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If you’re looking for a delicious vegetarian family meal for this week’s fakeaway, this simple Slow Cooker Dahl is bursting with flavour.

With a base of lentils and butternut squash, it is nutritious AND affordable.

Not only does this tick the boxes for ‘healthy’ and ‘flavour’, this recipe helps us to reduce our meat intake and keep costs satisfyingly low for this slow cooker fakeaway.

A Slow Cooker Dahl just feels good while you’re eating it, and, like always, the hard work is done hours in advance with these slow cooker recipes! 

If you’re in a meat-eating household, this is a perfect recipe if you have vegetarian guests coming round or you simply want a break from chicken, beef or lamb curries for a change.

It’s also an ideal dish to make as part of a larger feast – perhaps a curry night or a hot buffet.

You could also serve this alongside my speedy Palak Paneer curry. Another good veggie curry option in the slow cooker is my Chickpea Curry (AKA Chana Saag).


Why you’ll love this Slow Cooker Dahl recipe

⭐️ Simple store-cupboard ingredients

⭐️ Spices are aromatic and satisfying

⭐️ Delicious results with little effort


A finished Slow Cooker Dahl recipe topped with paneer and coriander.

About Red Lentil Dahl

Dahl (or ‘dal) is very much part of the culinary DNA of India. The word means ‘split pulse’ (lentils, peas, chickpeas and beans), and while there are many variations and recipes for different types of dahl in its country of origin, the name tends to refer to any lentil based curry.

I love this article in The Better India that goes into detail about the history and origins of the dahl.

Traditionally you would use the process of ‘tarka’ if you’re cooking Tarka Dahl, which you can always try if you have a little extra time.

A ‘tarka’ is the process of frying spices in a hot oil before adding them to a dish. This releases flavours from the spices. You then pour this over your Dahl as the ultimate seasoning.

Slow Cooker Dahl Ingredientsn notes

Ingredients for a Slow Cooker Dahl recipe laid out on the counter.
  • Onions, garlic and ginger – Fresh or frozen for these ingredients is fine if you prefer them to fresh
  • Curry paste – Use what you have or whichever one you prefer
  • Red lentils – These should be the dry type, in a bag
  • Coconut milk – I use reduced fat but it’s up to you
  • Butternut squash – Fresh or frozen chunks is totally fine
  • Vegetable stock – Read notes on the recipe below on quantities
  • Paneer – Large chunks to serve. If you can’t find this Indian cheese, halloumi would also work well

How to make Slow Cooker Dahl

Raw ingredients for a Slow Cooker Dahl ready in the pan.
  1. Put everything into the slow cooker and cook as per the recipe (at the bottom of this post).

2. Heat the oil in a small frying pan and fry off the cubes of paneer until crispy all over. Serve on top of the dhal.


Substitutions

  • Halloumi – Swap the paneer for this if you prefer it

Leftovers

In the fridge You can keep this recipe in the fridge for 3 days. Reheat fully in the microwave or hob before serving.

In the freezer This recipe freezes well but try to freeze it without the paneer as that doesn’t freeze well. Just wait until it’s totally cold and then put into a freezer proof container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly before reheating in the microwave or on the hob.

Top tips

Make a ‘tarka’ sauce with spices beforehand for a extra flavour:
Heat up a little oil, add your chosen spices until they become fragrant (try cumin seeds, chilli flakes and fennel seeds) then add them to the dhal when it has finished cooking.. Be careful not to get them too hot or they will burn and taste bitter.

Stock amount: 
The amount of stock you need for this recipe varies greatly depending on the ingredients and also how runny you like your dhal. If it looks too thick or dry an hour or two before serving (or even when you go to serve) add an additional 100-200ml of stock and stir well.

I find that sometimes a lot of liquid is released by the butternut squash and other times not so much. That’s why I start with 100ml of stock and then adjust accordingly.

More vegetarian curries…

FAQs

Can you recommend a slow cooker?

The Morphy Richards Sear & Stew Slow Cooker is my all-time favourite because you can use it for initial browning on the hob and it’s really light. For induction hobs, I recommend the Lakeland Digital 6.5l Slow Cooker instead.

Can I really put everything together at the same time for a vegetarian curry?

Yes! Frying the spices a little beforehand will give that extra depth of flavour, as I’ve already mentioned, but if you’re going for convenience there will still be plenty of flavour in this all-in-one recipe.

Let me know how you got on and what you thought of these recipes. Please rate the recipe using the ⭐️ below.

Also I’d LOVE to see your cooking creations. If you’d like to share yours with me, you can tag me on Instagram (@tamingtwins).

5 from 164 votes

Red Lentil Dahl {Slow Cooker Fakeaways}

This Red Lentil Slow Cooker Dahl is a perfect weekend fakeaway. It’s simple, healthy, is packed with flavour and is an ideal vegetarian curry.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 1 Onion, Peeled and chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic , Or 3 tbsp of frozen/jar
  • 2 tbsp Ginger, Fresh or frozen/jar
  • 2 tsp Ground cumin
  • 4 tbsp Curry paste
  • 250 g Red lentils
  • 400 ml Reduced fat coconut milk
  • 400 g Tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 300 g Butternut squash cubes, Fresh or frozen
  • 100 ml Vegetable stock, See notes

To serve:

  • 2 tsp Sunflower oil
  • 225 g Paneer, Cut into large chunks

Instructions 

  • Put everything into the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8-9 hours.

Optional to serve:

  • Heat the oil in a small frying pan and fry off the cubes of paneer until crispy all over. Serve on top of the dahl.

Notes

Stock notes The amount of stock you need for this recipe varies greatly depending on the ingredients and also how runny you like your dahl.
If it looks too thick or dry an hour or two before serving (or even when you go to serve) add an additional 100-200ml of stock and stir well.
I find that sometimes a lot of liquid is released by the butternut squash and other times not so much. That’s why I start with 100ml of stock and then adjust accordingly.
Nutritional information The info above is without the optional paneer.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 264kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 13gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.5gSodium: 208mgPotassium: 824mgFiber: 16gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 7094IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 98mgIron: 5mg

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

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
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35 Comments

  1. Hope I haven’t ruined this? I questioned myself whether I can add normal hot stock to the slow cooker containing coconut mil! You would not normally have cold vegetable stock so.. can anyone advice many thanks 🙏