Coconut & squash dhansak

Coconut & squash dhansak

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(123 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 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.
17th Mar, 2019
Cooked this last night for 4. It was a revelation. Really delicious, easy to make and plenty to go round. I also roasted the butternut, (no microwave). This is a keeper. Fabulous.
18th Jan, 2019
Just made this and it was lovely. I used ‘mild curry paste’ after reading Korma was a bit bland and added Masala and Tumeric spice. I added toasted cashew nuts for texture and also added two chopped cloves of garlic. I roasted the squash for 40 mins in the oven first. I’m vegetarian but my family all said they didn’t mind not having meat as it was so tasty! 100% would make again!!
17th Jan, 2019
Roasted the squash as per previous comments and this was delish! Didn’t miss the meat at all - leftovers for freezer too. Definitely a keeper.
26th Sep, 2018
Fab! Followed previous comments and used balti paste, and also roasted the squash rather than microwave. Balti flavour was a great contrast to a big dollop of coconut yoghurt on top! Added cashew nuts (particularly good) and cherry tomatoes. Served with brown basmati rice - would have with garlic naan if it was a cheat day!
9th Jul, 2018
Was very nice but it was slightly more bland with korma paste so would recommend using a stinger flavour. Also used regular yogurt not coconut yogurt as not too keen on strong coconut flavour which was nice.
7th Mar, 2018
I’ve made this dish several times, and it is so yummy - rich, satisfying and delicious. I used a Balti curry paste rather than korma or tikka masala because it compared better in terms of fat and sugar content, plus I’m not at all a fan of sweet curry. I also used dried lentils instead of canned, and they fluffed up just fine. The only thing I don’t understand is the instruction to add coconut yoghurt to it at the end - why ruin a perfectly good curry by mixing your pudding into it?!
10th Feb, 2018
I'm not that keen on curry pastes but this was super quick and nice served with brown basmati. Used plain yoghurt and served with salad instead of adding spinach.


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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