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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Butternut Squash And Chickpea Curry

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This delicious butternut squash and chickpea curry is packed with Thai and Indian inspired flavors and wholesome ingredients! This vegan curry recipe has the perfect texture, is super satisfying, and also happens to be a one-pot meal. A great, easy dinner for the whole family!

Butternut squash and chickpea curry, served on a white plate with couscous on the side.

If you’re on the hunt for a plant-based recipe that’s as hearty as it is healthy, then this butternut squash chickpea curry dish is for you! Packed with protein-rich chickpeas and nutrient-dense butternut squash, this curry is a powerhouse of nutrition that doesn’t skimp on flavor. 

The unique blend of spices, including cumin, turmeric, and cayenne pepper, gives this dish a delicious kick that sets it apart from your typical plant-based meals. Paired with a side of whole wheat couscous garnished with fresh mint and roasted almonds, this meal is a wholesome, balanced delight that the whole family will love.

What makes this recipe truly stand out, though, is its versatility. You can easily adjust the heat to your liking, and you can switch out the grain to make it a complete meal. Plus, the garnish of fresh cilantro and roasted almonds adds an extra layer of texture and flavor that will have you coming back for seconds. 

This is the perfect recipe for a cozy family meal, a special occasion, or even for meal prep, as the flavors develop even more the next day. And the best part? It’s versatile enough to be enjoyed with basmati rice, jasmine rice, brown rice, or even naan bread for a delicious twist. 

Give this great recipe a try, and you definitely won’t regret it! Whether it is your first time making a vegan curry or you’re a seasoned pro, this chickpea butternut squash curry is about to become your new favorite. Plus, it’s a great way to introduce more plant-based meals into your diet without sacrificing flavor or satisfaction.

👩🏽‍🍳 Why You’ll Love Butternut Squash And Chickpea Curry

  • Plant-Based: This easy curry recipe is completely plant-based, making it a great choice for vegans and vegetarians. It is packed full of nutritious veggies, chickpeas, and a blend of delicious spices.
  • Quick And Easy: Don’t be fooled by the long list of ingredients; this delicious vegetable curry is super simple to prepare. Most of the work involves chopping veggies, and the actual cooking process is straightforward and hands-off. Plus, it’s ready in under an hour, making it a perfect weeknight dinner!
  • Family-Friendly: This Thai and Indian inspired curry is a real crowd-pleaser. It’s mild enough for kids to enjoy (just adjust the spice level to their liking), yet flavorful enough to satisfy the adults. Plus, it’s a great way to sneak some veggies into your family’s diet!
  • Perfect For Beginners: This vegan butternut squash curry with chickpeas is straightforward and easy to follow, making it perfect for those new to cooking. It’s a great way to learn how to build flavors and work with a variety of spices and is even great served at special occasions.

🥘 Ingredients

This easy butternut squash and chickpea curry is a delicious combination of easily accessible ingredients. Whether you’re a regular at your local farmers market or prefer the convenience of grocery stores, you’ll find everything you need without any hassle.

Ingredients for butternut squash and chickpea curry recipe on a tan background.

For The Butternut Chickpea Curry:

  • Chickpeas: These little legumes are the star of the show, providing a hearty texture and a good dose of protein. Remember to rinse and drain the chickpeas before use.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: These sweet, juicy bites add a pop of color and a hint of natural sweetness to this squash curry recipe.
  • Butternut Squash: This is where our curry gets its rich, creamy texture. Butternut squash also adds a subtle sweetness. Remember to peel and chop the squash into similar sized chunks for even cooking. You can also use pre-chopped butternut squash.
  • Red Onion & Garlic: These aromatic ingredients form the flavor foundation of our curry. They add a depth of flavor that complements the sweetness of the squash and tomatoes.
  • Parsley & Cilantro: These herbs add a fresh, earthy flavor to this curried butternut squash dish with chickpeas. They also provide a beautiful green contrast to the warm colors of the squash and tomatoes.
  • Spices: Ground cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and paprika are the heart of any curry, adding warmth and depth. Adjust the amount of spice to your taste, and remember, you can always add more later! We’ll also add salt and black pepper.
  • Tomato Paste & Coconut Sugar: These ingredients add a touch of sweetness and umami, enhancing the overall flavor of this simple curry.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This is used to sauté our onions and garlic, and it also adds a hint of richness to the curry.
  • Water: This is used to create the right consistency for our dish. 

