Eat Well Nov. 23. 2020

Red Lentil Daal with Squash and Coconut

Nov. 23. 2020
McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

A creamy red lentil daal with acorn and butternut squash, ginger, and coconut milk.

Red Lentil Daal with Squash and Coconut is a delicious and warming recipe to make on the weekend to later warm up for a quick lunch or dinner. We make it for two and it lasts all week long, so even for a family of four, you’re sure to get multiple meals out of this 1 dish!

One of my favorite slow-cooking recipes is daal. Daal (dal or dahl) is a very popular dish in Indian cuisine made with lentils, split peas, and pulses. It’s typically served with rice, flatbreads, and garnishes like yogurt sauces — all of which are delicious!

There’s nothing better than slow cooking this recipe, letting all the flavors build, the daal reduce to get the thick and creamy texture, and continuing to adjust the seasonings as it change during the cooking process.

When you cook on low heat for a couple of hours, the red lentils break down, the butternut and acorn squash break down and everything just melts together. I prefer to cut the butternut squash and acorn squash into large chunks, so the end result has some chunks of squash to bite into. Otherwise, you can dice it for a pureed texture. Either way, it’s delicious and it’s one of those recipes where you put everything into 1 pot and leave it to cook with minimal oversight! Another addition to this recipe, which makes it delicious, is the fresh ginger. I love stirring in fresh parsley upon serving (you can see the green in the pot from parsley).



There’s roughly 16g of fiber per 1 cup cooked lentils along with about 18g protein! Not to mention, the addition of butternut and acorn squash increase the fiber as well making this dish overall a great source of fiber and an easy way to increase your daily amount of fiber in just one meal


Lentils are one of the Top 10 Plant-based Proteins You Should Be Eating, for good reason. They’re affordable, easy to cook with, versatile, delicious, and packed with minerals, fiber, and protein.


Beta-carotene is the red/orange pigment found in many fruits and vegetables. Our body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, a fat-soluble antioxidant in both butternut and acorn squash which helps reduce inflammation, improves immune function, plays an important role in eye health, hair and skin health.

Optimizer Option:

Serve with a dollop of your favorite coconut milk yogurt (unsweetened, plain), ghee, or cilantro for a little flavor boost and a boost of healthy fats from the optional yogurts.


The Recipe

Serves 6



3 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/2 inch ginger root, peeled and minced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes

1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes

1, 15 ounces can full-fat coconut milk

1 cup dried red lentils

2 cups low sodium vegetable stock

2 cups water

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (start with 1/4 teaspoon and adjust to taste)



In a dutch oven or large pot on medium heat, add olive oil, onions, and garlic and cook for 5-8 minutes or until onions are translucent and fragrant.

Add all remaining ingredients on the recipe list and stir. Bring the pot to a boil and let cook at a boil for 10 minutes.

Reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve hot or warm with optional garnishes like fresh cilantro or coconut milk yogurt, ghee.

Store leftovers in an airtight glass container for up to 1 week — reheat on the stove until warm.

Things I Used to Make This:

Le Creuset dutch oven (I swear by dutch ovens, they’re an investment piece but one that you’ll have forever and there’s something about the texture and flavor you get from slow cooking in a dutch oven you just can’t get anywhere else!)


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