Food / 24 January, 2024 / My Baba

Slow-Cooker Golden Dhal

A hearty bowl of dhal is the ultimate winter warmer – it’s comforting and nourishing at the same time. Feel free to add any veggies that you have to hand, and serve with warm naan for scooping. This slow-cooker golden dhal will be a family favourite!



  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 1 small butternut squash, cubed (about 500g peeled weight)
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 30g root ginger, grated
  • 1½ tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 300g dried red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 ltr hot vegan stock (made with 2 stock cubes) – use gluten-free if required
  • 100g young spinach

To Serve

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 5g fresh curry leaves
  • dairy-free natural yogurt
  • naan bread – use gluten-free and vegan if required

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Heat the oil in a frying pan, and fry the onion and squash with a pinch of salt for 6-8 minutes, until the onion has softened. Add the garlic and ginger, and continue cooking for a minute, then stir in the spices and chilli flakes. Transfer to a slow cooker (see below if cooking on the hob instead). Add the chopped tomatoes, red lentils and stock, and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for around 3½ hours, until the squash and lentils are tender and the dhal is still soupy. Add the spinach and allow to wilt. Season well to taste.
To finish, heat the oil in a small frying pan until very hot. Reduce the heat and add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Fry for a few seconds until the seeds start to crackle and the curry leaves crisp up. Remove from the heat and spoon the spiced oil over the dhal. Serve drizzled with yogurt and with warm naan bread on the side.

How to cook on the hob

Use a large, lidded pan, adding the tomatoes, lentils and stock (increase the amount to 1.2 litres) once the onion-spice mixture is cooked, and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer gently for 25 minutes or until the squash is soft and the lentils have a soupy consistency. Add the spinach and allow to wilt. Season well to taste and finish with the spiced oil as above.

How to store

The dhal keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days, or can be frozen; add a splash of water when reheating. You can also turn leftovers into a soup, simply by adding extra vegetable stock until you get your desired consistency.

Slow Cooker Golder Dahl recipe by Sarah Akhurst, Sainsbury’s Magazine

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