Pumpkin Dal, or Squash Dal, is a simple yet flavorful dish perfect for a cozy weeknight meal. It’s made with creamy pumpkin, protein-rich lentils, and fragrant spices. Serve it with aromatic basmati rice or roti for a satisfying meal.

Pumpkin Dal in white bowl
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This quick and easy pumpkin dal is a variation of my Spinach Dal recipe, which is very popular. This pumpkin dal is perfect for a cozy fall or winter meal. The pumpkin’s creamy texture adds a sweetness to balance the earthy lentils. Plus, the lentil protein makes this a satisfying and nutritious meal option.

This one-pot recipe is made in the instant pot and can also be made easily on the stovetop. This is also an allergy-friendly, vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free recipe.

While pumpkin is a classic choice, you can experiment with different winter squashes. Each squash will bring a unique flavor and texture to the dish.

If you have lots of pumpkins, try this pumpkin paratha, pumpkin rice, and almond flour pumpkin muffins.

Watch How to Make Pumpkin Dal

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Split Pigeon Peas (Toor Dal): It is the base of the dal and provides a nutty flavor and creamy texture. You can also use red lentils to make this dal.
  • Ghee: Adds a nutty richness.
  • Cumin Seeds, Asafoetida, and Curry Leaves: These aromatic spices create the warming base of the dish.
  • Green Chili Pepper: It is optional, but I highly recommend it because it adds flavor and heat to the dal. Use Thai, birdseye, or Serrano peppers.
  • Onion:  I used yellow onions, but you can use red onions if you like.
  • Ginger: Grate some ginger to add a subtle warmth and depth of flavor to the dal.
  • Tomato: Add a tangy and slightly sweet flavor. 
  • Spices: You’ll need salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and coriander powder.
  • Pumpkin: Cubed and ready to become creamy goodness. You can also make this dal with butternut squash.
  • Lime: A squeeze of citrus brightens the flavors.
  • Cilantro Leaves: Gives a fresh pop of color and taste.

How to make Pumpkin Dal?

  • Start the Instant Pot in SAUTE mode and heat oil. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida, and curry leaves. Saute for 30 seconds.
  • Then add green chili, onions, and ginger. Saute for 3 minutes until the onions are translucent.
Add onions and ginger in the instant pot
  • Add chopped tomatoes and spices. Stir well and saute for a couple of minutes.
added spices into the instant pot
  • Add washed dal, cubed pumpkin, and water. Give it all a good stir.
ready to cook pumpkin dal into the instant pot
  • Close the Instant Pot lid with the vent in the sealing position. Press MANUAL or Pressure Cook mode for 5 minutes.
  • After the Instant Pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then release the pressure manually (10-minute NPR) and open the lid.
cooked Pumpkin dal in instant pot
  • Add lime juice and garnish with cilantro leaves.
  • Serve hot over rice or with your favorite bread.
Pumpkin dal in Instant pot with laddle

Stovetop method

  • Heat ghee or oil in a pan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida, and curry leaves. Saute for 30 seconds until aromatic.
  • Add green chili, onions, and ginger. Saute for 3 minutes until the onions turn translucent.
  • Stir in chopped tomatoes and spices. Cook for a couple of minutes until the tomatoes are soft.
  • Add washed dal, cubed pumpkin, and water. Mix well and bring it to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the dal and pumpkin are cooked through. Stir at regular intervals. If the dal seems too thick, add 1/2-1 cup of water as needed to adjust consistency.
  • Once done, stir in lime juice and garnish with cilantro leaves.
  • Serve hot with rice or your favorite bread.
Pumpkin Squash Dal with rice in a plate

Pro-Tips & Variations

Make it Vegan: Replace ghee with your favorite plant-based oil to make this recipe vegan.

Add Greens: You can add spinach, kale, or fenugreek leaves (methi) at the end after pressure cooking if you like. 

Consistency: I left the pumpkins as pieces after the dal was cooked. If you prefer a mashed consistency, you can whisk it all up for a smoother consistency. 

Other squash or veggies: I used pumpkin, but any other squash will work as well. My favorite is butternut squash. You can also replace pumpkin with zucchini in this recipe.

Coconut Pumpkin Dal Variation: Add 1/2 cup of coconut milk at the end to make this a creamier coconut pumpkin dal.

How to Store Leftover Dal?

Leftover Pumpkin Dal can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.

How to Serve Pumpkin Dal?

Pumpkin Dal is traditionally served over rice, but it can also be enjoyed with roti, naan, or any other flatbread.

We love to serve this dal with cucumber raita and kachumber salad.

More Dal Recipes

5 from 2 votes

Pumpkin Dal

Pumpkin Dal, or Squash Dal, is a simple yet flavorful dish that's perfect for a cozy weeknight meal. Made with fragrant spices, creamy pumpkin, and protein-rich lentils. Serve it with rice or naan bread.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

Spices

Instructions 

Instant Pot Method

  • Start the instant pot in SAUTE mode and heat the oil in it. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida, and curry leaves. Saute for 30 seconds until the cumin changes color.
  • Then add green chili, onions, and ginger. Saute for 3 minutes until the onion is translucent.
  • Add chopped tomato and spices. Stir well and saute for couple of minutes.
  • Add the dal, cubed pumpkin, and water. Give it all a good stir.
  • Press CANCEL and close the instant pot lid with the vent in the sealing position. Press MANUAL or Pressure Cook mode for 5 minutes.
  • After the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then release the pressure manually (10-minute NPR). Open the lid.
  • Add lime juice and garnish with cilantro leaves. Pumpkin Dal is ready. Serve over rice.

Stovetop Pressure Cooker Method

  • Heat oil in the pressure cooker on a medium-high flame. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida, and curry leaves. Saute for 30 seconds until the cumin changes color.
  • Then add green chili, onions, and ginger. Saute for 2-3 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add chopped tomato and spices. Stir well and cook for 2 minutes. Add the dal, cubed pumpkin, and water. Give it all a good stir.
  • Cover the lid, turn the heat on high flame and pressure cook it until your hear two whistles. Turn off heat and let the pressure release naturally. 
  • Open the lid. Add lime juice and garnish with cilantro leaves. Pumpkin Dal is ready. Serve over rice.

Video

Notes

Make it Vegan: Replace ghee with your favorite plant-based oil to make this recipe vegan.
Green Chili Pepper: It is optional, but I highly recommend it because it adds flavor and heat to the dal. Use Thai, birdseye, or Serrano peppers.
Add Greens: You can add spinach, kale, or fenugreek leaves (methi) at the end after pressure cooking if you like. 
Consistency: I left the pumpkins as pieces after the dal was cooked. If you prefer a mashed consistency, you can whisk it all up for a smoother consistency. 
Other squash or veggies: I used pumpkin, but any other squash will work too. You can also replace pumpkin with zucchini in this recipe.
Coconut Pumpkin Dal Variation: Add 1/2 cup of coconut milk at the end to make this a creamier coconut pumpkin dal.

Nutrition

Calories: 239kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 14gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 638mgPotassium: 775mgFiber: 16gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 5364IUVitamin C: 65mgCalcium: 67mgIron: 5mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten-free, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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