Butternut Squash Lentils Dal Recipe | DFM

Butternut Squash Dal (Lentils)


10 min.


30 min.

Serving Size

4 servings

Dal is a staple in Indian cuisine and served at almost every meal. Here it’s combined with nutritious squash and cooked in milk to make for a satisfying and absolutely delicious vegetarian main course or as a side dish for other curries or plain grilled meat, fish, or poultry. Serve with basmati rice, naan, or papadum.


  • 1 cup (250 mL) dried red lentils
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) minced gingerroot (or 1-1/2 tsp/7mL ground ginger)
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp (15-30 mL) Indian yellow curry paste or powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper
  • 3 cups (750 mL) chopped peeled butternut squash (abt 1 lb/500 g)
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) milk
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh cilantro or green onions
  • Garam masala (optional)


1. Place lentils in a fine sieve and pick through to remove stones or grit. Rinse well and drain; stir into the broth and set aside.
2. In a large, deep saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; sauté onion for 3 minutes, or until starting to soften. Add garlic, ginger, curry paste (to taste), and salt and pepper; sauté for about 2 minutes or until softened. Add lentils in broth, squash, and milk and bring to a simmer, stirring often.
3. Cover, leaving lid ajar, reduce heat and simmer, occasionally stirring, for about 25 minutes, or until squash and lentils are soft and tender. Remove from heat and mash lightly with a potato masher. Serve sprinkled with cilantro and garam masala (if using).


Recipe and photo are provided by Dairy Farmers of Canada. For more recipe ideas, visit dairygoodness.ca.


  • Save on preparation time by purchasing pre-peeled, pre-cut squash often available in the produce section at the supermarket.
  • When simmering the lentils and squash, keep an eye on the pot and do not let the mixture boil since the lentils and milk tend to bubble over; adjust heat as necessary to maintain a simmer with bubbles gently breaking the surface of the liquid.
  • Tip for kids: this is an excellent introduction to the flavours of curry for kids who haven’t tried it before. The sweet squash and milk smooth out the taste of the curry allowing them to get use to the combination of spices.
  • For the adventurous: use a hot curry paste and/or sauté 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) each, whole cumin, coriander seeds, and 1 minced fresh hot pepper in 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter and spoon on top of dal with cilantro.