baked when we visited Julia in Timaru recently. 

Julia – before trying the lasagna.
Julia was one source of inspiration for our trip. She used to work in the same public service agency as Sue, and tossed her job in last year and moved to another in Timaru for a better lifestyle.  Julia asked for the lasagna recipe. Here it is!


1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 large tomatoes (or 1 tin)
400g mushrooms, chopped
3 small zucchinis, chopped (or substitute a large parsnip if zucchinis are out of season)
200g cashews
olive oil for frying
1 tablespoon soy sauce (reduce quantity if using a dark soy sauce)
150g tomato paste (about ½ a small Leggo’s jar)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste; but if you have any fresh chilies, fry these with the onions instead)
½ cup water
200g cheddar, coarsely grated
1 packet lasagna sheets (I prefer San Remo wholemeal, or fresh lasagna)

Heat oven to 180C.
Fry the onion and garlic. When onion starts to soften, add the cashews (and parsnips if using them). After a couple of minutes add the mushrooms. Fry for 2-3 more minutes, and then add the tomatoes and zucchinis. Cover and cook slowly for another 5 or so minutes, while preparing the sauce.
Mix the sauce ingredients in a jug or bowl.
Pick a suitable baking dish – ideally rectangular and the right size for the ingredients to fill it 8-10cm deep. 
Construct three layers of the following:
A. Lasagna sheets
B. ⅓ of the fill
C. ⅓ of the sauce
D. ¼ of the cheese
Then put the remainder of the cheese on top. 


Bake for 45 minutes. Check it after 40, and increase the oven temperature by 20 degrees for the last five minutes if necessary to nicely brown the top. Serve immediately (but it tastes even better if reheated a day or two later!).