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Hearty Pumpkin Chickpea Curry that’s infused with Thai-flavors and made in one pot in 40 minutes! It’s the perfect cozy fall dinner or weekly meal prep during pumpkin season. Vegan, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free option.
This Pumpkin Chickpea Curry is loaded with tender pumpkin, hearty chickpeas, aromatic spices, and a creamy coconut milk to tie all of the flavors together. Serve over white rice with an additional squeeze of fresh lime for the ultimate fall meal!
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Thai-Inspired Curry with a Few Twists
It’s well known that Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines of all time. It’s always fresh, flavorful, and easy to pack with as many veggies as possible. If you’re a fellow Thai food lover and enjoy my Best-Ever Thai Green Curry, get ready to say hello to your new favorite Fall dinner. Not only is it absolutely delicious, but it’s packed with wholesome ingredients including fresh pumpkin, red peppers, grated ginger, and creamy coconut milk. Plus, it’s made in 1 pot in just over 30 minutes. Think Thai curry, but with a seasonal twist for the fall and winter months!
Ingredients for Pumpkin Chickpea Curry
This pumpkin chickpea curry has a longer ingredient list than many of my quick and easy dinner mains, but most of the ingredients are easy to find and budget friendly. Here are the basics you won’t want to omit!
- Aromatics: Fresh garlic cloves, shallot, and ginger are sautéed in coconut oil to make a flavorful, aromatic base that highlights the Thai-inspired flavors in this pumpkin curry.
- Cilantro: Fresh cilantro stems add a bright and vibrant flavor element to the curry that enhances the flavors in the dish. I like to use the cilantro stems, partly to reduce food waste, and partly because the stems are the source of the best concentrated flavor. Just like in my Black Bean Soup, don’t be afraid to utilize the full bunch!
- Red curry paste: I used the Thai Kitchen brand and really enjoyed it! It’s not considered authentic, but it is naturally vegan and gluten-free and easily found in most grocery stores. If you prefer to make a homemade curry paste, try this 10-Minute Red Curry Paste Recipe.
- Pumpkin puree: Some curry recipes are thickened with flour, but I like to use unsweetened pumpkin puree for a luscious texture and an even better pumpkin flavor. If you don’t have access to pumpkin puree in stores, try my Homemade Pumpkin Puree.
- Coconut milk: Full-fat coconut milk is a staple in both Indian and Thai curries for a reason. There’s nothing quite like its rich, creamy, velvety texture.
- Veggies: I believe an abundance of fresh veggies is what separates a good curry from a great curry. That’s why this pumpkin chickpea curry is loaded with fresh bites of pumpkin, red bell peppers, and optional Thai chilies or Serrano peppers for an additional kick of heat. If you’re hoping to pack even more nutrition into your curry, don’t be afraid to stir in additional veggies like baby kale or spinach, too!
- Chickpeas: In addition to being rich in plant-based protein, chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are hearty enough to be simmered on the stovetop without becoming mushy. I recommend using a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas to make this weeknight meal quick and easy, but if using chickpeas cooked from scratch, use 1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas.
How to Make Pumpkin Chickpea Curry
- Sauté the shallot, garlic, and ginger in coconut oil until lightly browned. Add the curry paste and cilantro stems and cook for 1-2 minutes to toast the curry paste.
- Add the pumpkin puree, sugar, salt, coconut milk, and water. Mix well and bring to a simmer.
- Stir in the veggies and bring to a boil.
- Simmer until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork and the curry has thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Season with lime juice, and salt to taste.
- Serve while warm over rice with remaining cilantro leaves, or as desired.
Caitlin’s Cooking Tips
- Warm the oil before beginning to sauté. It may seem like no big deal, but properly sautéing the aromatics is essential to building a base with deep, complex flavor. Always heat the coconut oil over medium heat until warm before adding the shallot, garlic, and ginger to the pan. If the aromatics are added while the oil is cold, they will absorb the oil instead of releasing their natural oils and infusing the dish with as much flavor as possible.
- Don’t let the remaining pumpkin puree go to waste! Most store-bought cans of pumpkin puree contain 15 ounces, or about 2 cups of pumpkin puree. Incorporate the remainder of the can into your meal prep and make one of these delicious Vegan & Gluten-Free Pumpkin Recipes!
