This creamy kabocha squash curry with chickpeas is richly spiced – but not spicy – with so many layers of flavour. Aside from the dried spices, this weeknight-friendly comfort food requires just 7 core ingredients and it comes together in less than 45 minutes. Vegan, gluten free with a low FODMAP option.
As a dietitian, I’m a big fan of eating with the seasons: we’re not supposed to eat strawberries in December! Seasonal fruits and vegetables will be more affordable and also more nutritious because they aren’t shipped halfway across the globe. So as the weather cools, bring on the squashes. There are so many different types of squash – all of them super tasty and deeply nourishing, with plenty of vitamin A carotenoids to help fight inflammation and fiber to help support gut health.
I love using squash to create plant-based recipes that are as comforting as they are nourishing, like my stuffed acorn squash and winter panzanella with roasted squash. But somehow, I have yet to create a recipe using kabocha squash! I think the only squash recipe in my cookbooks is the spaghetti squash recipe in Good For Your Gut Cookbook (which is very delicious btw) so it’s time to let my love of squash shine here on the blog.
This delicious squash curry was inspired by the flavours of Meera Sodha’s Squash Malai Kari but I have reimagined it as a more stew-like coconut curry.
How to cut kabocha squash
I just love kabocha squash: it’s sweet flavour and creamy texture make any recipe taste a bit more decadent. Sometimes called Japanese pumpkin, kabocha has an edible skin, so there’s no need to peel it!
It’s easier than you think to cut a kabocha squash, just be sure to use a very sharp, long knife. Because you will be eating the peel, wash the outside of the squash well before cutting.
- Because kabocha is relatively flat, I find it easiest to start by inserting the sharp point of the knife into the squash just to the side of the stem. Then slowly bring the knife down into the squash until you’ve cut through one side. Repeat on the other side until you have two halves.
- Place halves cut side down. Trim a slice off the top and bottom of the kabocha squash to reveal the orange flesh inside and scoop out all the pulp and seeds with a spoon.
- Then, turn it flesh side up and start slicing long slices like a melon. If you’re roasting, this is a great place to stop but for this curry, you’re then going to chop each slice up into approximately ¾ inch cubes.
Kabocha Squash Curry Ingredients
This tomato-coconut curry is inspired by Indian flavours, so there are a lot of spices here but you probably already have most of them in your pantry!
- Kabocha squash: sweet, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture and edible peel
- Red onion: adds another layer of subtle sweetness when cooked
- Garlic: I always use big cloves so if yours are small, add 1-2 more!
- Ginger: a staple in my kitchen, adds a zing!
- Crushed or diced tomatoes: creates a layer of umami in this curry, and a boost of veg
- Coconut milk: I use full fat to make this curry extra creamy but you can use light if you prefer
- Chickpeas: each can of chickpeas is ~ 1 1/2 cups cooked if you have them on hand
- Spices: ground cumin, garam masala, turmeric, ground coriander, cinnamon, chile flakes
Kabocha Curry Tips, Tricks + Substitutions
- Can’t find kabocha squash? Substitute pumpkin or butternut squash but maybe throw a teaspoon or so of sugar into the curry as these squashes are less sweet than kabocha. Use your tastebuds and adjust!
- This curry is a great meal prep item as it will easily last for 3-4 days in the fridge – and it tastes even better as it sits! You can also freeze it for up to 1 month.
- Want to boost the plant-based protein in this dish? Add a 2nd can of chickpeas, or 3 cups cooked chickpeas total.
- If you don’t have chickpeas, lentils or white beans would also be delicious.
- Serve this curry as a stew, with naan bread or chapati on the side, or serve over basmati rice, quinoa or millet. When served with a grain, the recipe will easily feed six.
How to make this recipe Low FODMAP
You know me, I will never forget about my low FODMAP folks, so I promise to include low FODMAP variations on my recipes whenever possible. Kabocha squash is a low FODMAP vegetable, so here’s how to adjust the recipe for a fully low FODMAP dish!
- Omit onion and garlic, swap oil for garlic flavoured oil if you wish.
- Use 1 cup coconut milk and 2 cups water total.
- Swap cubed tofu for chickpeas OR, add ¼ cup of chickpeas to each serving after cooking to ensure you stay at the low FODMAP serve.
- Taste and adjust, you might like a little extra spice or salt to make up for the loss of the onion and garlic.
Looking for more low FODMAP recipes? Grab a copy of my book, Good For Your Gut, which has a whole chapter on IBS + Low FODMAP, plus about 30 low FODMAP recipes.
More vegan comfort food recipes
Kabocha Squash Curry with Chickpeas
This creamy kabocha squash curry with chickpeas is richly spiced – but not spicy – with so many layers of flavour. Enjoy with naan, chapati or basmati rice for a healthy + comforting meal!
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 pounds kabocha squash, cut into ¾ inch chunks
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced, see notes for low FODMAP swaps
- 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 14 ounce can of diced or crushed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon dried chile flakes
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 14 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ lime
- chapati, naan , or basmati rice
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, garlic and cook, stirring often, until onion is starting to soften, about 3-5 minutes.
Add canned tomatoes, cumin, garam masala, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon and chile flakes and cook, stirring often for another 3 minutes.
Then pour in coconut milk and water. Add squash and chickpeas and bring to a boil on high heat. Once boiling, lower heat once more to medium and cook until squash is tender and curry has thickened a bit, about 15-18 minutes.
Add a squeeze of lime juice and taste, adjust salt until the flavour really pops (I add a bit more!). Serve with naan, chapati or a grain.
See the blog post for full instructions on the low FODMAP variation!