Curried Lentil Stuffed Squash

September/October 2012

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In this stuffed squash recipe, a spicy red lentil curry stew fills acorn squash. If you find them at your market use tasty jarred piquillo peppers in this.

Curried Lentil Stuffed Squash

Makes: 4 servings

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Curried Lentil Stuffed Squash

  • 2 small acorn squash
  • 4 teaspoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (see Tips)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup red lentils (see Tips)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
  • 1/2 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped jalapeños
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced jarred roasted red peppers
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. To prepare squash: Halve squash through the stem end; scoop out seeds. Place cut-side up on a rimmed baking sheet. If necessary, cut a small slice off the bottom of each half so it rests flat. Combine melted butter, honey, garam masala and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl; brush all over the cut sides of the squash.
  3. Bake the squash for 10 minutes. Brush again to redistribute the butter. Continue to bake until the squash is tender, 30 to 35 minutes more. To test if it’s done, sample a little bit of the inside—it should be tender. Turn off the oven, tent the squash with foil and leave in the oven to keep warm.
  4. To prepare stuffing: Bring water, lentils and 1/8 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Adjust heat so the water is lightly boiling and cook until the lentils are not hard, but still maintain their shape, about 7 minutes. Drain, saving any lentil-cooking liquid; set lentils and liquid aside.
  5. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and cumin seeds and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in leeks, carrots, shallots, ginger and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in jalapeños, coriander and turmeric and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Stir in tomatoes and 1 cup of the reserved cooking liquid (if there isn’t enough, make up the difference with water). Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, then cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved lentils and simmer until they are soft and tender but not falling apart, 3 to 5 minutes. If the mixture seems dry, add more cooking liquid (or water). Stir in roasted peppers. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Divide the lentil stuffing among the squash (a generous 1 cup per half). Serve garnished with a dollop of yogurt.

Tips & Notes

  • Tips: Garam masala, a blend of spices used in Indian cooking, usually includes cardamom, black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, fennel, cumin and coriander. It is available in the spice section of most supermarkets.
  • Look for red lentils in well-stocked supermarkets or natural-foods stores.


Per serving: 415 calories; 12 g fat (6 g sat, 3 g mono); 25 mg cholesterol; 65 g carbohydrates; 3 g added sugars; 18 g protein; 13 g fiber; 674 mg sodium; 1430 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (113% daily value), Vitamin C (92% dv), Potassium (41% dv), Iron (35% dv), Magnesium (23% dv), Folate (20% dv), Calcium (16% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 4

Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1/2 lean meat, 2 1/2 vegetable, 2 fat, 1/2 carbohydrate (other)

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Recipe Categories

Type of Dish
Main dish, vegetarian
Ease of Preparation
Total Time
More than 1 hour
Preparation/ Technique

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