For The Couscous:

  • Whole Wheat Couscous: This simple grain is a perfect companion for this chickpeas and butternut squash recipe, soaking up all the delicious flavors.
  • Vegetable Stock: This adds a depth of flavor to the couscous, making it more than just a side dish.
  • Fresh Mint: Adding a refreshing twist to the couscous, mint also complements the flavors in the dish.
  • Sliced Roasted Almonds: These add a delightful crunch to the couscous, providing a contrast to its soft texture. 

🍲 Ingredient Substitutions

  • Squash: Sweet potatoes are a fantastic substitute for butternut squash. They offer a similar sweetness and color, and require the same cooking time. You can also use other types of squash in this recipe. Acorn or kabocha squash would both work well for a winter squash curry. Just make sure to peel and chop them into similar sized chunks to ensure even cooking.
  • Chickpeas: If you don’t have canned chickpeas, you can use dry chickpeas. Just make sure to soak them overnight, and pressure cook them before adding to the dish. You can also substitute chickpeas with other lentils like white beans for a different texture.
  • Olive Oil: You can replace this with any other neutrally flavored oil that you prefer, such as avocado oil or coconut oil.
  • Red Onion: You can use white or yellow onion if red onions are unavailable. The flavor will be slightly different but still delicious.
  • Garlic: If you’re out of fresh garlic, garlic powder can be used instead. Use around a quarter teaspoon of garlic powder for each clove of fresh garlic.
  • Tomato Paste: If you don’t have tomato paste, you can use tomato sauce or even a little ketchup. Just adjust the quantity to avoid making the curry too sweet and skip the coconut sugar entirely. 
  • Ground Cumin, Turmeric, Cayenne Pepper, And Paprika: If you don’t have these specific spices, you can use a yellow curry powder blend instead. Just adjust the quantity to match your taste preference. It’s not the perfect match, but it can work in a pinch. 
  • Coconut Sugar: You can replace this with any other sweetener you have on hand, such as maple syrup or agave nectar. However, remember that the sweetness level might vary, so adjust accordingly.
  • Whole Wheat Couscous: Quinoa or brown basmati rice can be used in place of whole wheat couscous. They both make a great gluten-free alternative.
  • Vegetable Stock: If you don’t have vegetable stock, you can use water or vegetable broth for this chickpea and butternut curry. For a richer flavor, you can also use light coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk. If you’re not strictly plant-based, chicken broth or stock can be used as well.
  • Roasted Almonds: You can use any other nuts you like or go for some roasted seeds like sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
  • Garnish: If you’re not a fan of cilantro, you can garnish with fresh parsley, mint, or even a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for an added tang. 

🔪 How To Make Butternut Squash And Chickpea Curry

Craving a hearty, flavorful dish? Here’s how to make an easy butternut squash curry with chickpeas that’s delicious and satisfying! For a more detailed guide and nutrition facts, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Prep The Veggies and Squash: Start by chopping your veggies and herbs. For the butternut squash, slice off the top and bottom, then cut it in half widthwise. Peel both halves, cut each half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and chop into cubes.

onions sauteeing in a pot

Sauté Onion And Spices: Heat some oil in a large pot and sauté the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook for about twenty seconds. Stir in the cumin, turmeric, and cayenne pepper, cooking for thirty seconds while stirring continuously. Add the paprika, tomato paste, sugar, and half the cilantro, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir well.

spices and onions sauteeing in a pot

Add Tomatoes And Chickpeas: Next, add the tomatoes and the drained chickpeas to the pot. Stir well, then add the butternut squash and water. Cover the pot with a lid.

chickpeas and other ingredients sauteeing in a pot

Simmer The Curry: Once the curry starts simmering, turn the heat down to low and let it cook covered for about thirty-five minutes.

chickpea curry cooking on the stove

Cook The Couscous: While the creamy curry sauce is simmering, cook the couscous according to package directions using vegetable stock or water. Once it’s cooked, fluff it with a fork and stir in mint and almonds.

bowl of couscous, top view

Garnish And Serve: Garnish the curry with some fresh herbs like cilantro and serve it with the couscous. Enjoy your homemade butternut squash and chickpea curry!

