This post may contain affiliate links.

This easy Dahl recipe makes the perfect one pan midweek vegetarian family meal. With red lentils, spinach and butternut squash it’s delicious creamy texture makes it so comforting. It is a low cost dish, and can be batch cooked and frozen.

Easy Dahl recipe with lentils and butternut squash

I asked on Instagram this week, what type of recipes you’d like to see more of here, what you wish you could cook but didn’t quite ever seem to manage. How I could help make your foodie dreams come true.

HEAPS of you said vegetarian recipes.. SOOOO I thought I’d choose the most unappealing looking veggie dish I could find for my first one, OKAY? Oh. Am I failing at the first?! Hang in their friends. Give me a second.

Look, Dahl (or dhal, or daal or dal?) is not going to win any beauty competitions but I promise you, it’s like Indian comfort food in a bowl. Let’s consider the evidence:

  1. It’s quick.
  2. It’s cheap.
  3. It’s easy.
  4. It’s a store cupboard standby.

Honestly, that would be enough to tickle my pickles and make it’s way onto our meal plan, but added advantage, this Red Lentil Dahl recipe happens to be totally delicious. It’s spicy, creamy and surprisingly child friendly, as mine seem to like the easy to scoop and eat texture.

I used to make this when I first moved into my own home and could not BELIEVE that you had to pay for things like running water?! Who knew. I needed to make some savings and this simple Dahl recipe was a money saver then and still is now.

I hope you can see past this Dahl‘s unglamorous looks and give it a try. Let me know what you think please!

Tasty and quick red lentils cooked with butternut squash

What to serve with this Red Lentil Dahl:

dahl is often considered a meal by itself. However, if you are super hungry then serve it with:

  • Rice – TIME SAVING TIP: I often use microwaveable rice packs for when we need a small amount of rice.
  • Naan Breads – or my homemade Easy Flatbreads these are perfect for mopping up the sauce.
  • The roasted onion slices mentioned above.
  • Poppadoms – The crunch with the creamy Dahl is THE BEST. Plus my children will eat anything when served with poppadoms.
  • I also dolloped some natural yoghurt on top and sprinkled with fresh coriander and chillies, but this isn’t mandatory.
Lentil Dahl recipe with easy tips

What I used to make this Dahl recipe:

  • Freezer tubs – if you’re making a bigger batch, perfect for freezing portions in.
  • My favourite ‘spoon-atula’ – I use this every single day (I have a few of them). Perfect for scraping sauces from pans and getting the last bits out of bowls. Oh and LOOK AT THE COLOURS!
  • The pan in this photo is one of the most expensive kitchen items I own, but it’s been used every day for 10 years and I still love it as much as I did when I unboxed it for the first time!

Tips for making this Dahl Recipe:

  • This dahl recipe is suitable for gluten free, vegetarian and vegan diets.
  • You can also make a dahl in a slow cooker (or Crock Pot) simply add all of your ingredients to your slow cooker, cover with the lid and cook on HIGH for four hours or LOW for six. Add your spinach just before the end, so it only just wilts.
  • If you are serving this dahl for very small children you may wish to find a low salt stock, or just add the same quantity of water in place of stock.
  • dahl is a perfect make ahead meal if you are meal planning – once cooked cool the dahl before refrigerating, it will keep fresh in air tight containers for 3-5 days, and even better will freeze cooked for 6 months.
Quick and tasty Dahl recipe with red lentils

More easy vegetarian meals:

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. I’d love to know how you got on and what you thought of it if you make this Dahl recipe. Please rate the recipe and leave me a comment below if you do.

4.95 from 38 votes

Dahl – with red lentils, butternut squash and spinach.

This easy, family friendly vegetarian Dahl recipe makes the perfect one pan midweek dinner. Cooked in around 40 minutes with red lentils, spinach and butternut squash it’s delicious creamy texture makes it so comforting. It is a low cost dish, and can be batch cooked and frozen, perfect!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings


  • 1 tsp Olive oil
  • 2 Onions, Alternatively, 250g Frozen Chopped Onions
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Alternatively, 3 tbsp Frozen Chopped Garlic
  • 2 tbsp Ginger, Fresh or preprepared (see note above)
  • 1 tbsp Ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp Medium curry powder
  • 250 g Red lentils
  • 400 ml Reduced fat Coconut Milk
  • 400 g Tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 300 g Butternut Squash cubes, peeled, Fresh or frozen is fine
  • 300 ml Vegetable stock
  • 80 g Spinach

To serve:

  • Natural yoghurt
  • Coriander
  • Chopped chilli


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, ground cumin and curry powder. 
  • Cook over a medium heat until the onions have softened and you can smell the curry powder cooking.
  • Add the lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes, butternut squash, vegetable stock and salt. Stir well, cover and cook over a medium heat for about 30 minutes. (It may need 5 – 10 minutes longer, depending on the consistency you'd like and if you're using fresh or frozen butternut squash. You may also need to add an additional splash of stock..)
  • Add the spinach just before serving to wilt.
  • Enjoy!


  • This recipe serves 6 people. If you are cooking for fewer people you can either reduce the recipe, or (my preference) make the same amount and use for further meals or freeze. Future dinners ready in the freezer – win!


Calories: 311kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 14gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 365mgPotassium: 1052mgFiber: 17gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 6875IUVitamin C: 29.5mgCalcium: 130mgIron: 6.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Family Food
Like this? Leave a comment and rating below!Mention @myusername or tag #myhashtag!

new cookbook!

Featuring 100 delicious recipes that can be cooked in one pot, you can open any page in this book and find something that will give you not only a meal that the whole family will eat and enjoy, but also one that makes your life a little simpler in the process.

More Recipes

Sarah Rossi founder of and author of 'What's for Dinner?' books.


Hi, I'm Sarah. I help busy people decide 'What's for Dinner?' Find hundreds of recipes here, and also in my bestselling recipe book. Hope my recipes make your life easier ❤️

4.95 from 38 votes (24 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 5 stars
    Delicious. Made 2 servings on a whim for lunch, after finding this. Used frozen Butternut squash and spinach. Ate it with wholemeal naan bread, yogurt, and roast cauliflower as per your suggestion. Really lovely and will definitely make this again. Thanks so much.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve had some pretty terrible attempts at dhal that are tasteless. This was amazing! We all absolutely adored it, so healthy and tasty. Definitely going onto our rotation of recipes. Thumbs up from the 9 and 12 year olds too.

  3. This recipe looks brilliant! It’s already quick, but I was wondering if it could also be made in a slow cooker (and still have the same texture)?

    1. The recipe for the slow cooker version is coming in a couple of weeks! It’s very similar I just want to test once more first 🙂