Butternut Squash Dahl

Dahl made from butternut squash in a bowl with a side of quinoa

This butternut squash dahl could be one of the best dahls I’ve ever had. Hands down. 

I know that’s a bold statement…and I wrote the recipe, so I squirm a bit even writing this but gosh it’s true! It’s delicious. Impressive. Easy. It has that “can you give me the recipe” effect.

It’s from Plant-Based Delicious, my new cookbook.

So, here’s the low down on book promotion. You get to pick which recipes you want to use for promo, social media, and sharing. 

And it’s a hard decision. 

Because a cookbook, in my mind, is a whole. It’s like Beyoncé’s Renaissance. One song, sure great! But listen to the whole album and you get an entirely different experience. It’s a vibe.

Clarification – I’m not comparing myself to Beyoncé (did I mention I was gifted tix to see her this summer….ohmagod). But I am saying that Plant-Based Delicious, in its entirety, brings you on a whole food journey and each recipe has its role. 

In the end, you have a cookbook that will change how you think about healthy, plant-based cooking and cuisine. I hope!

I believe it will inspire you to stand up and break out the apron and get your groove on in the kitchen (I totally encourage listening to Beyoncé while doing this!).

this is a bowl or cooked quinoa and creamy vegan dahl made with butternut squash and kale

Butternut Squash Dahl and Picking Your Favourite Recipe Baby! 

Naturally, I struggled to pick recipes for promotion. It’s like choosing your favourite child (not actually but you get it) while at the same time shining a spotlight on a small portion of your work to represent your entire catalogue. 

The truth is I have a varied audience even within this small plant-based corner of the culinary world. 

Some of you are like me and have autoimmune disease and want to learn how to cook and eat to help support your health, whatever it takes. 

Some of you are busy moms (also like me) trying to feed your family more health-supportive meals and want easy, one-pot, 30-minute meals (also me!). 

Some of you are seasoned plant-based home cooks and are craving more elevated, health-forward cuisine that can impress and add some excitement to the dinner table. Me, me, me!

And since the book is ultimately a reflection of me and where I am in life, I put all this in there.

When every marketing blog post and guru was telling me to hone in and “niche down” I just couldn’t!

Because ultimately I think you’re like me in that way too….you’re a little bit of everything and need variety and want options.

So I put it all in there:

Anti-inflammatory meals that offer peace of mind and nutrients!

Easy 1-pot and pan meals that feed the family (secretly) super-duper healthy food.

Beautiful gourmet meals that you’ll be proud to serve to anyone, vegan or not. 

While pondering which babies I’d pick, it occurred to me that this Butternut Squash Dahl with Cashew Milk and Kale checked every box! 


  • a healing meal that offers tons of plant-based protein and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
  • straight forward to make and can easily be added to the weeknight rotation. 
  • gorgeous, a little dignified and can be served to dinner guests or served as part of a fancy night in. 

Here's how to make this recipe!

With confidence and pride I can say that I love this dahl and I think you will too! 

Not only did I want to give you an early bird look into my cookbook but I also want to help you cook it! Cook along with me in the video above.  

I chat about all kinds of stuff plant-based, how this book is different from my first, and of course give you a peek into my own kitchen.

The only things I prepared before hitting the record button are soaking the cashews (I talk about how this is optional), dicing the onion, and peeled and chopping the squash (you’ll see more on why in the video). You can do these things too and then cook along with me!

What is Dahl (dal)? FYI

Dahl, also called dal, is a traditional Indian dish made from lentils that have been cooked with various spices and seasonings. It is a popular vegetarian and vegan option due to its high protein content and versatile flavour profile. Here we’re using masoor dahl or split red lentils.

In terms of health benefits, dahl is a great source of plant-based protein and fibre, which can aid in digestion and help maintain a healthy weight. Lentils are also rich in iron, folate, and other essential vitamins and minerals, making it a nutrient-dense food choice. 

You can purchase split red lentils in most grocery stores now and if you can’t find any, check out your local bulk food store or shop online. My favorite brand is Bob’s Red Mill but any will do!

Your Grocery list for this recipe

Whole black mustard seeds

Whole cumin seeds

Red onion

Sea salt


Ground coriander

Ground turmeric

Red pepper flakes

Ground cardamom

Black pepper

Butternut squash

Dried split red lentils

Canned diced tomatoes (1 x 15 ounce can)

Low-sodium vegetable stock (or water)

Raw cashews



Quinoa or brown rice (optional)

Butternut Squash Dahl with Cashew Milk and Kale

Author : Ashley Madden
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Servings: 4
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: butternut squash, dahl, oil-free, vegan
This dahl is from Plant-Based Delicious! My new cookbook all about making healthy taste delicious. It's easy, elegant, and absolutely delicious!




