This slow cooker butternut squash lentil curry is creamy and flavored with warm spices, butternut squash, coconut milk and lime juice! Works great as a comforting vegan dinner, or for meal prep.
This recipe was originally published in 2016. It has been re-written and published in 2019 with a brand new video! Same great recipe.
This slow cooker butternut squash lentil curry is a reader favorite around here! Not only is it super easy to get on to cook (no sauteeing!), but it tastes amazing and is hard to screw up.
Inspired by my favorite Red Lentil Dal recipe, this version has butternut squash, which adds a little bit of sweetness, coconut milk, which makes it richer and adds a little coconutty flavor, and lime, which brings out all the flavors.
This slow cooker red lentil curry also happens to be one of my favorite meal prep lunch recipes: makes a big batch and is easy to portion out with rice and freeze for later. It’s filling, but healthy, and I love that it’s vegan, as we are making an effort to consume less meat these days.
Reasons you’ll ♡ this butternut squash lentil curry
- it’s a ‘dump and go’ slow cooker meal
- it freeze/thaws great (before or after cooking!)
- it is vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free
Don’t forget to pin this post to save it for later!
What’s in this crock pot red lentil curry?
- Red lentils- use dried red lentils. This recipe has not been tested with green or brown lentils and probably won’t work with pre-cooked canned lentils (unless you want soup)
- Butternut squash– 4 cups, which is roughly half a butternut squash. You could use frozen pre-cut butternut squash cubes as a shortcut!
- Aromatics– onion, garlic and ginger.
- Canned goods– diced tomatoes + juices and coconut milk. Use a good quality full fat coconut milk for the best results! Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk has never let me down.
- Spices– curry powder, cumin, ground coriander, garam masala and salt
- Stock– use vegetable stock for a vegan recipe or homemade bone broth
- Lime juice– to stir in before serving to bring a bit of acidity and make all the other flavors pop!
Can I cook this butternut squash curry in the Instant Pot?
Yes, you can! While I have not tried this myself, reader Patricia recommends a 4 minute cook time with a 10 minute natural pressure release.
Can I swap the butternut squash for something else?
I think sweet potatoes would work well as a replacement.
Can I skip the coconut milk in this butternut squash curry?
I have not tested this without the coconut milk. I *think* you could leave it out, and add in some cream or yogurt at the end of the cook time, but I am unsure of how this may alter the flavor. If you try it without the coconut milk, please leave us a comment below to tell us how it tasted!
How to meal prep slow cooker lentil butternut squash curry
This is such a great recipe for meal prep and one of my personal faves! You can meal prep it in one of two ways:
- Assemble ahead and freeze– assemble all ingredients (except for the stock and lime juice) in a sturdy gallon-sized freezer bag, a gallon-sized reusable silicone bag, or a 3 quart meal prep container (I got mine at Ikea). Squeeze out air (if possible) and freeze for up to 3 months.
- to cook: thaw completely and cook as directed
- Cook ahead and re-heat– cook as directed, cool, and portion out in one of these 2 cup meal prep containers with rice.
- store in the fridge for up to 4 days or the freezer for up to 3 months
- re-heat until steaming hot
Tips & equipment for slow cooker coconut lentil curry
- I used my older 5 quart slow cooker which does not appear to be available anymore. I highly recommend this 6 quart slow cooker and you could cook a half-recipe in this 2.5 quart slow cooker
- store your leftovers with rice in these 2 cup meal prep containers for easy lunches or dinners
- looking for more vegan slow cooker meals? Check out this Vegan Crockpot Chili, this Vegan African Peanut Stew and this Vegan Slow Cooker Tikka Masala
Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Lentil Curry
- 2 cups red lentils (dried; uncooked)
- 4 cups butternut squash (peeled, seeds scooped out, and cubed; roughly 1/2 of a large butternut squash)
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger (grated or finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 13.5 oz coconut milk (1 can; 400mL- use full fat)
- 19 oz diced tomatoes (1 can; 540mL; see *notes; including juices)
- 3 cups stock
- 1/2 lime (juiced)
- salt (if needed)
- Combine all ingredients except for lime juice in the base of a large slow cooker and cook low 8 for hours.
- Add salt & lime, adjust to taste.
- Mash everything up with a potato masher or serve as is.
- After cooking, butternut squash lentil curry may be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Freezer Crockpot Meal:
- Combine all ingredients except for the stock in a gallon-sized freezer bag, reusable silicone bag, or large meal prep container. Remove as much air as possible.
- Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw completely, then add to the base of a 5 quart slow cooker with the stock. Cook on low for 8 hours