Top | Katherine Deumling

Red Lentil and Winter Squash Dal

(recipe, Katherine Deumling)

primary-image, l


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. 1 Tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
  2. 2 tsp. cumin seeds
  3. 2 tsp. black or brown mustard seeds (optional)
  4. 1 medium onion, finely diced
  5. A 1½-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  6. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped, or additional dried chile flakes to taste
  8. 1½ tsp. curry powder
  9. 2 tsp. ground cumin
  10. 1 tsp. turmeric
  11. ¼ tsp. dried chile flakes
  12. 2 cups red lentils
  13. 3 cups diced winter squash (butternut, buttercup, kabocha, pumpkin, etc.)
  14. 2 to 3 tsp. kosher salt (you'll need more salt than you might think, unless you’re using veggie bouillon)
  15. 5 cups veggie bouillon or water
  16. 1 (15-oz.) can coconut milk
  17. ½ bunch of mint, chopped (optional)
  18. ½ bunch of cilantro, chopped, or parsley (optional)
  19. Juice of 1 lemon
  20. 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.