Pumpkin Dahl Soup

winter warmer


A big, comforting, fragrant bowl of dhal on a wintery day is always a treat. This one, made with seasonal pumpkin (autumn), gently spiced with some health-boosting turmeric, is topped with delicious caramelised onions and so is my autumn go to staple. The red lentils provide some protein, fibre and essential nutrients – all of which are beneficial for our digestive health so not only is this soup comforting and filling, but deliciously good for us too.

serves 4


For the dahl
250g red lentils
1 small pumpkin (400-600g), peeled and diced (you could use squash as an alternative)
thumb sized piece ginger (20g), peeled and grated
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small hot green chili, whole
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
juice of 1 lemon

For the topping
1 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
1.5 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp turmeric
2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
½ tsp salt
large bunch of coriander, (50g), including stalks, all finely chopped


Wash the lentils in a colander until the water runs clear, then place into a large saucepan with the diced pumpkin. Cover with 1.8L of water, or enough to cover the lentils plus an extra 6cm.

Bring to the boil, skimming off any scum from the top. Lower the heat, then add the ginger, garlic, whole chili, turmeric and salt, simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the pumpkin is breaking up and the lentils are soft.

Whilst the dhal is cooking, heat the ghee or coconut oil in a heavy bottom frying pan. Add the mustard and cumin seeds, cooking for a minute or so, until they begin to pop. Add the turmeric, onion slices and salt, turn down the heat, and gently cook the onions for 12-15 minutes, until they are dark and caramelized. Remove from the heat.

Once your dhal mix is cooked, find and remove the whole chili. Add the lemon juice.

If it is looking a bit too thick for your liking, add a splash more water. Taste for seasoning. I sometimes also give it a quick whisk to get it really creamy.

To serve, stir most of the caramelised onions and chopped coriander through the dhal, saving a little back to garnish the top with.

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