I personally love serving this creamy curry over warm, fluffy basmati rice with a generous sprinkle of fresh cilantro leaves and a squeeze of lime juice, but it would be truly delicious served over any grain. Try brown rice, Instant Pot Garlic Rice, quinoa, couscous, or barley. Or, enjoy it alone with your favorite flatbread or roti.
How to Store Pumpkin Chickpea Curry
Leftover curry will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer. It’s the perfect meal prep recipe because similar to Vegan Chili, pumpkin chickpea curry will only become more flavorful and delicious as it sits and cools in the refrigerator or freezer.
When ready to reheat, microwave in a microwave-safe bowl or return the pumpkin chickpea curry to a pot or pan on the stovetop and heat over medium-low until warmed through.
Substitutions and Variations
- Milder curry variation: This pumpkin curry is not overtly spicy, but it does have a bit of heat from the Thai chilis/serrano pepper and red curry paste. If you are sensitive to spice, the chili can be omitted and use just 2 tablespoons of curry paste. Taste, and increase the curry paste, as desired.
- Pumpkin substitution: Fresh pie pumpkins can be hard to find. If needed, replace the fresh pumpkin with peeled and cubed butternut squash or kabocha squash.
- Protein substitution: I like to add chickpeas for their creamy heartiness, but tofu is delicious as well. If using, I’d recommend super firm tofu or pressed, extra firm tofu.
- Oil-free option: I love the additional flavor 1 tbsp coconut oil adds to the dish, but if you are oil-free, the aromatics can be sautéed in water or broth for an oil-free version.
It depends! Many store-bought brands are accidentally vegan and made with key aromatics including red chili peppers, garlic, lemongrass, shallots, kaffir lime, and coriander seeds. With that being said, some authentic red curry paste brands do contain non-vegan ingredients. Watch out for ingredients like fermented shrimp paste and fish sauce.
The best creamy curries are made with full-fat coconut milk. This is not the recipe to experiment with substitutions like light coconut milk or watery nut milks such as almond milk. The end result won’t be nearly as creamy or flavorful. Full-fat canned coconut milk is the way to go.
YES. If you are using dried chickpeas, they must be fully cooked and drained before being added to the curry. If needed, check out my Instant Pot method for cooking dried chickpeas in this recipe: How to Make the Best Hummus.
Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊
Vegan Pumpkin Curry
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 shallot fine dice (or sub ¼ cup red onion)
- 2 thai chilis or 1 serrano pepper minced (optional, for spice)
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 " piece fresh ginger finely minced or grated
- 1/4 bunch cilantro stems and leaves divided and finely chopped
- 2-4 tablespoons thai red curry paste*
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- 1/2 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
- 1 15 ounce can full-fat coconut Milk
- 1/2 cup 80 ml water
- 1 red bell pepper cut into small strips
- 3-4 cups peeled and 1” diced pumpkin butternut, or kabocha squash
- 1 15- ounce can chickpeas rinsed and drained
- Juice of 1/2 lime 1-2 tablespoons
- Fresh rice for serving
- Aromatics: Warm the coconut oil in a large sauté pan or pot with a lid over medium heat. Add the shallot, chili (if using), garlic, and ginger and sauté for 3 minutes, until beginning to brown slightly. Add the curry paste and cilantro stems and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes to bring out the flavors in the curry paste.
- Make the Sauce: Add the pumpkin puree, sugar, salt, coconut milk, and water to the pan. Mix well and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to ensure the sugar dissolves.
- Add the Veggies: Carefully add the squash, bell pepper, and chickpeas to the pot and mix well. Cover with a lid and bring to a rolling boil.
- Simmer: Remove the lid from the pan and simmer over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the curry starts to splatter, reduce the heat to medium low. The curry is finished when the squash can easily be pierced with a fork and the liquid has thickened to your liking.
- Season & Serve: Turn off the heat and stir in the lime juice, plus any additional salt to taste if necessary. Serve over warm rice and top with the remaining cilantro leaves. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- Curry Paste: Some curry paste contains fish sauce and is not vegan, so be sure to check the ingredients before using. I used the Thai Kitchen brand and enjoyed it!
- Add-Ins: Feel free to swap out the chickpeas for 8-12 ounces of diced super firm tofu! If I want some extra greens I also like to add a couple of handfuls of spinach or chopped kale at the end of cooking as well.