  • 1 tbsp (11 g) whole black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp (6 g) whole cumin seeds
  • 1 red onion diced
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes or to your preference
  • tsp ground cardamom
  • Several grinds of black pepper
  • 3 cups (400 g) cut butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1˝ (2.5-cm) chunks (see notes for sub)
  • 1 cup (190 g) dried split red lentils
  • 1 (15-oz [425-g]) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 ½ cups (830 ml) low-sodium vegetable stock, divided (or water)
  • ½ cup (70 g) raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 1 to 3 hours
  • 1 cup (67 g) finely chopped kale (optional)
  • Juice of ½ lime


  • Cooked brown rice quinoa or millet


  • In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, toast the mustard seeds and cumin over low to medium heat for 2 minutes, or until fragrant and they start to pop.
  • Add the onion, salt and ¼ cup (60 ml) of water (it will sizzle and spit), and sauté for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add more water, as needed, to prevent burning.
  • Add the garlic, coriander, turmeric, red pepper flakes, cardamom and black pepper and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the squash and stir to coat in the spices.
  • Now, pour in the red lentils, diced tomatoes and 2½ cups (590 ml) of the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to low, partially cover and simmer over low to medium heat for 25 minutes, or until the squash is falling apart and the lentils are very tender, even disintegrating into the broth.
  • Meanwhile, pour the remaining cup (240 ml) of vegetable stock into a blender. Drain the cashews, discarding the soaking liquid, add to the blender and blend until completely smooth.
  • Once the lentils and squash are cooked, remove the cover and pour in the veggie cashew milk. Add the kale (if using). Simmer over low heat for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until thickened and the kale is bright green. Add the lime juice, then taste and reseason with salt and pepper, as needed. Spoon into bowls and serve on its own or with just-cooked whole grains.


If you don't have butternut squash, you can use an equal amount of peeled sweet potato or other winter squash.
Keyword butternut squash, dahl, oil-free, vegan
Did you make this recipe? Tag @riseshinecook on Instagram or hashtag it #riseshinecook


  1. Reply

    Maureen Scott

    April 6, 2023

    Looking forward to your new book! Your first one got me thru the pandemic! I would read it at night to calm me. You are an inspiration and hope others learn about your cooking and personal medical journey. I am in medicine and appreciate your journey.

    • Reply

      Ashley Madden

      April 6, 2023

      Oh thank you so much Maureen. What a lovely message. I appreciate you taking to time to share this, makes my day 🙂


  2. Reply


    April 6, 2023

    What is a good substitute when butternut squash is out of season? Canned pumpkin, sweet potatoes?

    • Reply

      Ashley Madden

      April 6, 2023

      Great question Paulette. I would use an equal amount of sweet potato (peeled). I talk about this in the video as well but I’ll make a note in the recipe!


  3. Reply


    April 7, 2023

    Looks delicious! I can’t wait to make it.

    I am for sure ordering your book. I received your first one for Christmas and loved it.

    • Reply

      Ashley Madden

      April 7, 2023

      Thank you Sandy! I hope you enjoy it, let me know how it turns out 🙂


  4. Reply


    April 24, 2023

    LOVED your video! I’m looking forward to making the dahl! I’m sure it won’t disappoint. I have your first book and absolutely love it. It is my main go-to for anything plant-based. Everything I’ve made from it tastes great. I’ve ordered your new cookbook and look forward to trying those recipes.

    • Reply

      Ashley Madden

      April 24, 2023

      Thank you so much Kristin. I’m so happy you love The Plant-Based Cookbook 🙂 I hope you love Plant-Based Delicious too! Thanks for sharing 🙂


  5. Reply


    May 10, 2023

    Just have to say, absolutely delicious and easy to make.

    • Reply

      Ashley Madden

      May 10, 2023

      Thank you for the feedback Sharon! I’m so glad you enjoyed it 🙂


  6. Reply


    June 13, 2023

    Hi Ashley
    I too am a pharmacy graduate from MUN ‘93. I did the program with the doctors in NL as well. Type II diabetes was my motivation. Yours is a wonderful and inspiring journey.
    I made your Dahl this evening with a few minor modifications as I did not have exactly the ingredients required. Both my husband and myself loved it.
    I have your first cookbook and have enjoyed the recipes I have made from it. I plan on getting your new cookbook as well.
    Keep up the great work! I look forward to more things to come from you.

    Together in the pursuit of health

    • Reply

      Ashley Madden

      June 13, 2023

      Thank you so much Beverly! I’m so happy to be in this pursuit together 🙂


  7. Reply


    February 16, 2024

    Can I replace cashews with another nut?

    • Reply

      Ashley Madden

      February 16, 2024

      Yes you can! You can use almonds, I’d soak them for 6 hours and drain before using. You can also use macadamia or Brazil nuts. Same amount and process. I hope this helps!


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