Pumpkin curry combines tender pumpkin pieces with nutritious chickpeas and a rich, creamy, aromatic tomato and coconut-based sauce.

The recipe is easy to make in one pot in about 30 to 40 minutes. Comforting, vibrant, and with a perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and aromatic flavors, it’s ideal for a weeknight dinner with friends and family.

Pumpkin curry is excellent for meal prep and to make ahead as it keeps well for days.

pumpkin curry with rice and a silver spoon

Dietary Note: this recipe is suitable for a vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diet.

What is pumpkin curry?

A curry is one of the best ways to enjoy a tasty, nutritious, and satisfying plant-based meal because you can combine different vegetables, legumes, grains, and spices in one delicious bowl.

Like our cauliflower curry, vegan curry, and tofu curry, this pumpkin curry recipe is packed with wholesome plant protein to keep you nourished and satiated.

Inspired by our lentil curry and Indian home cooking, it combines tender chunks of kabocha squash (you can use any winter squash like butternut and pumpkin) with nutritious chickpeas.

All is simmered in a rich and aromatic gravy infused with spices such as cumin, turmeric, and coriander.

pumpkin curry with chickpeas

Also, curries are an excellent way to include more leafy greens into your diet because the flavorful, spices-infused gravy makes them taste delicious.

For example, just like in our creamy potato curry and vegetable curry, you can add spinach, chard, or kale.

And if you want to change things up, you can substitute another vegetable for pumpkin and make a delicious butternut squash curry, eggplant curry, or sweet potato curry.

Serve it with fresh lemon juice, cilantro, and optionally a dollop of yogurt. It’s delicious on basmati rice or warm naan bread to sop up the flavorful juices.

Uh! And if you prefer Southeast Asian flavors, check out our Thai Curry with red curry paste.

pumpkin curry with kale and a silver spoon

Ingredients & substitutions for pumpkin curry

pumpkin curry ingredients

Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

FLAVOR BASE

Oil

We make all our curries with olive oil because it has a mild flavor that goes well with the spices and is healthier than most other oils.

Substitute avocado oil, coconut oil, and another vegetable oil for olive oil.

Onion

You can use white or yellow onion. Onion adds sweetness as it cooks with the oil, and it’s essential in the flavor base of pumpkin curry.

Substitute a shallot for the onion.

Garlic

Use fresh garlic and avoid garlic powder. You can grate, press, or chop the garlic.

Ginger

We recommend fresh ginger. It adds freshness and fragrance. You can grate or finely chop the ginger.

SPICES

Spices are the fiery soul of curries. They provide aromatic flavors and colors, are packed with antioxidants, and provide various health benefits.

Take our recipe as a guideline and add more or less spices based on what you have and like. Here are our recommendations:

Curry powder

We recommend using curry powder because it includes a blend of spices that are hard to find in Western supermarkets.

For example, good curry powder blends include fenugreek, mustard seeds, cloves, and cardamom.

Cumin

You can use ground cumin or cumin seed. Cumin provides an earthy, warm, and slightly peppery flavor.

Turmeric powder

Turmeric provides warmth and a slightly peppery and pungent flavor. It’s earthy and woody and provides a beautiful golden color.

Ground coriander

Coriander often comes in seed form or ground. If you have the seeds, we recommend grounding them with a mortar and pestle or with a spice blender.

Ground coriander adds a pleasant, citrusy, floral flavor with earthy, nutty, and sweet notes.

Red pepper flakes

Red pepper flakes are for heat. Substitute cayenne pepper, a fresh chopped hot chili, or chili powder for the flakes.

Bay leaves

Bay leaves are subtle but add an incredible and distinctive flavor to this pumpkin curry.

They harmonize and balance the other spices rather than being the dominant flavor. They add depth and complexity.

Stir them in with the other spices and remove them before serving the curry.

Garam masala

Like curry powder, garam masala is a blend of spices in Indian cooking. Garam masala should be added towards the end; then, the curry is almost ready to preserve the fragrant aromas of the spices.

Garam is a gentle, warm spice with sweet undertones from cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom.

Pumpkin

With its sweet, earthy, nutty flavor and its tender, creamy, and almost meaty texture, pumpkin is excellent in curries.

