It’s halfway through autumn: the cold air now pinches my cheeks outside, and I start regretting not wearing a hat every time I’m out. It’s the time of year when we start making lots of one-pot warm comforting meals. One of them is our Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Dahl, cooked in a turmeric-infused coconut and tomato stock.
Whilst we don’t celebrate Diwali ourselves, we thought we’d make a lovely warming Dahl this year in solidarity with over a billion people who celebrate the ‘festival of lights’. Last year, we were travelling in India when the country was preparing for the celebrations by hanging colourful lights, arranging flowers and clay oil lamps everywhere. This year, the least we can do is cook a delicious Indian meal and reminisce about our experiences in this beautiful country.
How to make a Lentil and Butternut Squash Dahl?
To begin with, peel and dice your butternut squash. For your butternut to cook in roughly the same time as your dahl, you should aim for 1cm cubes. Thinly slice your red onion. After that, finely chop ginger and garlic.
In a large, wide-based pan, heat a splash of oil. Add half of the sliced onions and fry for 4-5 minutes on low heat until starting to soften.
In the meantime, heat a splash of oil in a large frying pan (or two pans, if one isn’t big enough). Add diced butternut squash, the remaining sliced red onion and season with salt and pepper. Fry on medium heat for 15-20 minutes stirring every couple of minutes.
Alternatively, you can mix butternut squash, red onion, some oil and seasoning and spread in a single layer on a large baking tray. Roast in the oven at 180°C for 20 minutes, mixing a couple of times throughout the cooking. Keep an eye on the onions though, as they burn quickly in the oven.
Whilst butternut is cooking, continue preparing your dahl. When your onions have softened, add chopped garlic, ginger and ground turmeric, and fry for another minute until fragrant. Then, mix in rinsed lentils and crumble in a stock cube. After that, pour in a tin of chopped tomatoes, a tin of coconut milk and 200ml of water. Mix well, cover and simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes. When cooked, lentils should be tender and your dahl should have a creamy porridge-like consistency.
When cooked, take dahl off of the heat and stir in the spinach and juice of half a lemon. Spoon into bowls, top with slightly browned butternut squash and crispy onion. Serve with a wedge of lemon on the side.
Your Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Dahl is ready! What a bright and lovely dinner bowl it is! It tastes wonderful on any cold autumn or winter evening.
If you’re looking for more ideas of comforting food for cold days, have a look at our other recipes:
Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Dahl
- 600 g butternut squash peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
- 2 red onions thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 30 g root ginger peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 260 g red lentils rinsed in cold water
- 1½ stock cubes
- 400ml tin of rich & creamy coconut milk
- 400 g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 200 ml water
- 100 g spinach
- 1½ lemon
- Heat a large pan with 3 tbsp of oil. Add half of the sliced onions and fry for 4 minutes until softened.
- In the meantime, in a large frying pan (you may need to use two frying pans or see Tip at the bottom of the recipe), heat 2 tbsp of oil. Tip in diced butternut squash and scatter the remaining sliced onions. Season with salt and pepper. Fry on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until butternut squash is soft, slightly browned and the onions are crispy.
- Whilst butternut squash is cooking, continue preparing your dahl. To the frying pan with onions, add turmeric, chopped garlic and ginger and cook for another minute until fragrant.
- Add rinsed red lentils, crumble in stock cubes, pour in a tin (400ml) of coconut milk, a tin (400g) of chopped tomatoes and 200ml of water. Mix well and cover with a lid. Simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes until all the stock is absorbed and lentils are cooked. Add a splash of water if it gets too thick.
- Take off the heat, stir in spinach and juice of ½ a lemon.
- Serve dahl in bowls, topped with fried butternut squash cubes and crispy red onion. Garnish with a lemon wedge.