This is a really comforting pumpkin chickpea curry without tomatoes, exactly what’s needed on chilly evenings. It’s not a traditional curry by any means as far as I can tell – rather kind of a mix between a Thai and Indian curry, with a thinner base made with coconut milk, but a dry spice mix adding lots of savoury flavour.
Serve with brown rice for a healthier meal or go for vegan naan if you want maximum comfort food. Rice is definitely lower effort and just as good, but you’ll want some kind of grain/carb to soak things up here. Quinoa, roti, whatever you like.
Pumpkins, if cured and stored correctly, will keep well into the winter months. With chard or kale, this is seasonally appropriate right through until spring using stored pumpkins.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
With pumpkin, chickpeas, greens, and a good spice mix, this is exactly what I want most autumn and winter days. Pumpkins are great at this time of year. They’ve been harvested now and are readily available, cheap, and delicious.
- Easy ingredients: while it looks like a long ingredient list, much of that is made up from dry spices that are common in most spice cabinets. Otherwise the ingredients are either pantry friendly or long-lasting vegetables.
- It’s vegan and gluten-free: with no changes to the recipe, it’s already free from dairy, eggs, and gluten. While this is a common weeknight dinner for us, I also like to make it for guests with allergies.
- It’s ready quickly: with just a half hour cooking time, this is ready in 40 minutes from start to finish. You can have dinner on the table in no time.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Greens: the type of greens used can be altered depending on what you have on hand. Chard, kale, spinach, and rucola can all be added interchangeably – though you may want to cook the kale for a minute or two rather than adding it at the end to wilt. Frozen greens can be used too.
- Spices: Fresh turmeric can be used in place of dried (I list dried as it’s more readily available). Mince it and add alongside the ginger and garlic. You’ll need a pinkie-sized piece, or a generous teaspoon minced.
- Chickpeas: either cooked or canned, but be sure to drain and rinse canned chickpeas very well before adding them.
- Coconut milk: I’ve tried this recipe with the coconut cream that comes in a block, and it doesn’t work very well. Stick to canned for the best results.
Step by Step
1. Make the base: cook the onions, garlic, and ginger, and heat the spice mixture.
2. Add pumpkin: stir in the pumpkin pieces to coat in the spices.
3. Add liquids: stir in the coconut milk and water and bring to a low boil.
4. Cook: reduce to a simmer and cook until the pumpkin is soft, then stir in the greens and serve.
If you can’t see the recipe video, please watch it here on YouTube instead.
Use a type of pumpkin (winter squash) that doesn’t need to be peeled if you can. Hokkaido pumpkin is pictured and it’s great – no peeling and a delicious, firm orange flesh. This might be called red kuri where you are.
Try to be mindful of the rate at which the curry is boiling, and keep it to a low boil and immediately reduce the heat to simmer. Coconut milk has a tendency to separate when boiled, and it likely will here if boiled too long. A gentle heat is key.
How to Store
Storage: refrigerate cooled curry in a sealed container for 2-3 days. Reheat as usual before serving.
Freezing: freeze any leftovers in an airtight container for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating as usual.
What to Serve with this Curry
Pumpkin curry is best served with flatbread or rice. Use cooked brown rice or another grain, or make a batch of vegan naan as pictured. For a faster option, you can make sweet potato flatbread instead, which doesn’t need yeast.
For a refreshing side to cut through the richness, serve with a vegetable salad. A vegan cucumber salad is reminiscent of raita and a nice fresh option to have, or go for a warm pumpkin salad if you prefer pure comfort food.
- Deglaze the pot: don’t worry if you have some spices or little pieces of ginger sticking slightly to the pot during cooking. The apple cider vinegar lifts any of these stubborn bits and they just add flavour!
- Be flexible about pumpkin type: can’t get a hokkaido pumpkin? Butternut is great instead! It needs to be peeled, of course, and is slightly sweeter, but works well. Any kind of winter squash can be used if you have access to less common varieties, too.
- Thicken if you’d like: this curry is definitely on the broth-y side of things, definitely a bit soupy. If you prefer more heft, reduce the amount of water by half or add more vegetables.
- Cook rice simultaneously: conveniently, brown rice also takes 40 minutes to cook. Start the rice before you start the curry and they’ll be ready at the same time.
More Seasonal Curries and Stews
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Chickpea Pumpkin Curry
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 thumb ginger minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom 1 pod fresh
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste
- 1 small pumpkin cut into 4 cm pieces (about 2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 400 ml canned full-fat coconut milk
- 400 ml water fill the can from the coconut milk
- 200 grams cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed
- 70 grams greens, roughly chopped (chard, kale, spinach, etc.)
Additional elements for serving
- Brown rice or naan
- Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the oil.1 tablespoon olive oil
- Add the onion and cook for about two minutes, or until softened and fragrant.1 medium onion
- Stir in the garlic and ginger, and cook for another minute. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom, and cayenne pepper and stir through.3 cloves garlic, 1 thumb ginger, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Add the pumpkin and stir to coat with the spices.1 small pumpkin
- Pour in the apple cider vinegar and stir. This will lift anything that may have stuck to the bottom of the pot during cooking.1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Add the coconut milk, water, and chickpeas. Cover and bring to a low boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the pumpkin is softened.400 ml canned full-fat coconut milk, 400 ml water, 200 grams cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed
- Remove the curry from the heat and stir in the greens to wilt. Frozen greens will require a couple of minutes of simmering. Taste and season as needed.70 grams greens, roughly chopped (chard, kale, spinach, etc.)
- Serve immediately, with naan or rice. Leftovers freeze well in a sealed container for up to three months and can be refrigerated for 2-3 days.Brown rice or naan
This post was originally published in November 2016. It has been updated most recently as of October 2022.