Easy butternut squash and chickpea curry, served on a white plate with couscous on the side.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Properly Prepare Your Butternut Squash: Peeling the butternut squash before chopping it into chunks will make it easier to cook and eat. Make sure you cut up the squash into similar sized chunks, so they all cook evenly. If you’re buying pre-cubed butternut squash, make sure it’s small in size or chop it smaller before using it.
  • Prep Your Chickpeas: Rinse and drain the chickpeas before adding them to your curry. This will remove any excess sodium and improve the overall taste of your dish.
  • Don’t Overcook: Make sure not to cook this creamy butternut squash curry for too long, or the butternut squash will become mushy and overcooked. Turn the heat off once the squash is fork tender.
  • Adjust The Spice Level: Taste your curry for the amount of spice and adjust accordingly. For kids, add less spice and serve it to them first; you can always add more spice and heat to your helping!
  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh ingredients like cherry tomatoes, red onion, garlic, and butternut squash can greatly enhance the flavor of your curry. Always opt for fresh over canned or frozen when possible.
  • Don’t Forget To Garnish: Don’t forget to garnish this chickpea and butternut squash curry with cilantro. It adds an extra pop of color and brings a fresh flavor that compliments the spices beautifully.

📖 Variations

This flavorful butternut squash chickpea curry is so easy to change up! Here are some easy ideas to try:

  • Coconut Squash Curry: If you’re a fan of creamy curries, try adding a can of full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream to this recipe instead of water. It will give the curry a rich, creamy texture and a mildly sweet flavor. Just remember to adjust the Indian spices accordingly, as the coconut milk can mellow down the heat. I recommend adding half a teaspoon of garam masala to balance things out.
  • Extra Protein: If you want to add more protein to this easy butternut squash chickpea curry, consider adding some tofu, tempeh, or cooked red lentils for some plant-based protein. Simply pan-fry it until it’s golden and add it to the curry towards the end of cooking. This will make the dish even more filling and satisfying!
  • Roasted Butternut Squash Chickpea Curry: For a deeper flavor, roast your butternut squash in the oven before adding it to this curry! It’ll have a sweeter, more caramelized flavor.
  • Thai Butternut Squash And Chickpea Curry: To give this delicious vegan curry recipe a Thai cuisine twist, add a teaspoon of Thai red curry paste to the dish. Also, add some fresh ginger, soy sauce, and vegan fish sauce to the mix. Reduce the salt since soy sauce is already salty. Add some fresh lime juice on top of this chickpea butternut curry before serving.
  • More Vegetables: You can easily add more vegetables to this curry. Try adding some diced tomatoes, bell pepper, zucchini, broccoli florets, spaghetti squash, or eggplant for added nutrients. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure all the veggies are cooked properly and are fork tender. Stir your favorite leafy greens like baby spinach or kale in before serving for the perfect curry.
  • Add More Spices: If you love spicy food, add some fresh chili or your favorite chili peppers, or even increase the amount of cayenne pepper in the recipe. Remember, the heat level is entirely up to your preference, so adjust accordingly!

🍽 Serving Suggestions

This vegan butternut squash curry is a versatile dish that can be paired with a variety of sides and mains. Its rich flavors and hearty ingredients make it a great addition to any meal. Here are some of my favorite ways to serve it:

🙌 Dietary Adaptations

This butternut squash and chickpea curry recipe is already vegan, dairy-free, and almost gluten-free, which is great for those with certain dietary restrictions or preferences! However, there is one ingredient that needs a bit of tweaking to make this dish completely gluten-free. 

  • Gluten-Free Option: The whole wheat couscous used in this easy recipe contains gluten. To make this dish entirely gluten-free, you can substitute the whole wheat couscous with a gluten-free grain like quinoa, rice, or millet. All are excellent sources of protein and fiber and will give the dish a similar texture and taste. 
  • Nut-Free Option: This recipe calls for sliced roasted almonds in the couscous. If you have a nut allergy or prefer to avoid nuts, simply omit the almonds. You can replace them with seeds like sunflower or pumpkin seeds for a bit of crunch if you like.
  • Lower Sodium Option: If you’re watching your sodium intake, you can reduce the amount of sea salt in the recipe or use a low-sodium vegetable stock for the couscous. Also, make sure to choose no-salt-added canned chickpeas or cook your own from scratch.

🫙 Storage Directions

  • To Refrigerate: After enjoying this delicious flavorful butternut squash chickpea curry, store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will keep well in the refrigerator for about three to four days.
  • To Freeze: Unfortunately, this particular curry doesn’t freeze well due to the texture of the butternut squash which can become mushy upon thawing.
  • To Reheat: When you’re ready to relish this healthy curry again, simply reheat it in a saucepan over medium heat. You can also microwave it in thirty-second increments till it’s warm all the way through.

❓Recipe FAQs

Do I need to peel butternut squash before cooking it?

