Butternut Squash Curry

Difficulty Easy
This butternut squash curry with chickpeas is cozy and hearty. It's easy to make in one pot on the stove, or in your Instant Pot.

If you’re in need of a delicious one-pot meal to keep you cozy during the colder months, look no further! This butternut squash curry is hearty, comforting, and healthy. Squash and chickpeas are simmered together in a creamy Thai coconut red curry with fresh spinach. Serve it with steamed rice and you’re in for a flavorful and comforting meal.

Butternut Squash Curry Ingredients

Butternut squash. Peel and halve it, scoop out the seeds, and cut it into cubes. Feel free to use another type of squash (such as kabocha or acorn squash), or even pumpkin, if you want to mix it up!

Onion, garlic + ginger. Our aromatic base for the butternut squash curry.

Chickpeas. These pack in some extra protein and make the dish even more hearty and satisfying. Sometimes I make this with cooked red or brown lentils instead. You can even sub in some cubed extra-firm tofu if you like.

Thai red curry paste. You can purchase this at your local Asian market or online. Many brands of Thai curry paste will contain shrimp or fish, so make sure to double check the label to find a vegan-friendly option. Our go-to is from the brand Maesri. If Thai curry is too spicy for you, you can also substitute in curry powder, which is usually milder (about 1 teaspoon dry curry powder per 1 tablespoon curry paste).

Coconut milk and vegetable broth. I recommend using full-fat coconut milk for the creamiest butternut squash curry.

Fresh spinach or kale. You can also sub in kale or another type of greens you like.

Tips for the Best Butternut and Chickpea Curry

Bloom the curry paste. This simple step will help you get the most flavor out of your Thai curry paste. You will essentially “fry” it in a small amount of the coconut milk prior to adding the rest of the liquid. The oils in the coconut milk will extract tons of flavor from the curry paste.

How to Make Butternut Squash Curry in the Instant Pot

  1. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Add in 1 tablespoon oil and sauté onion, ginger, and garlic until onion is translucent (about 3 minutes).
  2. Add in the vegetable broth to deglaze the pan. Make sure to scrape up any oniony goodness that might have started sticking to the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  3. Whisk in red curry paste and add in the cubed butternut squash.
  4. Set the vent to Sealing Position. Switch to Pressure Cook (Manual) Mode for 5 minutes on high pressure. Quick release pressure when it’s done.
  5. Turn the Instant Pot back to sauté mode. Stir in the coconut milk and the spinach. (We are adding in the coconut milk last because certain brands have a tendency to curdle when pressure cooked.) Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, until the greens are wilted and the curry is warmed through.

Slow Cooker

For an even more hands-off approach to this curry, feel free to chuck all the ingredients *except* for the greens into your slow cooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. Then add in the greens and allow them to cook for another 3-5 minutes until wilted.

Looking for More Cozy Dinner Recipes?

closeup shot of butternut squash curry in a bowl with steamed white rice

Butternut Squash Curry

This butternut squash curry with chickpeas is cozy and hearty. It's easy to make in one pot on the stove, or in your Instant Pot.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Sarah Sullivan


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or any vegetable oil)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 4 cups)
  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (15 oz) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 bunch baby spinach (about 3-4 cups)

To Serve

  • steamed jasmine or basmati rice
  • fresh chopped cilantro
  • chopped peanuts
  • lime wedges


Stovetop Directions

  • Heat oil in a pot over medium-high. Sauté onions, garlic, and ginger until onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  • "Bloom" the curry paste. Pour about 1/3 of the can of coconut milk into the pot, along with the red curry paste. Fry these together, stirring constantly, for about a minute. This will help you to get the most flavor out of the curry paste.
  • Add in the vegetable broth to deglaze the pot, scraping up any bits that might be sticking to the bottom.
  • Add in the rest of the coconut milk, the butternut squash, and the chickpeas. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until butternut squash is tender.
  • Bring the heat back up to medium and stir in the spinach. Cook for an addition 2-3 minutes, until the greens are wilted and the curry is warmed through.

Instant Pot Directions

  • Set Instant Pot to Sauté Mode. Heat oil, then sauté onions, garlic, and ginger until onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Whisk in vegetable broth and curry paste. Add in butternut squash and chickpeas. Set the vent to Sealing Position and cook on Manual (Pressure Cook) for 5 minutes on High Pressure.
  • Quick release the pressure and set the Instant Pot back to Sauté Mode. Add in coconut milk and spinach and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the greens are wilted and the curry is warmed through.

Serving Butternut Squash Curry

  • Enjoy with steamed rice. Garnish with cilantro, chopped peanuts and a squeeze of lime.



Vegan-friendly Thai curry paste: Certain brands contain fish or shrimp. My favorite vegan-friendly red curry paste is from Maesri. You can check for it at your local Asian market or buy it online. Otherwise, many grocery chains will carry the Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste in their international aisle.
Less spicy: Some Thai curry pastes can be a bit spicy. If you don’t tolerate spice but would still like to enjoy this butternut squash curry, you can substitute in a milder curry powder. Use about 1 tablespoon in this recipe to start. (About 1 teaspoon dry curry powder: 1 tablespoon curry paste is my usual rule of thumb.)
Butternut squash substitutions: You can also prepare this recipe with acorn or kabocha squash, pumpkin, or even sweet potatoes.
Chickpea substitutions: You can substitute in an equal volume (about 1 1/2 cups) cooked red or green lentils, cubed extra firm tofu, or a vegan chicken-style alternative like the kind from Daring Foods.
Did you make this recipe?We’d love for you to leave a review on the website! You can also share a photo on IG and tag @sarahsvegankitchen_ or #sarahsvegankitchen.


  1. 5 stars
    I have an 8 month old baby so I don’t have a lot of time to be in the kitchen cooking. This recipe was quick, nourishing, and tasty. Thank you so much Sarah!!!

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