We use Japanese pumpkin, also known as kabocha squash. It is our favorite!

You can use most winter squash and pumpkin varieties, such as butternut squash and delicata squash.

We haven’t tried adding pumpkin puree. Substitute sweet potatoes for pumpkin.

Chickpeas

Chickpeas add substance, fiber, and protein to the pumpkin curry.

You can use canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed well.

Or you can use dried chickpeas that you previously soaked in water for 12 hours, then cook in boiling water for 1 to 2 hours or until tender.

Vegetable broth

That’s our cooking liquid of choice to keep the recipe suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Substitute chicken stock for vegetable broth.

Canned tomatoes

We recommend crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, or tomato puree for a smoother gravy.

Coconut milk

We are all for full-fat coconut milk for the creamiest, velvetiest texture. However, if you are on a low-fat diet, substitute low-fat coconut milk for the full-fat one.

If you want to omit coconut milk, replace it with more canned tomatoes and vegetable broth.

Maple syrup

Maple syrup is optional, but we like to add it at the end to round up the pumpkin curry flavors and enhance the pumpkin’s natural sweetness.

Substitute maple syrup with brown sugar, coconut sugar, or palm sugar. Adding a sweet flavor enhancer is a common practice in Asian cooking, and we think it makes a substantial difference to this dish.

However, if you are trying to cut your sugar content, you can easily keep the maple syrup out; the curry will still be delicious!

Optional add-ins

  • Leafy greens: you can add Swiss chard, spinach, and kale, chopped into bite-size pieces. They take 10 to 15 minutes to cook and are delicious in this pumpkin curry.
  • Bell pepper: add a chopped red bell pepper with the pumpkin.

Serves well with

  • Lemon juice: freshly squeezed. Substitute fresh lime juice.
  • Basmati rice: substitute jasmine rice, whole grain rice, black rice, or cauliflower rice.
  • Naan bread: substitute pita bread.
  • Fresh cilantro: substitute chopped Italian parsley.
  • Yogurt: we recommend a thick one, like a Greek-style yogurt. Non-dairy yogurt works well, too.
  • Cashew nuts: lightly toasted on a pan and scattered on top before serving.
Pumpkin curry with rice, spoon and fresh parsley

How to make pumpkin curry

US cups + grams measurements in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

As a first step, peel, seed, and chop the pumpkin into large bite-size pieces. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven, then add the chopped onion and sauté for 3 minutes.

Add grated garlic, ginger, bay leaves, and fry for one more minute.

garlic, ginger, onion and bay leaf in a white skillet

Stir in curry powder, ground cumin, turmeric powder, ground coriander, and red pepper flakes, and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.

spice mix with curry and turmeric and a wooden spoon in a skillet

Add chopped pumpkin, chickpeas, vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, and coconut milk.

Season with salt and black pepper, stir well and simmer on medium heat, uncovered, for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is fork-tender.

Turn the heat off, then stir in maple syrup and garam masala.

creamy curry sauce with pumpkin and chickpeas with hand holding a spoon

Serving suggestions

Serve pumpkin curry in a bowl next to basmati rice, lemon, or lime wedges or with naan.

Top with chopped cilantro and a generous squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

Optionally, add some toasted cashew nuts and a dollop of yogurt.

pumpkin curry with rice and a silver spoon

This pumpkin curry is a nutritious and fulfilling main course that doesn’t need much else to be a complete meal.

We recommend serving it next to something fresh, like:

Variations

Pumpkin curry with kale

pumpkin curry with kale leaves and hands holding a spoon

Leafy greens and orange starchy vegetables are a match made in heaven.

Here, we added chopped lacinato or Tuscan kale to the pumpkin curry halfway through cooking so that the kale has time to soften properly.

All you have to do is chop 5 to 6 ounces (around 160 grams) of kale into bite-size pieces and add it to the pot with the other ingredients.

Similar curries with veggies and chickpeas

Tips

Toast the spices: When making curry, allow the spices to cook with the oil and the onion for a minute.

As they warm up, they release their oils and flavor and become more fragrant and intense, providing a solid flavor base for your pumpkin curry.

