Quick Sautéed Butternut with Red Lentils


Quick Sautéed Butternut with Red Lentils 

Working with my friend Cameron, a UGA nutritional medicine major student who makes short nutrition and food Instagram videos, I figured on bringing together two of my favorite healthy ingredients. Not only did they pair particularly well, but the resulting dish seemed fully seasonal as the weather cools down. 

As cooked lentils sit, they get thicker in texture. So this dish can either be a side vegetable dish with a meat or other protein, or if diluted can be a soup or stew. This time because of Cameron’s audience, I made the dish completely plant-based, using olive oil for the sautéing. But half olive oil half butter is luscious too. 

Split red lentils (sometimes known as Egyptian lentils) are readily available at supermarkets, Indian stores (Masoor Dal), health or whole food stores, or Ethiopian stores (Misir). 

The recipe serves six as a side dish in a dinner, or if diluted with more water can be a stew or soup.


2 cups split red lentils

4 cups of water, plus more as needed

3 cups 1/2-inch cubed butternut squash (peeled and seeded), about 1 pound

1 small onion, finely diced

1/2 cup olive oil or 1/4 each olive oil and butter

1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Small pinch ground cinnamon

Finely minced parsley for garnish


Rinse the lentils in a pot, draining off most of the water. Add the 4 cups water, and bring the pot to a slow boil, stirring frequently. Add water as needed to keep the mixture soupy. Red lentils break down and become pale yellow colored and tender in 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and seed the butternut and cut it into 1/2-inch cubes. (Measure it you as
you cut it, and keep the remainder of butternut for another use.) Peel and finely dice the onion.
Heat a frying pan. Add the oil (plus butter if used) and the onion. Fry until onion begins
to soften, Then add the cut butternut and part of the salt, all the pepper and cinnamon.
Stir and fry over low heat, until butternut becomes tender, 10-15 minutes.
When both lentils and butternut are tender, combine them in the lentil pot. Add water as
needed to the desired level of thickness – moderately thick for a side vegetable dish,
soupy for a soup or stew. Add salt as needed to the desired taste. Simmer a few minutes
and remove from the heat. Taste one final time and add a little salt if needed.
Sprinkle with a little finely minced parsley when serving.

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