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Lentils with Butternut Squash and Blistered Tomatoes aka Kaddu Waali Daal

Here’s to the beginning of another busy week – lots of work deadlines, family events and appointments. Sound familiar? Weeks like these mean constantly playing catch-up. As much as we try to plan everything ahead – full work days, school drop offs and pickups, music lessons, sports, and weekly dinner menus – there is always a need to make up time later in the nights. Long after the kids go to bed, I find myself sitting on the couch with my laptop trying to work and also trying not to pay attention to some late night comedy show or a weekend game replay on TV. During such busy weeks, it’s tempting to order in a pizza or go out for a quick meal as a quick, time-saving dinner solution. However, I feel if I have a menu planned ahead for the week, groceries bought and even a little bit of prep work done over the weekend, it goes a long way.

Sure, we have days that are a total chaos but hey that’s what life is all about. Those imperfect, unplanned, go with the flow kind of moments. Still, having a warm, home cooked meal for the family to gather around the dinner table for, has a certain therapeutic quality to it and it keeps me grounded (and also makes me feel that I am in A humble pot of lentils cooked with some seasonal goodies is one such earthy meal that is so comforting, comes together rather quickly and is good for you.

The orange lentils that I use in this recipe are easy to find at most grocery stores, cook quickly (so you don’t really need a pressure cooker to save time), and are a relatively inexpensive source of protein. If you’ve never cooked daal, it is an Indian style of cooking lentils and red lentils are the easiest to start with. The lentils are slowly cooked (or quickly in a pressure cooker), and then a tadka made of spices and ghee is added to finish the daal, think of tadka as a spiced oil drizzled over the lentils. I use ghee for making tadka of all my daals, but if you replace it with olive oil or oil of your choice you can make this recipe totally vegan.

Butternut squash starts flooding the farmers markets around this time of the year. The one I used is from a friend’s garden so cannot get better than that. I don’t think you can find butternut squash in India but use kaddu or pumpkin in place of it. You know the orange kind..:P. Cherry tomatoes are from our garden. Think of this recipe as a bridge between summer and fall. So exciting! There is something deeply satisfying for me knowing that I try to stay connected to our environment and seasonal cycles by incorporating local, and seasonal produce in our day to day meals.

Serve this over a bowl of rice or with hot, off the griddle chapati and there you have it – a completely satisfying and soul comforting meal!


Red lentils – 1cup

Ghee/olive oil – 1 tablespoon (ghee recipe here)

Cherry tomatoes – 1 cup (or use 1 large tomato, diced)

Butternut squash – 2 cups, cubed (about half of a small butternut squash)

Thyme – 1 sprig (optional)

Water – 3.5 cups

Salt – to taste

For Tadka/spiced oil

Ghee/olive oil – 2 tablespoons

Asafoetida – a pinch

Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon

Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon

Coriander powder – 1.5 tablespoons

Garam masala powder – ¼ teaspoon

Cilantro – leaves from 5 sprigs, chopped


Wash and rinse the lentils in room temperature water.

Set a heavy bottomed sauce pan on medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon ghee/oil to it. Once the oil is heated through and shiny add the cherry tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Let the tomatoes blister and pop, say 5-7 minutes. The tomatoes are going to splutter so watch out. Add the cubed butternut squash and thyme sprig, add another pinch of salt and turmeric. It’s important to season at each step as it builds the flavor in your dish. Stir around for a minute or two and then add lentils and 3.5 cups of water. Season generously with salt. Bring the mix to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are soft and the squash is cooked.

To make tadka/spiced oil, heat ghee/oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add asafoetida and cumin seeds, after the cumin seeds splutter add coriander powder. Cook for about a minute until the spices are fragrant.

Top the cooked lentils with this spiced oil. Stir and add garam masala and chopped cilantro. Serve the daal over bowls of rice (recipe here) or in small bowls accompanying chapati or roti (recipe here) or naan. Enjoy!

Note: If you are cooking the daal/lentils in a pressure cooker, add the lentils, 3.5 cups water, salt and turmeric powder into a pressure cooker. Put the lid on and cook on high heat for one whistle. Turn the heat off and wait to open the lid of the cooker till the pressure releases. Then add the cooked lentils to the sauce pan in which you have been cooking the butternut squash and tomatoes, 6-7 minutes after adding the squash.

Love – Vaishali.

Tools used:

Sauce pan

Knife and chopping board

Measuring cups and spoons

Medium skillet


Pressure cooker (optional)


  1. Simone

    September 25, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    Oh my! I have all the ingredients except the lentils… Guess who’s going to get red lentils on the way back from school run tomorrow?!?! Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Scott Gombar

    September 25, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    I love squash soup. My wife has a tradition from her country of making and drinking soup with squash on New Years Eve. 3 months to go.

