Pumpkin, silverbeet and red lentil dal

Pumpkin, silverbeet and red lentil dal

Taste of Australia
20 mins
Cooking time
30 mins
Stuart Scott

Another delightful recipe from the Italian mammas, Paola Cocchis and Luisa Lacota, who run the school canteen at the Sophia Mundi Steiner School in Melbourne, providing fresh healthy organic meals for the children. They tell me, ‘this is quite a popular dish in the canteen and it’s such a joy to see the bowls returned empty [and the children] with happy faces and full tummies!’ There’s no chilli in this so it is very approachable for anyone. However, feel free to add some chilli if you like!


Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 brown onion
1 carrot
3cm piece fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves
1 bunch fresh coriander
60ml sunflower oil
150g pumpkin, cut into 2 cm cubes
250g red lentils
450g chopped fresh tomatoes
405ml coconut milk
375ml water
2 stalks silverbeet or english spinach, shredded
2 limes, juiced
thick greek-style yoghurt, to serve (optional)
pappadams, to serve (optional)
steamed brown rice, to serve (optional)


  1. Grind the mustard and cumin seeds together, using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, and mix with the other spices. Set aside.
  2. Place the onion, carrot, ginger, garlic and one-third of the bunch of coriander (reserve the rest to chop for garnish) into the food processor and process until very finely chopped, almost paste-like.
  3. Warm the oil in a large frying pan with high sides and add the carrot and onion mix and the spices. Sauté until the spices are aromatic and the mixture is drying a little. Add the pumpkin, lentils, tomatoes, coconut milk and water and bring to a simmer. Cover and stir gently, occasionally, to prevent sticking. Cook for approximately 20 minutes. Stir through the silverbeet and lime juice and cook for another 10 minutes or until the pumpkin and lentils are tender.
  4. To develop the flavours and allow the dal to thicken, let it sit for about 30 minutes before serving.
  5. Serve the dal with a dollop of yoghurt, a crunchy pappadam, a sprinkling of fresh coriander and some steamed brown rice, if desired.


  • Without chilli a viognier will do the trick; with chilli, go for a pinot noir.
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