A delicious, piping hot Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Dal with just 10 minutes of prep time and no oil added. This dal fills up your home with the most appetizing fragrance as it cooks. Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free recipe.
Cooking food in a crockpot is a satisfying experience for any time of the year, but in winters it can also be a very special one.
With the doors and windows shut tight, the fragrance of whatever’s bubbling away wafts around the house, whetting your appetite and bringing eager questions. Something smells really good, Jay will announce as he walks through the door. What are you making, mom? Can I have it now?
“Now” is not a word that always goes hand in hand with crockpot cooking, but in case of this Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Dal, it’s easier to fulfill a craving sooner rather than later.
Because what goes in here are French lentils, those peppery, delicious little nuggets that take very little time to cook, even when you are slow-cooking. And potatoes and butternut squash, both veggies that cook pretty fast. This Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Dal takes just two hours in the crock pot if you set it to high, but that time is more than enough time for all the wonderful flavors in here to mix and meld and merge and make magic. What you get is food for the soul — in a bowl.
Making food in a crock pot also lets you avoid added fat, if you want to, with virtually no loss in flavor. This dal is so delicious, and all you really need to make it so are a couple of “exotic” ingredients, if turmeric and garam masala can be called that any longer.
I like adding the ingredients to the slow cooker one at a time, as I prep. So I usually dump in the onions, garlic and ginger, season them, and while they soften for just a minute or so in the heat from the crockpot, I cut and add the remaining ingredients.
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves or cilantro
- 1 cup French lentils (use brown lentils or the Indian masoor dal as a substitute, but avoid other Indian lentils because they won't cook easily in the slow cooker), washed
- 3 cups 1/2-inch butternut squash cubes I got pre-cut butternut squash cubes at my neighborhood mom-and-pop grocer's. If you need to cut a whole butternut squash, you will need to factor in another 5-10 minutes into your prep time.
- 3 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tbsp garam masala
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp cashew yogurt* See recipe link in notes below
- 3 spring onions, green and white parts chopped, optional
Set your crockpot to high, and add the onions, ginger, garlic, and coriander leaves. Stir to mix, season with salt and ground black pepper, cover, and let it cook a little while you prep your other ingredients.
Add the butternut squash, potatoes, lentils, cayenne, turmeric and garam masala. Add three cups of water or vegetable stock. Stir well, season with salt, cover, and let it cook for two hours. Check once or twice and add another cup of water if needed. The dal will thicken up as it stands, so don't make it too dry.
Turn off the heat and stir in the cashew yogurt. Garnish with spring onions, if using.
Serve hot with roti or rice.
- See recipe for cashew yogurt here. You can also blend 2 tbsp of cashew nuts with 2 tbsp of water, and add the juice of 1/2 lemon, instead of the cashew yogurt.
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