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Paleo Pumpkin Dal

Paleo Cauliflower & Pumpkin ‘Dal’

  • Author: Irena Macri
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stew
  • Cuisine: Indian-inspired


Learn how to make legume-free, paleo-friendly dal with pumpkin, cauliflower and sesame seeds. It’s a hearty, nutritious dish that is also plant-based. Sub fish sauce for coconut aminos or extra salt for a vegan version.


  • 1 large onion, finely diced (use a food processor)
  • 20 grams ghee or butter (about 1 tbsp, or 2 tbsp olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely diced or grated
  • 500 grams 1 lb peeled butternut pumpkin/squash, diced into small cubes
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala or mild curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used chicken stock)
  • About 200 grams / 1 cup coconut cream
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 23 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets
  • A handful of fresh coriander chopped
  • Extra sesame seeds and coconut cream for garnish


  1. Sauté onion in ghee and coconut oil over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, until softened and slightly golden.
  2. Add the ginger, squash and garlic and stir through for a minute. Add the spices and stir through. Then add the fish sauce, stock, coconut cream, lime juice, salt and sesame seeds and stir through. Bring to boil, turn down to medium-low and cover with a lid. Cook for about 8-10 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, either chop or grind the cauliflower florets into small crumbs. I used a food processor and added separated florets in three batches, whizzed a few times for a couple of seconds each time, until finely chopped up but not completely ground up into dust. You can use a knife and chop the cauli super finely.
  4. After 8-10 minutes of cooking the pumpkin, stir in the cauliflower rice and cook together for 5 minutes, covered with a lid. Stir a couple of times.
  5. Using a potato masher, press down the cooked mixture a few times to soften the pumpkin pieces slightly. You want some of the pumpkin flesh to become the sauce itself.
  6. Serve with fresh coriander and a dollop of coconut cream or yoghurt. Add a few sesame seeds over the top for presentation.


Can I freeze this dal? I don’t recommend freezing this particular dish as it will lose some fo the texture but as a plant-based recipe, it will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge.

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