Slice of Emma : Butternut Squash, Red Lentil, and Eggplant Sambhar

Healthy, whole food, plant based recipes by Emma

Recipe #18:

Butternut Squash, Red Lentil, and Eggplant Sambhar


From Ecuador to Singapore over New Years, Goa India for the next New Years, and now off to Portugal to participate in Kimberly (Kimbo)’s and Laurence’s thriving farm, I have had the great pleasure of connecting with this incredible couple.  I met Laurence at a yoga retreat in Montanita Ecuador where he and Kimbo were traveling around South America.  They welcomed me into their gorgeous apartment in Singapore where we rung in the New Year bearing lion costumes on their rooftop.  Even at this time they were potting and growing lush vegetables and preparing for their next chapter in Portugal. When I learned that they would be starting a self-sustaining farm in Portugal, I knew that I must one day go there. I plan to go back and stay much.. much longer as 2 days was not near enough time on their utopia farm. 

Keela Yoga Farm is located near Monsanto, a UNESCO Heritage site in central northern Portugal(  Guests come for weeks at a time to contribute to growing organic vegetables, build composts, ferment vegetables, build home structures and chicken coops from clay, and most importantly- sunset yoga and meditation. 

I learned how simplicity is truly beautiful, and how important connections cleared from material ties is what binds us together. The recipe that is featured in this blog is as close of a copycat I could make from one of their guests. 

All 3 meals a day is incredible vegan dishes made from mostly items local and from the farm.  The butternut squash harvested from a lush tangled plant that grew upon their soil and eggplants hanging from climbing vines. 

It was savory, spicy, and a delicious combo with the homemade gluten free naan bread.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!  Please visit their farm if you want a reset and to connect with your inner self.




·       1 cup red lentils

·       4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

·       ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds

·       2 teaspoons coriander seeds

·       1 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds

·       ¾ teaspoon black mustard seeds

·       12 fresh curry leaves

·       4 shallots, finely sliced

·       8 ounces butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes

·       1 small eggplant (10 1/2 ounces), cut into 1-inch cubes

·       4 medium, ripe tomatoes, chopped

·       1 ½ teaspoons sugar

·       2 teaspoons tamarind paste

·       1 ½ teaspoons nice red chili powder

·       1 cup greenbeans





Wash the lentils with cold water until the water runs clear, then put into a deep saucepan, cover with three times the amount of water, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 25 minutes, or until soft, scooping off any foam. Meanwhile, put 1 tablespoon of oil into a wide, lidded frying pan and add the fenugreek, coriander, and cumin seeds. Stir-fry for a minute, then take off the heat and grind to a coarse paste with a pestle and mortar.  Put the remaining oil into the frying pan over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves, followed closely by the shallots, and cook for around 10 minutes, until the shallots are golden. Then add the diced squash and a couple of tablespoons of water, cover with the lid, and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the eggplant and another couple of tablespoons of water, cover and cook for another 5 minutes, then add the tomatoes, along with the spices you ground earlier, the salt, sugar, tamarind paste, and chilli powder. Cover again and leave to cook for a further 5 minutes, until the tomatoes have broken down and the squash is tender. Add the lentils to the vegetables (or the other way around, depending on which pan is bigger), then add the green beans and enough water to make a thick, soupy texture, and cook for a final 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt, sugar, and tamarind as you wish.



Hi, I am Emma Wilkiemeyer.
Welcome to Slice of Emma recipe blog featuring healthy recipes that are vegan and based on whole foods.  For the past seven years I have shared recipes with friends and family and past two years through my blogging.  I completed a certification at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Arizona in Holistic Nutrition.  I take pride in that my recipes are not only delicious, but the science behind them makes for ingredients that nurture and balance the body.  My recipes are all gluten free and vegan.  My full time career is working in the oncology bio-tech space. Working around patients who are very sick has taught me the value of living a healthy lifestyle each and every day in order to lower the risk of disease later in life.  My whole foods diet keeps me energized to work hard and fuel my fitness routine.  Slice of Emma will also feature not only my voracious appetite in the kitchen but also my travel adventures including mountain hikes sometimes shared with Jes the CCC and international travel.  
Please reach out to me anytime you have a question whether it be about travel or my recipes. I am excited to share my passion and creativity with you.  Whether you are an experienced cook, or just getting started with a plant based diet I hope to have something that excites and helps you love healthy and compassionate cooking. My life recipe is simple- Nourish the body with clean food and exercise, and feed the soul with life’s rich experiences whether it be through getting out in nature or positive relationships with the people in my life. :: 
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