Here’s the easy weeknight vegan pumpkin curry recipe you’ve been looking for! It’s super comforting, with a Thai yellow curry coconut broth and plenty of hearty fall vegetables. Serve over steamed jasmine rice for a satisfying plant-based and gluten free dinner.
There’s something about October that makes me want to eat orange meals. It must be because pumpkins are everywhere these days. And they’re not just for carving!
From yellow curry to yellow bell pepper to tender pumpkin, this creamy vegan pumpkin curry recipe takes orange dinner very seriously. Spooned over white jasmine rice, before you know it you’re looking at a steaming plate of orange that just screams October. So comforting, right?
Curry dishes are a favorite in our house. They’re incredibly flavorful, but surprisingly easy to throw together. If you don’t have pumpkin, you can actually substitute with another fall squash, like Kabocha or butternut.
Intimidated by making curry at home? It couldn’t be easier, but you should probably know a few things before getting started…
What’s the difference between different Thai curry pastes?
This pumpkin curry gets a lot of its flavoring from Thai ingredients. While there are millions of variations on curry around the world, Thai curries are especially flavorful. Like many Thai dishes, they’re tangy, sweet and salty.
You’ve probably seen all the different colors and flavors of curry paste for sale, not to mention dried curry spices. But really, these store-bought options just scratch the surface of the deep and delicious world of curries.
In fact, the word curry itself means something like “stir fry.” It doesn’t have a specific flavor profile or set of ingredients. So the possibilities are truly endless!
When it comes to south Asian cuisine, curry pastes are more common than dried spices. They’re usually made with a mixture of fresh peppers, lemongrass, ginger, and aromatics like garlic, shallots and onions.
You can make your own in a food processor, but there are also very high-quality store-bought curry pastes.
Most common Asian curry pastes, and the differences between them:
- Red curry is generally pretty spicy. It gets its signature color from red chili peppers. Less spicy versions swap peppers for chili powder. Note that if you’re vegetarian, red curry paste often includes shrimp. It’s delicious in our red curry almond butter sauce used to coat zucchini noodles. You can make your own red curry paste at home too! It’s fantastic in this Thai Red Curry Pumpkin Soup topped with crispy tofu.
- Green curry is a brighter and more herby paste. Its color comes from fresh herbs. Think Thai basil and cilantro. There’s usually lemongrass and ginger, as well as green chili peppers. This veggie-packed vegan Thai green curry from Lazy Cat Kitchen is a delicious way to bring more green to your plate.
- You might not be surprised to know that yellow curry is colored from turmeric. Yellow curries, like this vegan pumpkin curry recipe, tend to be a bit sweeter. They also most closely resemble Indian curries.
- Massaman curries tend to be thicker. They come from southern Thailand and usually contain peanuts. Typical massaman curry recipes highlight slow-cooked beef. However, Connoisseurus Veg has a wonderful recipe for vegan massaman curry with sweet potatoes and tofu. Can’t wait to try that!
If you’re not making your own homemade curry paste, there are some great pre-made options. They’ve become quite easy to find at most well-stocked supermarkets.
Thai Kitchen is probably the most common brand, at least in the northeast. They also make gluten free pastes. For guaranteed vegan and gluten free curry paste, look for Mekhala brand. You can find it online if not in person.
How to make Ultra-Flavorful Vegan Curry Sauce
There are a few keys to boosting the flavor of this vegan pumpkin curry recipe. While we use store bought yellow curry paste for a lot of the flavor, we also build in a few extra layers. The result is a deeply complex curry that comes together in just 35 minutes.
First, start by softening aromatics. We use some of the same flavors in the curry paste itself. Onion, ginger, red chile and garlic, to be specific. These classic Thai flavors create the foundation of our vegan pumpkin curry.
Because I’m still on that orange-is-the-new-everything kick, I also tossed in some yellow bell pepper. Of course, if you’re not caught in my monochromatic dinner phase, you could mix things up slightly with a red or green pepper. Ultimately, the bell pepper adds sweetness and extra veggies.
On top of this flavorful foundation sits our curry paste. It’s important to toast the curry paste in a dry pan for a few minutes before adding liquid. You can add it right to the pan with the softened veggies. This allows the spices to bloom and become more fragrant.
You’ll know when you’re ready to add coconut milk from the strong smell of toasting chiles and garlic!
Next, add the liquids and vegetables to build your sauce
After you’ve built the spicy, gingery vegan curry sauce, it’s time to add the liquids and veggies.
This Thai vegan pumpkin curry recipe gets its creaminess from full fat coconut milk. We also use vegetable broth to add more liquid to coat your rice. The rest of the sauce’s flavor comes from soy sauce (or tamari if you’re gluten free). A dash of ground cinnamon also adds nice warming notes to the curry.
When it comes to veggies, pumpkin is obviously the star of this vegan curry recipe. Look for a small cooking pumpkin, not anything that might be carved into a jack-o-lantern. They’re often called sugar pumpkins. If you can’t find one at your grocery store, a small butternut squash would also work for this recipe.
You’ll definitely want to peel your squash first. Pumpkin skin is as tough as it looks, even after cooking. Also, be sure to cut your squash or pumpkin into equal sized cubes. That way, they’ll cook at the same rate. Even though pumpkin is dense and can be hard to cut through, it cooks up pretty quickly in this curry sauce.
A quick note about cutting your pumpkin.
Since it’s round, it may roll around on your cutting board. To avoid a knife slip, slice the bottom and stem end off the squash. That will give you a flat surface to balance the pumpkin on while you slice the rest.
Then, slice the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. You can save these to roast up for snacking! Next, cut each pumpkin half into equal-sized wedges, like you’d cut an apple. Finally, die each wedge into cubes.
Finally, we bring a bit of green to this creamy weeknight Thai pumpkin curry. A head of broccoli, chopped into florets, steams up quickly in your curry sauce. Don’t put the lid back on the pot at this point. The broccoli will stay nice and green without the lid.
After just a few minutes, your broccoli will be fork-tender. Remember, it will keep cooking from all the heat even after you turn off the stove. Now all that’s left to do is to spoon this warming vegan pumpkin curry over freshly steamed jasmine rice.
And there you have it: easy, satisfying plant-based weeknight dinner!
Looking for a few more super flavorful vegan fall dishes? Try Vegan Shakshuka with Tofu, Portobello Mushroom Sheet Pan Fajitas, or Coconut Curry Squash Soup. When in doubt, you can always browse the “dinner category” on our site!
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This is easy weeknight vegan pumpkin curry. It’s comforting, with a yellow curry coconut broth and tons of vegetables. Serve it over jasmine rice for a satisfying vegetarian meal.
- 1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- ½ tbsp ginger, minced
- ½ red fresno chile, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 3 tbsp yellow curry paste
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tsp tamari or soy sauce
- 1 small cooking pumpkin, peeled and cubed into 1 inch pieces*
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1/2–3/4 tsp salt
- 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 lime
- Cooked jasmine rice, for serving
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, chile, and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add the bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes more. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk, vegetable broth, tamari, pumpkin, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, until the pumpkin is fork-tender.
- Add the broccoli florets, and cook, uncovered, for 4-5 minutes, or until broccoli is fork-tender
- Stir in lime juice and top with cilantro. Serve over jasmine rice.
*If you can’t find a pumpkin, a small butternut squash will also work. Just peel it and slice into 1 inch cubes.