Gingery Squash and Lentils with Shallot Yogurt


Any squash will work here, though heartier versions like Kabocha, Delicata, and Red Kuri will withstand the time spent braising while holding their shape. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, the charred date topping may not be a necessary addition for you, but I really like the pop of sweetness. Charring them brings out what are almost toasted marshmallow-y flavors, which might sound weird, but really hit the spot. Do you!

Active Time: 40 Mins

Total Time: 1 hr



  • 3 lbs kabocha or delicata squash
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 bunch cilantro


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup Gochujang
  • 3 cups chicken or veg broth
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup pickled ginger
  • 5 large Medjoul dates
  • ¾ cup black beluga or brown lentils


  • 1 cup whole milk yogurt

1. Do some prep:

  • Cut a 3-pound kabocha squash in half through the root. Scoop out and discard any seeds, then cut the squash into 2” wedges.
  • Very firmly smash 8 cloves of garlic enough to expose its innards. Discard the skins.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together ¼ cup gochujang, 3 cups chicken stock, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, ¼ cup pickled ginger, and 1 tsp salt.

2. Sear and simmer:

  • Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, and arrange the squash in a single layer (you may need to cook in 2 batches) Cook until deeply caramelized on both sides, flipping once, 4-6 minutes each side. Repeat until all squash is caramelized, transferring the squash to a plate as it's finished.
  • Add 5 dates (pits and all!) to the pot and cook until charred and crisp all over, turning once, about 90 seconds. Set those aside for later.
  • Add the garlic and gochujang liquid. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once the liquid simmers, stir in ¾ cup lentils. Return the squash to the pot, nestling it into the lentils. Cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to very low to maintain a simmer (check periodically to be sure it’s maintaining a gentle simmer) until the lentils are tender, 20-40 minutes depending on the variety. You may need to add a splash more of stock or water as needed to keep the lentils just submerged.

3. Meanwhile, make the shallot yog:

  • Finely chop the shallot and stir into 1 cup whole milk yogurt. Season with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.

4. Finish:

  • Spoon the lentils and squash into serving bowls. Top each with some shallot yog and a big handful of cilantro leaves (you can chop them if you want!). Tear the dates, discarding their pits, and scatter them over each bowl.