Monday, 16 April 2018

Squash, Sweet Potato and Spinach Dhansak

A delicious and healthy way to get your authentic curry fix using vegetables which just happen to be packed full of nutrients!

I always think there's nothing better than when you can eat a really tasty dinner, that you really enjoy, and BONUS - it's actually full of wonderfully healthy ingredients and good for you!

Even better if your children love it too and it's getting loads of healthy fresh vegetables down them and there are no complaints!

Well, what more can you ask? Well, I suppose you could want it to be vegetarian or vegan, gluten, dairy and nut free... well, it just so happens to be those things too - and good for a fast day as well, if you're looking for something low calorie...

,,,so what are you waiting for? Get in!!!

Serves four at 259 calories a portion. You could split into six more modest portions (e.g. as a side dish, or a lighter lunch, for 173 calories a portion). For a delicious fresh twist, why not serve with a helping of cachumber (Indian tomato, cucumber and onion salad with lime, spices and fresh coriander) for only 43 calories a portion - see here for my recipe. Serve with your choice of rice and/or flatbreads, or for a low calorie, low carb alternative, cauliflower 'rice'.


  • 600g total of butternut squash and sweet potato cut into 1.5-2cm cubes (If you don't want to prepare it yourself, you an cheat and use 2 x 300g ready prepared mix from Sainsbury's which is a 50/50 mix) [276]
  • Oil - 2 tsp, or 40 sprays of 2 calorie pure oil spray if you want to give your fingers a workout! [82]
  • 1/2 tbsp (7.5ml) ghee or coconut oil (for vegan) [62]
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds [22]
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds [18]
  • 2 medium onions, diced (200g) [82]
  • 2 small courgettes, or 1 medium (200g), cut into 1cm cubes [36]
  • 2 red chillies, finely diced (for a milder curry remove the seeds first) [7]
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes [100]
  • 1 x 410g tin green lentils in water, drained (265g drained, or cooked equivalent) [218]
  • Salt to taste
  • 250g fresh spinach (baby leaf is good) [75]
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander [5]


  • 1 tbsp ground coriander [18]
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin [24]
  • 1 tsp turmeric [7]
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds, crushed/ground [3]
  • 2-3 inch stick cinammon [-]

1. Before you start any other prep, pop the butternut squash and sweet potato tossed in the oil/oil spray into a preheated oven at gas mark 6 for 40-50 minutes until just starting to colour on some edges. Ideally use a deep roasting tin lined with non-stick baking paper, or similar, to stop it sticking. Meanwhile boil the kettle, and drain the lentils and roughly mash them, or pulse in a blender until mostly crushed (I used a small hand blender).

2. Put the spinach leaves into a metal colander, and carefully pour the boiling water over them until they've wilted. Set aside to drain until cool enough to handle, and then squeeze out excess moisture and chop up (as roughly or finely as you like, for adding to the curry) and set aside. Roughly chop the coriander and also set aside.

3. Heat the ghee/coconut oil in a large non-stick pan and add the cumin and mustard seeds until just starting to pop. Add the onions, and cook for a few minutes until just starting to colour, then add the courgettes and chillies and cook for a little longer.

4. Add the spice mix, and stir in, cooking out for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and lentils, and cook down for a few minutes, until the sauce has thickened.

5. Stir in the cooked squash and sweet potato and the chopped spinach and heat through thoroughly. Taste the curry for seasoning and add salt to taste (bearing in mind there is no salt or stock in there so far, depending on your tastes you may wish to add 1/2 tsp up to 1tsp or so).

6. Stir in the majority of coriander, and serve with rice, cauliflower rice or flatbreads, sprinkled with a little of the remaining coriander. Enjoy!

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