Yellow Lentils & Squash

Easy Indian Lentil Curry Recipe Delicious with Rice or Chapatis

Yellow Lentil Squash Stew

Yellow Lentils & Squash: I ate an Indian vegetable lentil curry recipe at the Water Lily East Indian Restaurant in St. Vital Manitoba. It was so simple & satisfying, I had to go back for second helpings.

This lentil or dhal recipe is not exactly like the restaurant version, but it has the same satisfying effect.

This easy Indian recipe became a dietary staple the first time I made it. We love it with rice or gluten free flatbread.

Total prep & cook time: 1 hr 45 min

6 Servings

Nutrition Data, 157g Serving: 193 cal, 34g carb, 1g fat, 21mg sodium, 16g fiber, 4g sugars, 14g protein, low Saturated Fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, good source Dietary Fiber, Folate, Manganese, Vit. A, Vit. C, Thiamin, Vit. B6, Iron. Estimated glycemic load 10


  • 1 1/2 cups yellow split peas (toor dhal or chana dhal in Indian food)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups yellow summer squash, chopped in 1 inch cubes (2 lb small squash), or peeled butternut or delicata squash
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet onion OR 1 stalk celery, trimmed and diced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
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  • 1 slice fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 heaping tsp gr. coriander
  • 1 heaping tsp gr fennel
  • 1 scant tsp gr. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Optional: 1 pinch cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper or to taste
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime


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  1. Soak lentils for 2 - 8 hours in a large pot. Start with hot water to speed up the soaking
  2. Discard soaking water, add fresh water to cover
  3. Stovetop Cooking:
  4. Bring to boil, skim foam, add bay leaf and ginger
  5. Cover and cook until lentils are tender but intact, 45 min - 1 hr
  6. Pressure Cooking:
  7. Bring to boil, skim foam, add bay leaf and ginger
  8. Lock down pressure cooking lid, bring up to high pressure, reduce heat to simmer, set timer for 20 minutes
  9. When cooking time is up, turn off heat and allow natural pressure release (approx 10 minutes)
  10. At the end of cooking, lentils or chana dhal should be tender but intact and most of the water should be absorbed
  11. While lentils are cooking, prep and chop the veggies
  12. Heat oil on medium in a large soup pot, add onion if using and stir fry until soft and transparent
  13. Add carrot and celery if using, stir fry until half cooked
  14. Add squash and stir fry until heated through
  15. Add dry spices and stir fry until heated through
  16. Add the lentils including ginger and bay leaf, with a cup or two additional water or soup stock as needed
  17. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until the soup has thickened and squash is tender, 15 - 20 minutes
  18. Add salt & pepper to taste, serve with a sprinkle of lime juice and cilantro
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Recipe Tips:

I used Chana Dhal to make this recipe and haven't tested it with yellow lentils. Indian chana dhal is richer tasting and larger, with more texture than yellow lentils and a darker color.

The dhal is more likely to stay intact than yellow lentils. Those should work well, and taste yummy but will have a different appearance, taste and texture than the chana dhal shown in the picture.

Time Saver: Soak and cook the lentils ahead and refrigerate or freeze. Make a double batch for future use if you like. Then add to the pot after the veggies and spices are stir fried. That will shorten the prep & cooking time to about 40 - 45 minutes

Time Saver: With a pressure cooker, the lentils will be cooked by the time you've prepped and stir fried the vegetables and spices. Using the stove top method, you'll have extra time to cook a grain to go with the stew or make some flat bread or muffins.

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