Coconut & squash dhansak

Coconut & squash dhansak

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(207 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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4th Feb, 2020
Great recipe, tasted amazing and really filling. Added a red pepper and a few spring onions but they really weren't needed.
JoolesO's picture
22nd Jan, 2020
Tasty , easy and filling . Healthy with lentils . Really enjoyed cooking this for a midweek dinner . Will defiantly cook again ...
büşra Sert's picture
büşra Sert
7th Jan, 2020
Just cooked this today, tastes very good. I roasted butternut instead of microwave. To me, it is healthier. Thanks for the recipe.
20th Nov, 2019
This is really nice and so so easy too. I use normal onions and usually just chuck the squash in to cook in the sauce when I add the tomatoes and coconut milk. Works every time and is full of flavour!
Martin Thomas's picture
Martin Thomas
31st Oct, 2019
Really good, filling, autumnal comfort food. I used tikka masala paste, didn't bother with the coconut yogurt and added ground cumin, coriander, turmeric and garam masala to the sauce to give it a bit of welly. Absolutely delicious.
30th Oct, 2019
Really nice recipe. A little bit different from the usual veggie thing. Also super easy and fairly quick. I boiled up 150g of dried green lentils as I couldn't find tinned.
Malinda Davies's picture
Malinda Davies
21st Oct, 2019
I googled easy vegetarian recipes and this is NOT easy. I followed the recipe by cooking 400g of dry lentils and they turned out very mushy and stuck to the wall. Upon mixing with the curry, a paste was formed, only edible as a pancake. WET WET WET
30th Oct, 2019
It's not really fair to blame a recipe for cooking it badly. I also cooked the lentils from dry and the result was lovely. Also, 400g of dry lentils for this recipe is about 250g too much.
30th Oct, 2019
You likely overcooked the lentils, since they disintegrated into a paste. That's not the fault of the recipe.
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


13th May, 2020
Hi would coconut milk work instead of coconut yoghurt? Trying to work with what is in the cupboard :)
lulu_grimes's picture
15th May, 2020
Hi, The yogurt is to add body and creaminess so you could add more coconut milk for flavour but you won't get the same 'body' for it. If you eat dairy then you could add a dollop of ordinary yogurt to serve. Also, if you let you coconut milk tin stand somewhere cold the fat should all rise to the top and make a thicker layer of cream, open it carefully and you can spoon it off. I hope this helps. Lulu
30th Mar, 2020
After you've added the tomatoes and coconut milk are you supposed to bring the sauce to a boil first and then simmer for 10 minutes or just simmer straight away?
Barney Good Food's picture
Barney Good Food
1st Apr, 2020
Hi Kooky, Just bring to the simmer and then simmer for 10 mins. Thanks
Socky7's picture
16th Feb, 2020
How would this recipe work in the slow cooker? Thanks!
CassieBest's picture
17th Feb, 2020
Hi Socky7, You could adapt this to work in a slow cooker, but we'd recommend using dried lentil. Have a look at our Slow cooker recipe collections for more ideas - Cassie (Senior Food Editor, BBC Good Food)
13th Jan, 2020
Does the calorie figure include the mini naan? Thanks
lulu_grimes's picture
14th Jan, 2020
Hello, Not the naan doesn't figure in the nutrition as it is to serve and not a specified amount. I hope this helps.
14th Jan, 2020
Great, thanks
24th Sep, 2015
What kind of tinned lentils should be used or what type and weight of dried lentils?


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