Red Lentil Butternut Squash Curry
Check out this delicious recipe from Vegan Richa’s Instant Pot Cookbook: 150 Plant-Based Recipes from Indian Cuisine and Beyond, available on May 24th from Hachette Go.

With elements from South Indian cuisine, this rich and thick red lentil curry has a simple tempering of mustard seeds and is finished with creamy coconut milk. Garam masala and black pepper complement the creaminess of the coconut milk; you can adjust the spices to your preference for additional flavor as well as heat.
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time
  • 1tsp safflower or sunflower oil
  • 1/2tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 medium-size red onionfinely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 fresh ginger piecepeeled and finely chopped, 1-inch [2.5 cm]
  • 4 garlic clovesfinely chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 hot green chilesuch as serrano, finely chopped
  • 3/4tsp plus a pinch of saltor more to taste
  • 1/2tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2tsp garam masala or curry powder
  • 1/4tsp freshly ground black pepper or cayenne pepperor more to taste, or both
  • 1cups large tomatofinely chopped (about 1 1/4[225 g])
  • 3/4cup Water175 ml
  • 12oz uncooked butternut squash or pumpkinpeeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch (2 cm) cubes (3 cups), or use frozen, 340 g
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk14-ounce [400 g]
  • 1/3cup dried split red lentils(masoor dal)
  • 3 to 4 ozbaby spinach
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • red pepper flakes
  • freshly squeezed lime juice
  1. Preheat the Instant Pot by selecting the Sauté setting. Heat the oil in the preheated pot for a few seconds, then add the mustard seeds and leave for about 30 seconds, or until they start to splutter. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, chile, and a pinch of salt and cook until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in the turmeric, garam masala, and black pepper and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomato and 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the water and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the tomato is softened, about 2 minutes. Add the butternut squash, coconut milk, remaining 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and remaining 1/2 cup (120 ml) of water. Add the lentils to the pot, and give it a good stir to combine and scrape up any bits of tomato from the bottom of the pot. Select the Cancel setting.
  2. Lock the lid into place, set the Pressure Release Knob to Sealing, select the Pressure Cook/Manual setting at high pressure, and set the cook time to 3 minutes.
  3. Once the cooking cycle is done, carefully set the Pressure Release Knob from Sealing to Venting to quick release. Open the lid and fold in the spinach to wilt it. Taste for seasoning, adjusting if needed.
  4. Garnish with lime juice, red pepper flakes, and cilantro. Serve over rice or with vegan flatbread or fresh vegan dinner rolls.
Recipe Notes

Swap other hardy veggies, such as green beans, eggplant, winter squash, or opo squash for the butternut squash.
If you double the recipe, use 11/4 cups (295 ml) of water.
Use water instead of coconut milk for a less rich, more dal-like curry.

PER SERVING (no garnishes) Calories 212, total fat 10 g, saturated fat 7 g, sodium 506 mg, carbs 27 g, fiber 7 g, sugar 4 g, protein 7 g.