You can’t have enough recipes like this on hand – with good use of seasonal ingredients and pantry staples, this butternut squash and chickpea curry is an autumn staple. This recipe needs a couple cold-weather vegetables and is otherwise made with canned coconut milk and tomatoes, dry spices, and jarred or cooked chickpeas (more on this below).
For some more warming seasonal curries and stews with similar ingredients, try my tomato-free chickpea pumpkin curry, Moroccan-spiced chickpea, sweet potato, and kale stew, and easy cauliflower, sweet potato, and chickpea curry.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Chard: substitute any hardy green like kale, spinach, or even something like purslane. Frozen greens will work just as well.
- Butternut squash: while butternut doesn’t need to be peeled, I prefer to as the skin is on the chewier side. Substitute another winter squash if preferred.
- Chickpeas: use home-cooked or canned chickpeas. Either way be sure to rinse well before adding to the pot.
- Tomatoes: any tinned tomatoes can be used. Crushed make the gravy a little too tomato-heavy but whole, diced, or cherry are all excellent options, though I recommend diced for the best texture.
- Coconut milk: my choice is always full-fat coconut milk but for this recipe you can use a lighter version. Note that lower-fat options will make for thinner, slightly watery curry.
- Spices: if you prefer, you can use a ‘curry blend’ rather than the mix of spices outlined here. Choose something that has turmeric and cumin in the ingredient list.
Step by Step
Step 1: fry the onions until softened, then add the squash and cook for a few minutes.
Step 2: add the garlic and spices and cook for another minute.
Step 3: stir in the tomatoes and chickpeas, then cover and cook until the squash is softened.
Step 4: once the squash is cooked, add the coconut milk and greens and remove from the heat. Season to taste and serve.
Cooking the curry in this way – adding the coconut milk at the end – ensures that the milk doesn’t split as it has a tendency to do when boiled. If you want a piping hot curry rather than a hot-but-edible one, simply reheat gently after adding the coconut milk rather than serving immediately. I like this method as it doesn’t need to cool down at all before serving.
If you use a tough green like kale, you may want to cook it for a couple of minutes rather than wilting in the hot ingredients. Cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes to soften before serving. Spinach and chard don’t need this extra step.
How to Store
Storage: keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and reheat as usual.
Freezing: transfer fully cooled curry to an airtight container, or multiple small containers for individual servings, and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat as usual.
- Season to taste: consider the amount of salt listed to be a starting point, and reduce if needed or increase to your taste before serving.
- Soak the chickpeas: if you’re using canned chickpeas, a nice way to improve the taste and get rid of some of the excess salt is to rinse them, then soak in fresh water for 20 minutes or so, then rinse again. It really improves the taste.
- Just add a splash of water: you want just enough to rinse out the can of tomatoes (no need to waste it!) so 2-3 tablespoons from the tap.
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Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1 medium onion halved and thinly sliced
- ½ medium butternut squash diced (2cm / ¾ in.)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes to taste
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 400 grams canned tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons water to rinse out the tomato can
- 300 grams cooked or canned chickpeas rinsed well
- 400 ml canned coconut milk
- 70 grams hardy greens chopped (chard, spinach, etc.)
- Parsley or cilantro to serve
- Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until translucent, stirring frequently.2 teaspoons coconut oil, 1 medium onion
- Add the squash and cook for another five minutes, until it starts to brown slightly (it might stick to the bottom of the pot, that's normal).½ medium butternut squash
- Stir in the garlic and spices and cook for another minute or two, stirring frequently.3 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon sea salt, ½ teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon turmeric, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon coriander, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes, ¼ teaspoon cardamom, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Stir in the tomatoes, rinsing water, and chickpeas. Cover and bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is fork-soft.400 grams canned tomatoes, 2 tablespoons water, 300 grams cooked or canned chickpeas
- Turn off the heat and stir in the coconut milk and greens. Taste and season as needed, then serve with parsley and rice or vegan naan.400 ml canned coconut milk, 70 grams hardy greens, Parsley or cilantro to serve
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.