Easy Red Lentil Dal with Spinach & Butternut Squash

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As the cold air continues to seep into the cracks of my window, all I’m craving are warming stews and soups. This Easy Red Lentil Dal with Spinach & Butternut Squash takes just a handful of ingredients, 20ish minutes, and one pot to make. It’s also great for leftovers throughout the week.

I’ll be honest- I’m a bit picky when it comes to lentils. But red lentils are a different story- I love their flavor, texture, and color. They also cook quite quickly.

Behind the Recipe: Easy Red Lentil Dal with Spinach & Butternut Squash

  • This recipe is inspired and adapted from Nik Sharma’s Garlic & Ginger Dal from Flavor Equation. I added in the squash and changed the procedure a bit to make it more streamlined.
  • Dice the Butternut Squash into very small cubes: While it took me a few times to figure out how to streamline this and cook the squash and lentils at the same rate, I found the key is dicing the butternut squash into very small cubes.
  • Can I use other winter squash or sweet potatoes? Yes, but most other winter squash, as well as the sweet potatoes, will require a bit more time to cook. You can get around this by waiting to add the lentils and cooking the squash for about 5-10 minutes in the coconut milk/water before the lentils. The only risk is that the squash may get a little overcooked, although I think this stew is quite forgiving and even if the squash is slightly overcooked, it will still be delicious.
  • Can I use vegetable or chicken stock in place of water? Yes, of course. This will add a boost of flavor, but I designed this recipe to specifically not need stock (especially since this is only ~2 cups so you’d most likely have stock leftover and could be wasted).

Easy Red Lentil Dal with Spinach & Butternut Squash: Watch How to Make It

Watch this 30-second reel to see how to make this here.

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5 from 4 votes

Easy Red Lentil Dal with Spinach & Butternut Squash

Servings 3 -4 servings
Total Time 30 mins
  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 1 medium butternut squash (1 pound), , diced into 1/2’’ cubes
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 yellow onion, , diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, , grated or minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, , grated or minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon diamond kosher salt (if using any other salt, use half the amount), (or to taste)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 6 ounces spinach
  • Place red lentils in a bowl and cover with water. Let sit while you dice the butternut squash and onion.
  • Place a medium sauce pot over low to medium heat. Add in ghee and onion. Saute until onion is beginning to lightly brown. Add in ginger and garlic and saute an additional minute or two.
  • Add in butternut squash and stir to coat in oil. Saute until just lightly brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Drain lentils (it's okay if it's not perfectly drained). Add in lentils, coconut milk, and 1.75 cups of water (which is one can; I just fill the empty coconut milk can with water and add). Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes, until butternut squash is tender, lentils are cooked, and the mixture is thicker and not liquidy. Check after 10 minutes (the exact time will depend on how long the lentils have soaked for and how small the butternut squash is diced).
  • Add in spinach and cover pot for 1-2 minutes to wilt the spinach. Stir in the wilted spinach. Serve with rice or naan.
5 from 4 votes
Tried this recipe?Mention @Kate_Cooks_ or tag #katecooks!

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  1. 5 stars
    So, so good! I made this for meal prep and was looking forward to lunch every day that week 🤗

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