A Warming Vegan Recipe from Sophie Gordon

Posted on 16th January 2022 by Anna Orhanen

In her beautifully inventive and environmentally-minded cookbook The Whole Vegetable, Sophie Gordon turns the limelight on vegetables of all kinds, celebrating the endless variety of plants and embracing the often-discarded parts such as stalks, tops, flowers and seeds as an important part of the feast. We are delighted to share a recipe for a delicious dal from the book with our readers.

Creamy Curried Pumpkin Split Pea Dal 

There are many dishes I could eat more than once in a week, and dal is very high on the list. I like to make it in big batches and serve it with different things each time I have it. This dal is particularly special, made in the way I’d jotted down after spending time with a local Sri Lankan family, with half of the pumpkin blended to make it even creamier. I love using yellow split peas, mostly for their texture, and they really enhance the dish, adding a bit more bite and an almost nutty taste.

Serves approx. 6–8


2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tbsp black or yellow mustard seeds

1 white or brown onion, finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped

2 tbsp freshly grated ginger

1 tbsp freshly grated turmeric

a large handful of fresh coriander, stems finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped

a pinch of dried chilli flakes

4 tsp ground cumin

2–3 tsp curry powder (without salt preferred)

a small handful of curry leaves, fresh or dried

1.5–2 litres vegetable stock

1 small pumpkin or squash, raw, any variety, skin on or off

550g dried yellow split peas, soaked for at least 4 hours

salt and pepper 1 cinnamon stick 250ml coconut milk

1 lime, juice and zest


Put about 1–2 teaspoons of your coconut oil into a large pot over a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop – lower the heat when they do so and transfer them to a small bowl. Heat the rest of the coconut oil in the same pan, then add your onions. Sauté until they start to go translucent and fragrant, about 5–6 minutes on a low heat. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, coriander stalks, dried chilli flakes, ground cumin, curry powder and half your curry leaves. Stir continuously and keep frying until everything becomes nice and fragrant. Put your mustard seeds back into the pan. If it starts to dry up, you can add a dash of your stock to help continue the frying process.

Add the pumpkin, split peas, about half the fresh coriander and the rest of the stock to the pot. Stir and bring the mixture up to the boil, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Once it reaches the boil, lower the heat to a simmer. Add the cinnamon stick and stir again. Cover and cook for about 45–55 minutes, until the split peas are cooked and the pumpkin is tender. Season again to taste.

Once cooked, transfer about a quarter of the mix to a blender. You may need it to cool slightly first, depending on your blender type. Add the coconut milk and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour back into the pot and stir, adding the lime juice and zest and seasoning again to taste.


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