  3. GiGi Eats

    September 25, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    I can’t do lentils but everything else in this soup sounds deliciously amazing!!! YUM!

  4. Aditya

    September 26, 2018 at 12:05 am

    I had rice with moong daal and tur dal all the time. But this is something new which I heard about it. Would share with my mother once. It really looks healthy and fun to eat during lunch or dinner.

  5. Casey

    September 26, 2018 at 5:56 am

    Love Squash soup, in fact, we love all kinds of soup. We are a soup family and we must drink soup almost every day. When my kids were younger, it was hard to make them eat Vegetable, so we blend them into soup for them to drink. As they got older, they have to drink it every day. Sometime in the winter they also take them to school for lunch as well. LOL. Love your site, always give me the inspiration to cook different stuff for my kids. Thx

  6. Shannan P

    September 26, 2018 at 8:02 am

    This looks so delicious! I love lentils, especially in the fall. I bet this is perfect for a chilly day.

  7. Brittany Vantrease

    September 26, 2018 at 10:08 am

    This looks so good! I received some butternut squash seeds halfway through the summer to plant. So far, I have little tiny squashes and I hope that they will ripen all the way before it gets too cold so I can try this. I’ll have to plant them earlier in the year so they grow on time.

  8. Sondra Barker

    September 26, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    I absolutely love lentils, this soup looks super delicious. I can’t wait to try it this fall, thanks for sharing this post!

  9. melissa amador

    September 26, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    I love lentils but often get tired of eating them in the same recipe. This looks so yummy I will have to try it!

  10. melissa amador

    September 26, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    I love lentils but often get tired of eating them in the same recipe. This looks so yummy I will have to try it! I love finding hearty vegetarian recipes to try.

  11. Lavanda Michelle

    September 26, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    Such a wonderful post. Looks so delicious, I will definitely save this for my mother. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Jessica Hughes

    September 26, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    Lentils are so healthy but I do sometimes struggle with how to use them. This looks like such a delicious hearty soup perfect for fall!

  13. K. A. Wypych

    September 26, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    This sounds amazing! I loved Daal when I visited India on a mission trip. The recipe looks delicious, and you broke it down into easy steps.

  14. andrea

    October 1, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    this looks absolutely delicious and sounds like the perfect meal to enjoy when it is chill outside and here in CO we have fully embraced the fall spirit.

  15. Courtney Bouchard

    November 13, 2018 at 10:18 am

    This recipe sounds delicious! We love butternut squash in my household. I’m excited to give this recipe a try, especially because it’s so different from what I usually am cooking up.

  16. Jill Nagle

    November 13, 2018 at 10:24 am

    This looks so delicious, I want to have some NOW! What part of India is this dish native to, or is it an amalgam? I took a cooking class in Kolkata that focused on Southern Indian food. Mmmm!

    1. Vaishali

      November 13, 2018 at 3:14 pm

      Thanks Jill. I wouldn’t call it a native dish as I have sed whatever ingredients are available here in the United States. But I am from North India (Punjab), so the flavors, spices and techniques used are more North Indian.

  17. Aakanksha

    November 13, 2018 at 10:50 am

    I love ur recipe. It would perfect for a cold day. But what exactly is a butternut squash?

    1. Vaishali

      November 13, 2018 at 3:12 pm

      Hi Aakanksha. Thanks! Butternut squash is more like a hardy pumpkin. If you are familiar with orange kaddu, that’s what it would be closest to.

  18. Bri Adams

    November 13, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    This looks amazing. I made butternut squash soup just the other day but the addition of the lentils and spices is intriguing.

  19. Miranda

    November 13, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    This sounds so delish! Being a vegetarian I am always looking for new recipes!! Can’t wait to try!

  20. Neil Alvin Nicerio

    November 13, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    This looks appetizing. I would try this over the weekend. 🙂 Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  21. Ben Chaulet

    November 14, 2018 at 1:09 am

    It seems to be really healthy indeed and tasty. Will try to do it as I am vegetarian… thanks

    Ben –

  22. One and Half backpacks

    November 15, 2018 at 2:10 am

    I have never considered put lentils and squash together but it sounds delicious 😀 Definitely worth of trying 😀

  23. kat

    November 15, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    This looks super comforting to eat on a cold day.

  24. Sonila

    November 15, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    Looks so delicious and perfect for the season!! I’ll pin it so i can give it a try soon. My kids love lentils so this is a must try!

  25. Shantanu

    November 17, 2018 at 12:38 am

    That Kaddu waali Daal looks Yuumm… !

  26. Adaezeboltbethel

    November 17, 2018 at 6:13 am

    Why do I always feel the same way when I visit your site? You got me hungry.

  27. Her Journal Blog

    November 17, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    Sounds like the perfect dish for cold weather days. Thanks for sharing!

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