Dhal (Lentil Soup) with Pumpkin and Coconut Milk

I actually had to bake this soup in an oven proof baking dishes since the gas on my stove finished, just in the middle of my cooking! I panicked a little since I was having guests over but I thought...well the only thing the soup needs is heat and I  have an electric oven right? So I poured the soup in lots of oven proof baking dishes and continued cooking. The soup came out wonderful actually and although I wouldn't recommend this method, it is fine when in a crisis!

I am very fond of Indian dhals since they are often mild, very filling and this one has a slightly sweet finish. Pumpkins are full of vitamin C and lentils are packed with fibre, iron, protein, folate, magnesium and more and are excellent for our heart. Pumpkins are usually around in November so don't miss the chance to buy a fresh, organic one if available. I love making this soup late November when there is sleet on the windows, and a hurricane force gale outside (very typical November day in Iceland).

You will need a food processor or a blender/hand blender to make this recipe.


A mild and filling soup, perfect for the whole family

This recipe is:

  • Egg free
  • Gluten free
  • Lactose (dairy) free
  • Nut free
  • Vegan

Dhal (Lentil Soup) with Pumpkin and Coconut Milk

Serves 3-4


  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped finely
  • 1 small piece (equal to a small grape) fresh ginger, chopped finely
  • 1 chilli (red), chopped finely
  • 2 onions, chopped finely
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon agave nectar (or raw cane sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (Himalaya or sea salt) or 1 yeast free vegetable stock cube
  • 500 grams (17½ oz) pumpkin or winter squash. Weight is measured before peeling
  • 200 grams (7 oz) lentils (brown)
  • 1 litre (34 fluid oz) water
  • 400 millilitres (24 fluid oz) coconut milk


  1. Crush 2 garlic cloves.
  2. Peel the small piece of ginger (the skin is very thin, you can scrape it off with a teaspoon or a small knife) and chop finely.
  3. Slice the chilli in halves, scoop out the seeds and membranes and chop finely.
  4. Chop the 2 onions and 2 celery stalks finely.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in large a saucepan.
  6. Add the chopped onion and fry for 5 minutes or until fragrant. Add a couple of tablespoons water if needed.
  7. Add 1 cinnamon stick, 2 cloves, 2 crushed garlic cloves, chopped ginger, chopped chilli and chopped celery. Heat for 5 minutes or until very fragrant. The aroma should be spicy and delicious.
  8. Wash lentils in a big bowl. Drain with a sieve.
  9. Add 1 tablespoon tomato puree into the saucepan and the washed lentils and turn the heat up.
  10. Add 1 litre water. Boil for 10 minutes. There will be some foam on top of the soup, remove with a large wooden spoon.
  11. Add 1 teaspoon salt and if you feel the soup needs extra taste, add the vegetable stock cube into the soup.
  12. Turn the heat down to low and allow the soup to simmer for 1 hour or until the lentils have become quite soft.
  13. While the soup is cooking prepare the 500 grams pumpkin or squash.
  14. Peel the pumpkin or squash, scoop out the seeds and cut into 1-2 centimetre (0,4-0,8 inches) pieces. Put into a saucepan along with the ½ teaspoon agave nectar and ½ teaspoon nutmeg.
  15. Add the 400 millilitres coconut milk and turn the heat up. Allow to simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the pumpkin pieces are quite soft.
  16. Blend the pumpkin pieces with a hand blender or in a food processor.
  17. The 2 cloves and 1 cinnamon stick should be removed at this stage but don't worry if you can't find it, just be careful not to bite into the clove as it has quite a strong taste.
  18. Now the lentils should be cooked. Blend for 5-10 seconds with a hand blender for a smooth texture.
  19. Pour the pumpkin mix into the lentil soup. Turn the heat up and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. You can also pour the lentil soup into bowls and the pumpkin mix on top.


  • Serve with chapati bread.
  • The soup is even better the next day once the flavours have really settled. Pour the soup into plastic containers and re-heat the next day.
  • For a thinner soup add more water.     
  • If the coconut oil is cold (in which case it becomes solid), place the jar in a bowl filled with hot water for a couple of minutes.         
  • You can use regular stock cubes instead of yeast free ones.
  • You can use chicken stock instead of vegetable stock.     
  • The soup can be frozen and reheated later. 
  • You can use butternut squash instead of winter squash or pumpkin.