Pumpkin Curry — made with diced pumpkin, carrots, onions, and spinach — is here to prove that pumpkin isn’t just for pies and lattes! This savory Thai style curry recipe is super easy to make, and it’s the perfect comfort food meal for chilly autumn days. It’s vegan and gluten-free.
Vegan Pumpkin Curry
Autumn is here, and the evening air has a chill to it. This is my favorite time of year, and I love the warming comfort food it brings. One of my go-to dishes for the cooler weather is curry. You can use pretty much anything on hand—just throw it in a pot with chili paste and coconut milk, and dinner’s almost done. Easy peasy!
I created this pumpkin curry recipe several years ago when I belonged to a produce co-op. One week, one of my two produce bags was exceptionally heavy. My curiosity was piqued—”what hidden treasures lay at the bottom of this heavy bag?” I carefully unloaded all of the produce lying on top, which included cauliflower, apples, pears, and peppers, and to my delight I found a giant cheese pumpkin at the bottom of the bag!
Cheese pumpkins aren’t cheesy at all, but their name comes from their resemblance to a large wheel of cheese. (I prefer to think of it as a large wheel of Miyoko’s.) I had never made one before, so I accepted the challenge my co-op share had presented me with, and headed to the kitchen to make a large pot of warming curry. The onion, carrots and spinach I used were also from my co-op share, and the pumpkin was so large that I only used half of it for this recipe. The other half was used in soup.
How to Cut Your Pumpkin
Cutting a pumpkin can be a little tricky, but with a few simple tricks, it can be done safely. Make sure you have a large, sharp knife and a stable cutting board.
If your pumpkin is too hard and your knife won’t go through the flesh, you can heat it in the oven for a few minutes or pop it in the microwave for 2 or 3 minutes.
Pumpkins can be cut either vertically or horizontally. I prefer to cut them vertically, because I like to use the stem like a handle.
- First, you pierce the pumpkin with the knife at the top, just under the stem, pulling straight down. Then you rotate the pumpkin and do the same on the other side. Cut the pumpkin all the way through the bottom, and then remove the stem. You should have two halves now.
- Use a spoon to remove the seeds. Don’t throw them away. You can roast them!
- Depending on the size of your pumpkin, it might be easier to peel it if it’s in quarters, so you can slice each half into halves again. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin.
- Then cut each piece of pumpkin into dice, about 1½-inches in size.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of cutting a pumpkin, look for pre-chopped pumpkin or squash in your grocery store.
How to Make Pumpkin Curry
This recipe is super easy to make!
- First you cook the onion in the oil in a large pot for about 5 minutes.
- Then you add the pumpkin and carrot to the pot and cook for another 5 minutes, until they start to soften.
- Next you add the stock, coconut milk, chickpeas and curry paste to the pot and stir to combine.
- You bring the mixture to a boil and then lower the heat and cover the pot, allowing the mixture to simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Then you add the spinach to the pot, cooking for just another minute or so, until it wilts.
- Finally, you season your curry with salt and pepper to taste and top with sliced basil.
I like to serve my curry with brown rice, but it’s great on its own, too!
How to Customize Your Pumpkin Curry
This recipe is easy to make your own.
- You can use winter squash instead of pumpkin. I like to make it with butternut squash.
- Instead of spinach, you can use kale or chard. You might need to cook the curry a few minutes longer for for them to wilt.
- You can use green curry paste instead of red.
- If you don’t like carrots, you can use other vegetables. Cauliflower or green beans work well.
- You can spice things up with garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes.
Red Curry Paste
Red curry paste is made with red chili pepper, garlic, lemongrass, shallots, cilantro, and kaffir lime. Sometimes fish or shrimp is added, so make sure you check the label, even when buying a brand you’ve purchased before. (Formulas change and manufacturers don’t always make it clear on the front label.) I like Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste.
If red curry paste is too spicy for your tastes, you can use green instead. Green is also made with chiles, but I find it’s a bit milder.
- 1 tablespoon neutral-tasting vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 4 cups diced pumpkin or kabocha squash or butternut squash
- 3 medium carrots sliced
- 3 tablespoons red curry paste
- 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 4 cups baby spinach or baby kale chopped
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced basil leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until it turns translucent and starts to brown a little.
- Add the pumpkin and carrots and cook for 5 more minutes, until they begin to soften.
- Stir in the curry paste, broth and coconut milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot, reduce hit to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Mix in the spinach until just wilted.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with sliced basil.
More savory pumpkin recipes you might enjoy include:
- Curried Pumpkin Peanut Soup
- Pumpkin Pasta Carbonara
- Stuffed Mini Pumpkins
- Chili Roasted Pumpkin Nachos
More curry-style recipes you might like include:
- Yellow Curry Rice Noodles from Vegan on a Budget by Nava Atlas
- Thai Sweet Potato Curry from The Meatless Monday Family Cookbook by Jenn Sebestyen
- Coconut Curry Noodles with Butternut Squash from One-Dish Vegan by Robin Robertson
- Thai Red Curry Green Beans