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Warming Butternut Squash and Lentil Dhal

Hearty Butternut Squash and Lentil Dhal

May Simpkin
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!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian


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

  • 1/2 Butternut squash peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 300 g green Lentils
  • 1 large Onion finely chopped
  • 4 cm piece of fresh ginger grated
  • 4 cloves Garlic crushed
  • 1 tin chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp ground Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric
  • 200 ml 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


        • 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 its own or with brown rice or quinoa for an added protein boost.

          Keyword Butternut squash, Dhal, dinner, Lentil, Lunch