This healthy red lentil curry recipe has a rich flavor and complexity that tastes like it takes hours to prepare. Butternut squash and coconut milk combine with the lentils to make a hearty vegetarian dish. Serve with brown rice or naan bread.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2015




Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger and curry powder (or garam masala); cook, stirring often, until the onion is starting to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add squash, lentils, tomato and salt; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer; cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender and the lentils are mostly broken down, about 20 minutes.

  • Stir in coconut milk and simmer until heated through, about 1 minute. Serve with lime wedges and cilantro, if desired.


Precut butternut squash is usually sold in a 20-ounce package of large cubes (5 cups of 1- to 2-inch pieces) or in a 16-ounce package of smaller diced squash (3 cups of 1/2-inch pieces). If you can only find the smaller cubes for this recipe, you'll need to buy two 16-ounce packages to have 5 total cups of squash and reduce the roasting time by 5 to 10 minutes. Or, you can prep your own cubes of squash from a whole, peeled and seeded butternut squash.

Nutrition Facts

326 calories; protein 13.6g 27% DV; carbohydrates 46.5g 15% DV; exchange other carbs 3; dietary fiber 13.1g 53% DV; sugars 7.7g; fat 11.5g 18% DV; saturated fat 4.6g 23% DV; cholesterolmg; vitamin a iu 12370.9IU 247% DV; vitamin c 38.3mg 64% DV; folate 247.6mcg 62% DV; calcium 107.1mg 11% DV; iron 4.9mg 28% DV; magnesium 92.5mg 33% DV; potassium 995.8mg 28% DV; sodium 734.6mg 29% DV; thiamin 0.3mg 34% DV.

Reviews (26)

