Skip to main content

Indian cuisine is a veritable treasure trove of vegetarian and vegan recipes. This warming dhal may seem complicated to prepare but don’t let the lengthy ingredient list fool you: this dish is actually quite easy to make and will serve 8 people generously. Just another example of how veggie cooking isn’t only very tasty, it looks beautiful and colourful too!

Serves 8-10:

For the butternut squash & kale:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • vegetable oil
  • 1tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1tbsp fennel seeds
  • 500g kale
  • salt and pepper

For the dhal:

  • 750g red lentils
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 3 red onions
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3tbsp ginger
  • 1-2 red chillies
  • 1tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1tbsp turmeric
  • 1tbsp cinnamon
  • vegetable oil
  • 3 x 400ml coconut milk
  • ½-1x lemon juice
  • 1x coriander


  1. Start by making the dhal. Bring a large pan of water to the boil with the stock cubes. Add the red lentils and cook until tender. This will take about 10 minutes. Drain the lentils and set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, peel and roughly chop the onions, garlic & ginger. De-seed and chop the chillies (leave the seeds in if you like it hot). Place these ingredients in a food processor, adding the spices and a good glug of oil.

  3. Heat a saucepan on a medium heat and gently fry the spice paste until it starts to release its aromas. Pour in the coconut milk and simmer until the sauce has thickened.

  4. When the sauce is ready, stir it into the red lentils. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Finely chop the coriander and stir into the dhal. Set aside.

  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Wash the butternut and halve lengthways. Spoon out the seeds and slice the flesh into 0.5 cm thick slices. Arrange these on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with the spices. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until tender: 20-30 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Remove the tough stalks from the kale and roughly chop the kale leaves. Wash thoroughly, then blanch in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Refresh until cold running water, then leave to drain.

  7. Spoon the dhal into a large oven dish, arrange the roasted pumpkin on top and finish with the steamed kale. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes until piping hot. Serve with brown rice.