Autumn Dhal Recipe
Autumn is definitely here now. The clocks have changed, meaning dark evenings and there’s a chill in the air! This time of year often heralds the arrival of comfort food dishes.
Everyone has a favourite comfort food dish, but it’s usually characterised by something warm and filling, that brings a sense of being cosy and snug. Your favourite dish might be something that reminds you of your childhood and that brings back nostalgic memories, or is linked to a particular festival or celebration.
Comfort food can also come from other cultures, and dhal is definitely one of my favourite foods at this time of year. The combination of warming spices and the thick texture are so satisfying! It also goes to show that comfort food doesn’t have to be unhealthy. This recipe contains lots of veg and the lentils mean that it is high in fibre (great for good gut health) and is a source of plant protein. I make a big batch of this as it freezes really well too, so is great to bring out when you can’t be bothered to cook.
This makes a meal in itself and is nice topped with a spoonful of natural yogurt. You could also try it with a poached egg or as a side dish to a piece of tandoori chicken or fish.
Ingredients (serves 6):
- 500g butternut squash (peeled weight)
- Olive oil
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- Thumb sized piece of ginger
- 300g dried red lentils
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 red chilli (optional)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Peel the butternut squash and dice into 2cm cubes. Drizzle with a little olive oil and roast in the oven at 175 degrees for about 30 mins until tender.
- Heat 1tbsp oil in a large pan and add the onions. Cook on a low heat until the onions are softened and translucent
- Add the garlic and grate in the ginger. Cook for another couple of minutes
- Add the lentils, turmeric, tomatoes and 1 litre of water. Give it a good stir, bring to the boil then turn down to simmer.
- Cook for about 25 mins stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender.
- Add the butter nut squash and cook for a further 5 mins.
- Meanwhile, heat another tbsp oil in a small pan and add the seeds and the chilli (if using). Sizzle for a minute or so until fragrant and then stir into the dhal along with the lemon juice. Season to taste.