Warming Butternut Squash and Lentil Dhal

Hearty Butternut Squash and Lentil Dhal

This hearty Butternut Squash and Lentil Dhal is a delicious way to combine warming spices with protein rich lentils, nutritious butternut squash and spinach. I’ve used green lentils here as I prefer a variety that holds its shape and doesn’t go too mushy, but all varieties are fine to use. I love using ghee; it adds richness and depth of flavour, but oils like rapeseed or coconut also work well. I love this recipe and hope you do too..it’s a cheap and easy one to cook up ahead and serve when you’ve come in from a long day and in need of a tasty, nurturing that’s ready to go!

To make this Butternut Squash and Lentil Dhal, you’ll need….

  • 1/2 Butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 300g green Lentils
  • 1 large Onion finely chopped
  • 4cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 1 tin chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp ground Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric
  • 200ml Water (or more if necessary)
  • Pinch Cayenne Pepper (optional)
  • 2-3 large handfuls of fresh spinach, washed and chopped
  • 1 tbsp Ghee (I used Happy Butter Turmeric Ghee)
  • 1 tsp salt

To Garnish (optional)

  • 2 medium Red Onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp Ghee
  • 1 tbsp Cumin seeds


  • Butternut squash can easily be replaced with Sweet Potato or Pumpkin as a delicious alternative
  • Use Coconut oil for a delicious vegan alternative


Here’s how…..

In a separate saucepan, cover the lentils in plenty of cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, until they are beginning to soften.

Meanwhile, heat the ghee in a large saucepan over a moderate heat and add the onions, ginger and garlic; cook for approximately 5 minutes, allowing them to “sweat” until they are soft, stirring to ensure it doesn’t stick or brown.

Add the spices including the cayenne (if using) and toss continuously for a further 2 minutes. Season well with salt.

Add the tinned tomatoes, combine well; bring to the boil, reduce heat and allow to gently simmer for approximately 10 mins until cooked through.

Drain the lentils and return to the hot saucepan. Add the onion and tomato mixture to the lentils, then the butternut squash. combine well and cook for 20mins until the butternut squash is cooked and the sauce has thickened. If the sauce is too dry, add more water, a little at a time.

Once the butternut squash is cooked, add the spinach leaves and allow them to wilt into the sauce.

Cover and allow to rest.

Meanwhile, sauté the red onions in some ghee until they are slightly coloured at the edges. Add in the cumin seeds towards the end and continue to sauté until the aroma is pungent.

To serve, sprinkle the onion/cumin mixture over the top and serve either on it’s own or with brown rice or quinoa for an added protein boost.

Here’s how I made this simple butternut squash and lentil dhal….

What is Ghee?

You may not be familiar with ghee and it’s health benefits? Essentially it is a clarified butter that has been a staple in Indian cooking for generations and for good reason. Have a read of my blog post and I’m sure you’ll soon be reaching for this delicious oil or butter alternative too! CLICK HERE

If you’re worried about eating butter, recent research now suggests that whilst butter might not be a health food, there is now more evidence to suggest that replacing it with vegetable oils does not decrease risk of heart disease.


Have you made this Butternut Squash and Lentil Dhal? Let me know how it is in the comments below


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