Storage & Make Ahead

Make ahead: pumpkin curry is an excellent recipe for meal prep as it keeps well for days, and the day after it’s made, its flavor is even richer and more intense.

Refrigerator: let the curry cool down, transfer it into an airtight container, and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Freezer: Let the curry cool down completely, transfer it into a freezer-friendly container, and freeze it for up to 3 months.

Thaw & Reheat: defrost pumpkin curry in the fridge over several hours or in the microwave with a thawing setting. Warm in a pot on the stovetop or the microwave. In both cases, you’ll need to stir in a splash of water as the curry will firm up as it sits in the fridge.

More curry recipes

More pumpkin recipes

Love cooking with pumpkin and winter squash? You can find more recipes here:

pumpkin curry with chickpeas and basmati rice in a bowl

Pumpkin Curry

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 5 votes
Pumpkin curry combines tender pumpkin pieces with nutritious chickpeas and a rich, creamy, aromatic tomato and coconut-based sauce.
The recipe is easy to make in one pot in about 40 minutes. Comforting, vibrant, and with a perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and aromatic flavors, it’s ideal for a weeknight dinner with friends and family.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian-Inspired

Ingredients

Flavor Base

  • tablespoons olive oil or another vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 inch ginger grated
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)

Spices

  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (optional)

Other Ingredients

  • 2 pounds pumpkin or any winter squash (peeled & chopped into large bite-size pieces). We use kabocha squash.
  • cups cooked chickpeas or 1 small can drained and rinsed (15 ounces)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 ounces) coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or sugar (optional)

Serves well with

  • 1 squeeze lemon juice + basmati rice, naan bread, yogurt, cilantro.

Instructions 

  • Peel, seed, and chop 2 pounds pumpkin into large bite-size pieces. Set aside.
    Heat 1½ tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet, then add 1 large onion (chopped) and sauté for 3 minutes.
    Add 3 cloves garlic, 1 inch ginger (both grated), and 2 bay leaves and fry for one more minute.
    garlic, ginger, onion and bay leaf in a white skillet
  • Stir in 2 teaspoons curry powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, and ⅓ teaspoon red pepper flakes, and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
    spice mix with curry and turmeric and a wooden spoon in a skillet
  • Add the chopped pumpkin, 1½ cups cooked chickpeas, 2 cups vegetable broth, 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes, and 1 can (15 ounces) coconut milk.
    Season with 1 teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, stir well and simmer on medium heat, uncovered, for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is fork-tender.
    Turn the heat off, then stir in 1 tablespoon maple syrup and 1 teaspoon garam masala.
    creamy curry sauce with pumpkin and chickpeas with hand holding a spoon
  • Serve pumpkin curry in a bowl next to basmati rice, top with 1 squeeze lemon juice and fresh cilantro.
    Pumpkin curry with rice, spoon and fresh parsley

Video

Creamy Pumpkin Curry (one-pot meal)

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for one serving of pumpkin curry out of four servings without rice.
STORAGE & MAKE AHEAD 
Make ahead: pumpkin curry is an excellent recipe for meal prep as it keeps well for days, and the day after it’s made, its flavor is even richer and more intense.
Refrigerator: let the curry cool down, transfer it into an airtight container, and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Freezer: Let the curry cool down completely, transfer it into a freezer-friendly container, and freeze it for up to 3 months.
Thaw & Reheat: defrost pumpkin curry in the fridge over several hours or in the microwave with a thawing setting. Warm in a pot on the stovetop or the microwave. In both cases, you’ll need to stir in a splash of water as the curry will firm up as it sits in the fridge.
ALSO ON THIS PAGE

Nutrition

Calories: 477kcal, Carbohydrates: 51g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 20g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 1589mg, Dietary Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 18g, Vitamin A: 19608IU, Vitamin B6: 1mg, Vitamin C: 35mg, Vitamin E: 5mg, Vitamin K: 15µg, Calcium: 167mg, Folate: 176µg, Iron: 9mg, Manganese: 2mg, Magnesium: 137mg, Zinc: 3mg
Tried this recipe? Leave a comment below or mention @theplantbasedschool on Instagram. We are also on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok.

If you liked this pumpkin curry recipe, you might also enjoy:


Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating