Hearty Butternut Squash Dhal Recipe: A Nutritious and Flavorful Meal

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Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Craving a comforting, nutritious dish that’s both delicious and easy to make? Look no further than butternut squash dhal. This vibrant, hearty meal combines the creamy texture of butternut squash with the rich flavors of traditional Indian spices. It’s perfect for cozy nights in or when you need a wholesome meal that satisfies.


Gather these ingredients to create a rich and flavorful butternut squash dhal.

For the Dhal

  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced (about half a medium squash)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt to taste

For Serving and Garnishing

  • 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 5 curry leaves
  • 2 dried red chilies

Equipment Needed

To make butternut squash dhal, ensure you have the following equipment ready:

  • Cutting Board: For chopping vegetables.
  • Sharp Knife: To easily cut through the butternut squash and other ingredients.
  • Vegetable Peeler: To peel the butternut squash.
  • Large Pot or Dutch Oven: Ideal for cooking the dhal evenly.
  • Wooden Spoon or Spatula: For stirring the ingredients without scratching your cookware.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Ensuring accurate measurements of spices and liquids.
  • Colander or Fine Mesh Sieve: To rinse the red lentils thoroughly before cooking.

Having these tools on hand will streamline your cooking process, making it easier to prepare a delicious and hearty butternut squash dhal.

Preparation Steps

To create a delicious butternut squash dhal, follow these detailed steps to ensure each component is perfectly prepared.

Roasting the Butternut Squash

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Peel and seed the butternut squash using a vegetable peeler and sharp knife.
  3. Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes for even roasting.
  4. Place the squash cubes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Toss to coat evenly, then spread them out in a single layer.
  7. Roast in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until tender and lightly browned, turning halfway through cooking.

Cleaning and Preparing the Red Lentils

  1. Measure out 1 cup of red lentils using a measuring cup.
  2. Spread the lentils on a clean cutting board or plate to inspect for small stones or debris; remove any impurities you find.
  3. Place the sorted lentils in a colander or fine mesh sieve.
  4. Rinse thoroughly under cold running water until the water runs clear, shaking gently to ensure all lentils are cleaned properly.

Following these preparation steps, you set yourself up for crafting an exquisitely flavored butternut squash dhal that brings warmth and comfort with every spoonful.

Cooking Instructions

Follow these steps to create a flavorful and hearty butternut squash dhal. Ensure each ingredient is prepped as listed for a smooth cooking process.

Cooking the Squash

  1. Preheat Your Oven: Set your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Prepare the Squash: Peel and dice one medium butternut squash into 1-inch cubes.
  3. Season: Toss the squash with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Roast: Spread the seasoned squash on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 25-30 minutes or until tender and golden brown.

Preparing the Lentils

  1. Rinse Lentils: Rinse 1 cup of red lentils under cold water until the water runs clear.
  2. Cook Lentils: In a large pot, combine rinsed lentils with 4 cups of vegetable broth.
  3. Boil and Simmer: Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until soft but not mushy.

Combining Ingredients

  1. Heat Ghee or Oil: In a small pan, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee or vegetable oil over medium heat.
  2. Add Spices:
  • Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds; let them splutter.
  • Add 10 curry leaves; fry until crisp.
  • Add 2 dried red chilies; fry briefly without burning.
  1. Sauté Aromatics:
  • Add finely chopped onion (1 medium); sauté until translucent.
  • Add minced garlic (4 cloves) and grated ginger (1 tablespoon); cook until fragrant.
  1. Mix Together:
  • Pour tadka into cooked lentils along with roasted butternut squash pieces.
  • Stir in coconut milk (one can) for creaminess if desired.
  1. Final Seasoning:
  • Adjust salt to taste
  • Optionally add fresh cilantro for garnish before serving hot

Assemble and Serve

After simmering your butternut squash dhal to perfection, it’s time to bring everything together for a delightful meal.

Combining Ingredients

Carefully pour the creamy coconut milk into the pot of simmering dhal. Stir gently to combine, ensuring the butternut squash pieces remain intact. The coconut milk will add a luxurious creaminess that balances the spices wonderfully. Continue stirring until you achieve a uniform consistency.

Final Adjustments

Taste your dhal and adjust seasoning as needed. Add salt or pepper based on your preference. If you prefer a thinner consistency, incorporate additional vegetable broth gradually until it reaches your desired thickness. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro for a burst of color and flavor before serving hot alongside steamed rice or warm naan bread.


Butternut squash dhal combines the best of comfort and flavor with its creamy texture and rich spices. Whether you’re new to cooking or a seasoned chef, this dish is a delightful addition to your culinary repertoire. Perfect for cozy nights in or when you crave something wholesome, butternut squash dhal delivers both nourishment and satisfaction. Serve it hot with rice or naan bread for a fulfilling meal that everyone will love.

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