Read More Reviews
28 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 18
  • 4 star values: 6
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
Excellent - followed the recipe using homemade garam masala. I would have preferred a thicker curry since I was serving it with rice but it tasted great! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
WOW!!! This has such AMAZING FLAVOR! Will be keeping this recipe in my meal plan for sure! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
One of my favorite new recipes for lunch. One pot feeds me all week! I tried it with both curry and garam masala and prefer the former. My kids love it too! The fresh cilantro at the end is a MUST. It takes the flavors from good to great. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Amazing! I have a toddler who is very picky and he just ate two bowls of this stew! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Didn't make any changes and loved it "as-is." My husband normally has to have meat for dinner so I was leery if this would be hearty enough for him but it was and he loved it too. Will definitely make again. I will say that I love curry and this was light on curry flavor but I very much liked it that way. As others suggested I'm sure you could add more curry if your tastes prefer but I'd suggest trying the original before making modifications. I noticed a few mention "soupy" texture but ours was thick and lovely. I'm wondering if they used coconut water instead of coconut milk as that would make a huge difference. Also maybe they presoaked their lentils? The dried lentils soak up much of the liquid so it shouldn't be "soupy" at all. We used the lime and cilantro the recipe suggested maybe that made a flavor difference as well. I didn't find it bland I found it hearty with light curry flavor. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Delicious! I used garan masala to give it more flavour. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Very tasty. I decided early on to use an immersion blender and make it like a mulligatawny soup. I added lime juice and puréed and it was delicious. Also used vegetable stock instead of water. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Using other's suggestions as a guide we increased the curry spice to 3 tsp. For the liquid we added the coconut milk first then topped up the liquid with broth until it just covered the veggies. We cut our squash a bit bigger so we delayed adding the lentils so they wouldn't be completely mushy. We cooked it uncovered stirring occasionally topping up broth as needed to get a nice thick rich sauce. It was fantastic! Even my 8 year old who hates vegetarian and especially hates curry said it was "nummy" and finished his bowl! Great comfort food on a chilly fall night. Adding this one to regular rotation for sure. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I did not alter this recipe and it was really good. I poured it over the rice. The whole family enjoyed it. I d definitely make it again. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Wow! Doing the 1200 cal / day 14 day meal plan... made this the night before because I knew I wouldn t have time to cook the next day. Tasted Well today I had to eat it and I squeezed the lime on!! What a flavor boost! Yes...don t forget the lime! I could eat the whole thing which would greatly defeat the purpose for the meal plan but yum! I added a bit more salt to the recipe but I didn t change anything else. My house smells amazing and I could eat this everyday! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
I read the reviews and made some adjustments and I will definitely make this again. I added about a tablespoon of garam masala and also added about a teaspoon of curry powder. I added about 4 teaspoons of minced ginger (the kind from the tube) and a heaping tablespoon of jarred minced garlic. I used a fresh tomato and only added three cups of vegetable broth. At the end I only added half a can of regular coconut milk. I ate it as a soup to try it out and forgot to add the lime - it was good but nothing to rave about. Once I squeezed the lime juice in the flavor was amazing. Don't forget the lime! Read More
Rating: 3 stars
I checked out the reviews and added twice the amount of curry powder and ginger and was still left with a dinner without a whole lot of pop to it. I added some Greek yogurt to thicken it and added some hot pepper and it became tolerable. Not sure if I d make this again Read More
Rating: 5 stars
My husband and I loved this dish! I did however alter it quite a bit according to other reviews--I used vegetable stock (low sodium) instead of water since it sounded like the originally recipe is a bit watery/bland and I also over seasoned a ton. I doubled the salt and curry powder as well is added 4 extra oz. of butternut (simply because they only came in 12oz. packages). The end result was phenomenal and we feasted on the pot for a week! Enjoy:) Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Extremely good. I only used about 1/2 the liquid with no issues. I also gave it a strong simmer uncovered for 5 or 6 minutes after the coconut milk. Be aware this is canned coconut milk not the drinkable stuff in cartons so much thicker. I got a very nice thick consistency. Adjust the seasonings to your liking I added cayenne pepper and turmeric to my gara masala. Also don't skip the cilantro and lime and add other Asian style fresh herbs you might have on hand. (Mint basil) Read More
Rating: 1 stars
Following the 1200 calorie diet plan to the letter. Everything great so far till this. Not to my liking at all.. very thin broth.. not satisfying nor filling for me.. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
I made as is. The coconut milk smothers the spices. I had to double the salt and curry before it was acceptable. Thickness was fine. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Great BUT... This is great definitely one of the better curries I've made BUT you'll have to boil off about 30% of the liquid after the last step in this recipe. Budget an extra 20 min to evaporate the excess water. I would say cut the water in half but unfortunately I think its required in earlier steps in order to submerge all of the ingredients. Pros: Comforting savory Cons: Too much liquid Read More
Rating: 5 stars
make this! This turned out amazing! Made as written super warm filling Fall dish. I served it over brown rice; the lime & cilantro makes it. Pros: big batch warm healthy filling Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Use less coconut milk I'd recommend using only half a can of full fat coconut milk to balance the flavors and prevent it from becoming too coconut milky. Pros: Healthy and delicious Cons: Makes a huge batch Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Easy and delicious Made exactly as recipe calls for fresh tomatoes served as a first course and received rave reviews! Pros: Filling crowd pleaser meal in a bowl Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Wonderful and filling The only thing I changed was doubling the amount of the spices. Delicious think and filling. This will be a winter standby for me. Pros: Filling delicious and easy Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Delicious soup Excellent soup I did make some changes 1 tsp Garam masala plus the 2 tsp curry regular coconut milk and 1 can broth plus 2 cups water instead of 4 cups water came out great plenty of flavor so easy to make. Pros: Very easy to prepare Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Soothing and filling This soup is really beautiful and delicious. It needs I think a bit more salt but other than that it's very nice. I served it with whole wheat naan bread and a salad but it really didn't need the salad because it is a very filling soup. Don't forget to squeeze your lime wedges over the soup in the really has a nice impact! Read More
Rating: 2 stars
Too watery I don't know if I added too much water or what but I felt that it turned out too watery. Usually with a curry it is liquid but it still has some thickness to it and a ton of flavor. Mine was basically water and did not have the pop of flavor that I was hoping for even though the ingredients set up for a strongly flavored dish. I am wondering if I should use less water or more coconut milk onion ginger and curry to get the flavor I am looking for. Pros: Easy smells delicious very healthy Cons: watery Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Wonderful easy meal I loved this dish until I added the coconut milk. Then all of the wonderful ginger and curry flavors were lost. Next time I will leave it out completely or only add a splash. A whole can is over kill. It's still good but just tastes like coconut milk soup. Pros: Quick simple healthy and delicious Cons: doesn't need the coconut milk Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Very flavorful and every bit as beautiful as the photo! Cons: Could use a tad bit more salt. Read More