Lentils with Summer Squash

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This lentil dish is meant to be a quick and easy one-pot dish that gives you a digestible protein source in the form of lentils, cooked together with vegetables.  

Being simple, soupy, and cooked with ghee and spices, this dish checks off a lot of boxes in the easy-to-digest category.  

The key to success with this dish is to choose a quick-cooking lentil that is hulled (skinless) so that it breaks down into mush.  

Choose from:  

  • Yellow split lentils
  • Yellow lentils
  • Golden lentils
  • Red lentils
  • Moong dal
  • Toor dal

If you use brown or green lentils, the lentils will hold their shape and it will not be as digestible.  

The reason is that brown and green lentils have a skin, and the fiber in the skin is harder to digest. 

Vegetable substitutions

There are 2 times in this recipe where you can add vegetables.  

The first opportunity is right at the beginning. This will work best for vegetables that take longer to cook, or vegetables you want to cook longer.  

The second opportunity is after the lentils are basically cooked. This works well for faster cooking vegetables, such as leafy greens.  

For this recipe, I suggest using summer squash and kale.

I have also really enjoyed napa cabbage (1 1/2 cups) and celery (1 cup) for the first step and broccoli rabe (2 cups) in the second step.


Use whatever Ayurvedic spice masala you have, or make a simple spice mix using the recipe below.

This spice recipe will give you extra to use for future dishes.  

You could also use any powdered spices you prefer for a total of 1 teaspoon.  

If you are missing any of the following spices, just add more of another one.

Cooling spice masala 

  • 6 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 6 teaspoons fennel powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder  

Recipe for Lentils with Zucchini

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 96kcal
Print Recipe


  • medium saucepan with lid


for soaking

  • 1/3 cup lentils (quick-cooking; see notes)

to start the dish

  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 1 teaspoon spice mix (see notes)
  • 1 1/2 cups zucchini or yellow squash chopped
  • 2 cups water


  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups kale or any leafy green

finish with

  • squeeze lime juice to taste


Prep steps

  • Use a quick soaking method to soak the lentils. Place lentils in a bowl and pour enough boiling water over them to cover. Wait at least 20 minutes. Drain, and rinse well, until the water runs clear.
  • Chop the squash into bite-sized pieces.

Start the dish

  • Heat ghee in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add spices and sizzle for 20-30 seconds, until you smell the aroma.
  • Add summer squash, water, and rinsed lentils. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and partially cover.
  • Cook, partially covered, for 40 minutes or more, until the lentils are soft and breaking apart. Taste, and adjust for salt. Add kale and cook for 15 minutes more.
  • Add more water if needed. In the end, it should be like a thick stew, so that you can enjoy it on a plate with basmati rice, quinoa, or another grain. You could also enjoy it as a soup by adding more water.
  • Turn off the heat, and add fresh lime juice to taste.
  • Enjoy with basmati rice, quinoa, or another grain. Or for a low-carb meal, have it with a green salad.


Choose from the following lentils:
  • Yellow split lentils/ moong dal
  • Yellow lentils
  • Golden lentils
  • Red lentils
  • Moong dal
  • Toor dal


Calories: 96kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 327mg | Potassium: 242mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 3440IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 2mg

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