Coconut & squash dhansak

Coconut & squash dhansak

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(145 ratings)

Prep: 5 mins Cook: 15 mins


Serves 4
This quick and easy vegetarian curry is perfect for a healthy weeknight dinner - with butternut squash, coconut milk, lentils and spinach

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal320
  • fat17g
  • saturates9g
  • carbs29g
  • sugars17g
  • fibre7g
  • protein9g
  • salt1g
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  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 500g butternut squash (about 1 small squash), peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks (or buy a pack of ready-prepared to save time), see tip, below left
  • 100g frozen chopped onions



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 4 heaped tbsp mild curry paste (we used korma)
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 400g can light coconut milk
    Coconut milk in a glass, with half a coconut

    Coconut milk

    ko-ko-nut mill-k

    Coconut milk is not the slightly opaque liquid that flows from a freshly opened coconut –…

  • mini naan bread, to serve
  • 400g can lentils, drained



    The lentil plant (Lens Culinaris) originates from Asia and North Africa and is one of our oldest…

  • 200g bag baby spinach
  • 150ml coconut yogurt (we used Rachel’s Organic), plus extra to serve



    Yogurt is made by adding a number of types of harmless bacteria to milk, causing it to ferment.…


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Put the squash in a bowl with a splash of water. Cover with cling film and microwave on High for 10 mins or until tender. Meanwhile, add the onions to the hot oil and cook for a few mins until soft. Add the curry paste, tomatoes and coconut milk, and simmer for 10 mins until thickened to a rich sauce.

  2. Warm the naan breads in a low oven or in the toaster. Drain any liquid from the squash, then add to the sauce with the lentils, spinach and some seasoning. Simmer for a further 2-3 mins to wilt the spinach, then stir in the coconut yogurt. Serve with the warm naan and a dollop of extra yogurt.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Tonya Kirwan's picture
Tonya Kirwan
3rd Oct, 2019
I love this recipe! So easy to make. I pair it with basmati rice but it would be perfect with couscous also
Charla Heeney's picture
Charla Heeney
25th Sep, 2019
I saw this recipe and thought it sounded great for a healthy meal idea. However, despite the nutritional information saying it is 320kcal per portion, it actually works out as roughly 599kcal per portion. A few calories off could be excused, but this information is wildly incorrect, and is very misleading.
24th Sep, 2019
Oh my, this is delicious. I added a few extra fragrant spices rather than the curry past. Garam Masala, Turmeric, Cumin, ground coriander, mustard seeds and the like. Just beautiful, especially with the coconut yogurt. I also used coconut oil to cook it in, which added a creamier texture and an extra coconut boost. Yum, and with the butternut squash being done in the microwave while the rest was in the pot cooking, this literally took me about ten-fifteen minutes. Kids gobbled it up too, so all good.
18th Sep, 2019
I've just cooked this for my son who's just become vegetarian and he absolutely loved it. I used a korma paste as I had it in the cupboard but will probably try a stronger one next time. It's a great recipe on it's own or one that you can add to. 5 stars from me!
Rachel Upton's picture
Rachel Upton
29th Aug, 2019
Fantasic curry, we make it time and time again
Nicholas Santrucek's picture
Nicholas Santrucek
14th Aug, 2019
Really great dish. Added in prawns (read in a comment) and worked nicely! Super quick and easy.
21st Jul, 2019
I really liked this- I used Tikka Masala paste. I followed the recipe closely (I used one large fresh onion); and when I tasted it just before I added the yoghurt, it was really tasty. It was still nice with the yoghurt, but I'm not sure it really benefitted the dish, so I may try it without the yoghurt next time and used full fat coconut milk. Definitely one to experiment with.
4th Jun, 2019
Braw. Added frozen peas. P
1st Jun, 2019
I love this recipe. I couldn’t find any coconut yoghurt but natural or Greek works well. I added prawns also.
Tom Leather
17th Apr, 2019
Delicious. After reading the comments, I made a few changes to the recipe though: - Balti paste instead of korma paste (I don't like too much spice, but this made it about the level of a shop-bought tikka masala, which is fine for me). - Roast the butternut squash in the oven. - Add baby sweetcorn. I added it when I put in the tomato and coconut milk. It'll cook in the sauce but will still be nice and crunchy at the end, so it provides a good contrast in texture. - One fresh onion instead of the frozen onion. I also added a clove of crushed garlic. I've seen some other comments questioning whether to add the coconut yogurt. I was reticent as well, because the yogurt is a bit sweet and it seemed odd to add something so sweet to a curry, but actually it was delicious. You won't notice the sweetness once it's in the strong curry sauce, and it really rounds out the flavours.


24th Sep, 2015
What kind of tinned lentils should be used or what type and weight of dried lentils?
11th Jun, 2016
I used tinned green lentils, as it was all the supermarket had at the time. Otherwise I'd say about 150g of dried lentils would do the same job.
20th Nov, 2014
Just about to make this for myself and my daughter. Can you tell me, does it freeze? Thanks
B Hunt
12th Jul, 2015
Yes, I eat one portion and freeze the rest usually... never had an issues.
goodfoodteam's picture
5th Dec, 2014
Hi there, thanks for your question. For best results this shouldn't be frozen, it is made with light coconut milk so may split once defrosted. This will only affect the appearance not the taste so if you don't mind that then you can freeze it.
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