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Serve this colorful, perfectly spiced stew with your favorite steamed grains, such as rice or quinoa, or whole grain bread. Not a fan of pumpkin? An equal amount of butternut, acorn, or delicata squash will also work in this red lentil dal.

Pumpkin Red Lentil Dal


  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small pumpkin (2 lb.), peeled, seeded, and cut into ¾-inch pieces (5 cups)
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped tomato
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach


  1. In a large skillet cook mustard and cumin seeds over medium 2 to 3 minutes or until toasted and starting to pop. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion, jalapeño, ginger, and garlic; cook and stir about 10 minutes or until onion is tender, adding water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking.
  2. Add the next seven ingredients (through paprika) and 5 cups water; stir well. Cover and cook about 20 minutes or until lentils are just tender. Stir in lime juice, salt, and black pepper. Sprinkle with spinach just before serving.

Comments (7)

(4.14 from 7 votes)
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Miryam1 month ago
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OMG!! I just made this and it is absolutely delicious!! I have never made a dal before and I needed to swap some ingredients (mustard seeds to prepared; ground cumin). Nothing major. The flavors are perfect together. This is a winner as far as I’m concerned. Thank you Chef!

Jennifer3 months ago
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Excellent. I know a couple from Sri Lanka and it passed their taste test! Very easy to make.

Marlene3 months ago
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Ih5 months ago
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I did not use 5 cups of water; more like 3 cups for a thicker dal, and the seasoning was perfect.

Ren7 months ago
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I used a Butterkin squash and it was a cup more than the recipe called for but I just adjusted the spices and it worked out ok. Even then it did seem like it wasn’t as flavorful as other dal I’ve had. Oh, I did completely forget the spinach.

Amy7 months ago
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Drinking broth straight from the carton is more exciting than this soup.

Carole6 months ago
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Amy, try a little kindness with your broth or comments.

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about the author

Darshana Thacker

Darshana Thacker is chef and culinary project manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit for more.

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