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Red Lentil and Winter Squash Dal

By , from the Katherine Deumling collection
Serves 6
Total Time 1½ hours


Despite the long list of ingredients, this dish comes together quickly. If you use veggie bouillon, you’ll need much less salt. It’s extra delicious with the bouillon, so by all means use it if you have it.

This recipe was inspired by Dana Treat’s Red Lentil Dhal, which itself was inspired by The Modern Vegetarian.


1 Tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tsp. black or brown mustard seeds (optional)
1 medium onion, finely diced
~ A 1½-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped, or additional dried chile flakes to taste
tsp. curry powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
¼ tsp. dried chile flakes
2 cups red lentils
3 cups diced winter squash (butternut, buttercup, kabocha, pumpkin, etc.)
2 to 3 tsp. kosher salt (you’ll need more salt than you might think, unless you’re using veggie bouillon)
5 cups veggie bouillon or water
1 (15-oz.) can coconut milk
½ bunch of mint, chopped (optional)
½ bunch of cilantro, chopped, or parsley (optional)
~ Juice of 1 lemon
~ Steamed rice and plain yogurt, for serving


  1. Heat just enough oil to coat the bottom of a large pan and add the cumin and mustard seeds, if using. As soon as the seeds begin to pop (it takes only 30 to 90 seconds), add the onion, turn down the heat to medium, and cook until softened, about five minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, chile, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, and chile flakes, and fry for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils and stir to coat with the oil and spices. Add squash, salt, water or bouillon, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so the dal is at a simmer. Cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the bottom, until the lentils and squash have partially lost their shape and are soft, about 20 minutes. Stir in more liquid as necessary for the consistency you want. Add the chopped herbs, if using. Cook for a minute or two, then season with more sea salt and add the lemon juice to taste.
  3. Serve warm over freshly steamed long-grain white or brown rice and with plain Greek or other whole-milk yogurt. This dal freezes well.

Related post: Behold the foods of winter

This content is from the Katherine Deumling collection.

There are 3 comments on this item
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66% recommend this recipe
1. by anonymous on Jul 9, 2011 at 5:43 PM PDT

this was very easy to follow and came out perfectly spiced, thank you!

2. by anonymous on Jan 12, 2012 at 6:31 AM PST

This was very good; 4 1/2 stars. Ha. All I needed to make it 5 stars was to adjust some spices the next day after it sat in the fridge. I put a touch of garam masala into it, and a shake of coriander - not too much. It’s not that it really needed it, I just wanted more “pizzaz” I guess. Yummy, healthy, filling, cheap. Perfect over your favorite rice! What more do you want? ;)

3. by Carrie Floyd on May 20, 2013 at 3:36 PM PDT

So good! Perfect with brown rice.

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