Yes, you do need to peel butternut squash before adding it to this curry. The peel of a butternut squash is very tough and inedible. You can bake the butternut squash, and then remove the meat from the peel, but you should not chop the butternut squash and add it to your dishes without peeling it first.

How spicy is this curry?

This curry has a moderate level of spice, but you can adjust this to your taste. If you’re serving this to kids or people who prefer less spicy food, you can start with less spice and add more later if needed.

Can I omit the sugar?

Yes, the coconut sugar in this recipe is optional and can be omitted if preferred. It’s used to balance the flavors in the curry, but the recipe will still taste delicious without it.

Butternut squash and chickpea curry, served on a white plate with couscous on the side.

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📋 Recipe Card

Butternut squash and chickpea curry, served on a white plate with couscous on the side.
Print Recipe
4.86 from 14 votes

Butternut Squash And Chickpea Curry

This delicious butternut squash and chickpea curry is packed with Thai and Indian inspired flavors and wholesome ingredients! This vegan curry has the perfect texture, is super satisfying, and also happens to be a one-pot meal. A great, easy dinner for the whole family!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Thai, Vegan, vegetarian
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 387.3kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

For The Curry

For The Couscous

  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tbsp sliced roasted almonds
Shop Ingredients on Jupiter

Instructions

  • Chop your veggies, herbs and the butternut squash. To cut the squash: slice off the top & bottom, and then cut it in half width wise. Peel both halves. Then cut each half length wise. Scoop out the seeds. Then chop into cubes!
  • Heat oil in a large pot, and add the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook for about 20 seconds, then add the cumin, tumeric and cayenne pepper. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring continuously. Add the paprika, tomato paste, sugar and half the cilantro, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir.
  • Add the tomatoes and the drained chickpeas. Stir and then add the butternut squash and the water, stir and then cover with the lid. Once simmering, turn the heat down to low and cook covered for 35 minutes.
  • Cook couscous according to package directions with vegetable stock or water. Once it’s cooked, fluff with a fork and stir in mint + almonds.
  • Garnish curry with some cilantro and serve with couscous.

Notes

  • Peel the butternut squash before chopping into chunks.
  • Make sure you cut up the squash into similar sized chunks, so they all cook evenly. 
  • Rinse and drain the chickpeas.
  • Taste for the amount of spice and adjust accordingly. For kids, add less spice and serve it to them first; you can always add more spice and heat to your helping!
  • Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container for 3-4 days.
  • Garnish with cilantro for an extra pop of color and freshness.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 387.3kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 13.5g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1470.5mg | Potassium: 868.7mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 6g

    36 responses to “Butternut Squash And Chickpea Curry”

    1. There’s nothing better than a great curry and a vegetarian one like this one is always a special treat! Delicious!5 stars

    2. I love that this is served with couscous! It sounds just incredible, I am a sucker for anything curry. I’ll bet the squash adds a nice sweetness.5 stars

    3. I usually roast butternut squash or use it in soup, but I’ve never put it in a curry before. This is really interesting. I’ll definitely try this recipe. 🙂5 stars

    4. Your cooking instructions refer to adding “half the coriander” in the second bullet point, but I don’t see coriander in the list of ingredients. What is the amount of coriander and when do you add the second half?

      • Hi Linda! Sorry for the confusion! Coriander and cilantro are the same (cilantro is fresh coriander, but there is also ground coriander and coriander seeds which are different). So when the directions say add “half the coriander” – it means “half the cilantro.” I’ve updated the post so that everything reads “cilantro” so that it’s clear! Thanks and hope you like the recipe!

      • Hi Jamir! I’m so glad you liked it! This makes 5 servings, and each serving has ~370 calories. I just updated the recipe with the nutritional info as well. Thanks again!

    5. This was delicious! I had some extra fresh ginger I grated into the pot and it was an amazing counter to the spice! It was a great cold night treat with full flavor and without the calories of take out Indian!

      • Yaay!! I’m so happy to hear that Jen! Love the idea of adding grated fresh ginger to the recipe as well – I’ll be doing that next time! 🙂

      • I think you probably could! I don’t use a crock pot but I’ve heard that you can make almost anything in there. I’m sure the flavors would taste great slow cooked for hours 🙂

    6. I’m not a big fan of the cold either. The curry looks perfect for this time of year when I want something warm and comforting.

    7. That looks really good! I’m thick into baking mode right now (made Red Velvet Cake Balls last night), but I think I might try this tomorrow. It’s cooooold here in the deep south 😉

      ~Tanya

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