This easy butternut squash curry with chickpeas is an Indian-style curry made with simple spices, sweet roasted butternut squash, and creamy coconut milk. All you need for this easy Indian curry is one pot and 30 minutes.
This easy curry recipe is perfect for meal prep and making ahead or even to fill the freezer. As with most curry recipes, this one gets better the next day as the spices develop and the coconut milk balances it all out perfectly. You really need to serve it with the 2 ingredient naan for the perfect Indian feast.
Curries are also easy to make and so comforting because of their bold flavour. Some of the SB favorites are this coconut chicken curry, this easy pork curry recipe with rice, or these simple curry chicken thighs.
⭐️ Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's vegan but even your biggest meat eaters will love it!
- You can use butternut squash or any other kind of pumpkin.
- Only a handful of fresh ingredients are required. You'll mostly be using pantry staples.
- Perfect for meal prep or freezer filling, this recipe helps you get ahead on dinner.
As you may notice from the photo below- that is not a butternut squash. It is in fact a carnival squash. It makes a great substitute for butternut if it's unavailable as was my case.
- squash - the first couple of times I tested this recipe I used butternut squash. When it came time to take the photos, all I could find at my local Aldi was a carnival squash. I made it anyway because it's very similar in flavour, size, and texture to butternut. I also wanted to demonstrate that you don't have to find a whole new recipe because you have to change one ingredient.
- chickpeas - the creamy nuttiness of the chickpeas is a perfect compliment to the spices and squash. You can use a tin of cannellini beans if you prefer.
- chopped tomatoes - the acidity of the tomatoes balances out the sweetness of the squash. You can use a tin of cherry tomatoes also.
- coconut milk - full fat or low fat both work for this recipe.
- spices - cumin, curry powder (medium or mild), garam masala, and ground coriander make the perfect Indian spice blend. I've listed the amounts of each but feel free to adjust as you prefer.
- kale - spinach is great too!
- onion & garlic - you can use garlic paste in place of fresh cloves.
See recipe card for quantities.
📖 Substitutions & Variations
Below are some simple variations you can make so you're sure to end up with the perfect chickpea and squash curry.
- Squash - this vegetarian curry works with many different kinds of squash like butternut, carnival, and acorn squashes.
- Cauliflower - a head of cauliflower chopped into florets and stirred in
- Coconut milk - you can use full-fat or low-fat coconut milk without any loss of flavour.
👩🏻🍳 How to Make Butternut Squash Curry Step By Step
Using only one pan and mostly pantry ingredients this easy curry recipe will only take about 30 minutes to get on the dinner table. Below, you'll see every step of the cooking process as well as helpful tips to make this easy recipe even easier!
1 & 2
- As mentioned before, this recipe has been tested multiple times with butternut squash, but when it came time to photograph, they weren't available. This carnival squash is similar in taste, texture, and size, making it the perfect substitute.
- Peel and dice the butternut squash into medium-sized cubes. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and roast the pumpkin until the edges are just starting to turn golden, about 6-8 minutes.
Chef's Tip- 🎃 It's easier to peel the pumpkin after it's been cut into wedges and had the seeds scooped out.
3 & 4
- While the squash is pan-roasting, measure out the spices. I find it easiest to measure them all out onto a small saucer so you can gauge how much of each spice you'd like to add.
- Toss the spices into the pan and mix to coat all the chunks of squash. Leave the spices and squash to cook for a few more minutes. This helps to warm up the spices and they start to gently toast, brining out all of their flavour.
5 & 6
- Pour in the tinned tomatoes and coconut milk. Be sure to stir everything really well and bring it to a gentle boil. Turn the heat down and simmer covered for about 10-12 minutes until the squash is tender but still retains some shape and texture.
- Remove the lid and check the curry. If you would like a thicker curry, continue to simmer without the lid on for 5 minutes to reduce the liquid in the pot. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Chef's Tip- This is the point where you can really customize the spices and seasoning in your curry. Add some extra chilli flakes for heat or some extra cinnamon to bring a little more warmth and toastiness.
If you haven't made many curries before you may find the variety of spices available to be vast and not be too sure what each one tastes like. Here's a brief flavour profile of each and what part they play. These are the spices that I use. There is a vast array of spices that you can stock, but I find these ones really work and they're really all you need.
- Cumin - peppery and slightly bitter taste, adds warmth to your dishes.
- Garam masala - is a warm, fragrant spice blend with lots of layers of flavor. Every blend will be slightly different, but you'll likely get hints of cinnamon, cloves or peppercorns.
- Curry powder - vary depending on the blend, but the 4 main spices are turmeric, coriander, cumin, and chilli peppers.
- Cinnamon - sweet and woody with a slight citrus note. It's warm and toasty with a sweet undertone.
- Coriander - Floral and citrusy, coriander is a very fresh-tasting spice. The mildly sweet, lemony flavor is usually paired with other spices in savory recipes. Ground coriander and cumin are the perfect match.
- Turmeric - overwhelmingly earthy and bitter, almost musky, with a bit of peppery spice. Usually paired with much milder spices to balance it out. It's often used for its pungent colour, too.
Once the squash is tender and the curry is a thick stew-like consistency, finish it off by stirring in lots of freshly chopped coriander and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
No. It's not necessary to peel a butternut squash or carnival squash. The skins are tender enough that they can be simmered like in this curry or roasted. I tend to peel them just because that's my preference, but it's not necessary.
A great addition to chickpea curry would be sweet potato because it has a similar flavor profile to squash and a similar texture, too.
Cauliflower also makes a great addition to this curry. Cut into florets and stir in.
Like most dishes with a combination of lots of spices, this butternut squash curry gets even better the next day. As a result the flavors develop further and marry together.
- Fridge- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Freezer- be sure to freeze the curry on its own without any rice in a freezer bag or airtight container.
Awesome And Easy Butternut Squash Curry (Ready In 30 Minutes)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
- 400 g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
- 500 g spinach, washed
- 400 g tin coconut milk
For the spice mix
- ½ tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- ½ teaspoon chilli powder
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup *see notes
For the crispy shallots
- 1 banana shallot, thinly sliced into rings
- 250 ml vegetable oil
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir the squash into the oil to coat all the chunks. Cook the squash in the oil until the edges start to turn golden. This should take about 8-10 minutes. Continue to stir occasionally.
- Add the spice mix, garlic and onion to the pan and continue to cook until the onions and garlic are soft and fragrant about 5 minutes. Pour the chopped tomatoes and drained chickpeas into the pan and stir well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in the coconut milk, bring to a gentle simmer and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the chunks of squash are tender.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the spinach, coriander and maple syrup if using. Cover with a lid and let the spinach wilt into the curry. Finish with a squeeze of lime juice.
- Divide between bowls and serve over rice with homemade naan.
To make the crispy shallots- in a small saucepan heat up the oil to 180ºC. Very gently drop the thinly sliced shallots into the hot oil and fry until the shallots are crispy and golden about 2 minutes. Use a fork or slotted spoon to lift the crispy shallots out of the oil and drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with sea salt.
- Use a variety of squashes in the place of butternut squash.
- Adjust the spice combinations according to your taste.
- Kale or spinach can go into the curry after it has been removed from the heat. Leave the lid on while the leaves wilt. It should only take about 5 minutes.