Lentil and Squash Casserole

'Homemade Butternut Squash Gnocchi' photo (c) 2010, Meng He - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Last week, I had to run out suddenly to bring my son somewhere right during dinner preparation hour. Fortunately my teens were home to take over. This recipe can be easily halved, but like most recipes with legumes, it improves on the second or third day so don’t be afraid of leftovers.

I first learned about not peeling squash from Lorna Sass’s cookbook, Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure.

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, add an extra half-cup of water and cook for 45 minutes. This works in the slow-cooker as well, cooked on low for 5-7 hours.

Here’s how to do it:


Recipe: Lentil and Squash Casserole

Summary: Vegan, one-pot, sweet and tasty dish.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 unpeeled butternut squash, cut in one-inch cubes
  • 2 cups coarse bulgur (or brown rice)
  • 1 cup green or black lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
  • 1 green chili pepper, split in half
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 7 cups boiling water or broth
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish


  1. Saute onion until soft in pressure cooker, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add all ingredients to pressure cooker, except for parsley.
  3. After pressure cooker starts to hiss, lower heat and continue cooking for 15-20 minutes. Check that lentils are tender. If not, continue to simmer, adding more water if necessary.

Quick notes

The pressure cooker softens the peel, which is quite tasty. Some family members chose to remove it, but there are cuisines where it is common to leave the peel on as it helps the pumpkin or squash retain its shape.


Substitute pumpkin, other winter squash, or sweet potatoes, about three cups worth.

Preparation time:

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegan

Diet tags: Low calorie

Dietary restriction: Kosher

Number of servings (yield): 8


  1. Looks tasty! Red or green lentils?

  2. Linda Socher says

    I made this with red lentils. It was so good! I was skeptical about not peeling the squash, but I am amazed at how yummy and satisfying this is. Thanks for posting.

  3. You inspired me to make kasha with squash & mushrooms last night. You were a double inspiration because I efficiently used odds & ends I had in the house. We had it as a side dish.

  4. We made the recipe last night in a regular pot, not a pressure cooker. We left out the chili peppers; perhaps next time we will add more onion or garlic. My wife found that it did not need quite as much time to cook. Also, rather than using 2Tbs of oil, we used about 2tsp worth from a sprayer.

  5. I love the combination of lentils and squash so this casserole sounds right up my alley!

  6. This combination looks very enticing. Microwaving the squash separately also works well with this kind of dish. It needs only a bit of water and seems to keep in more of its sweet flavor than when cooked in the stew. Once it’s microwaved, it’s easy to cut up and mix with the rest.

  7. Also, bravo to you for teaching your kids so well, so they could jump in and prepare such a nice dish, and they even know how to use a pressure cooker!

  8. A followup. This recipe has became a regular part of our meal planning. Leftovers get reheated or even eaten cold by our son, though my wife and I think it is better hot.