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Coconut Dhal with Butternut Squash

With its mild taste and soft texture, dhal has got to be the most family-friendly Indian dish. It’s also really easy to make and cheap too!
Hands-On Time 15 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4


  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 white onion finely diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 18 g (1 inch piece) root ginger finely grated
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp mild curry powder or you can use garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 225 g / 1¼ cups red lentils
  • 800ml / 3½ cups vegetable stock (broth)
  • 2 medium tomatoes diced (or sub with 2 TBSP tomato puree (paste))
  • 50 g / ¼ cup creamed coconut finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) for garnish


  • Place the lentils in a fine mesh sieve and wash under cold running water, agitating them with your hand until the water runs clear.
  • Gently heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook the onion until it starts to soften. Meanwhile, prepare the stock and remaining vegetables.
  • Add the garlic, ginger and dry spices to the pan, and cook on medium-low heat for 2 minutes. If it starts to stick to the pan, add a splash of water to loosen it. Add the lentils and stir through.
  • Add the stock, tomatoes (or tomato puree), squash and creamed coconut. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover with a lid, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir towards the end of the cooking time and add a splash of extra stock or water, if needed. When the lentils are tender, remove the pan from the heat and leave to rest for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
  • This dish is delicious served with vegan naan breads, chapattis (or soft flour tortillas) and/or brown rice. We also love to add a side dish of sautéed kale and mushrooms or roasted broccoli (to add some greens to our plate!) Any leftover dhal can be stored for up to five days in the refrigerator or for weeks in the freezer.


This recipe was first published in the Bit of the Good Stuff Cookbook (2016), p116
Keyword Budget Vegan Meals, Dhal, Easy Vegan Meals, Family Friendly, Gluten-Free, Lentils