Cooking, Vegan, Vegetarian
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Butternut Squash, Chickpea and Spinach Curry

butternut squash curry

Butternut Squash, Chickpea and Spinach Curry

Butternut Squash, Chickpea and Spinach Curry

This has been a great couple of weeks for festivities. Diwali, Halloween, Day of the Dead last week, and Guy Fawkes coming up. It certainly takes the bite out of the impending Winter!

I always like to celebrate anything like this with food if I can, hey, I don’t need an excuse I know, even if it’s just for me, or, better again with friends. Last week was busy but I did sneak in a dish that would in some way cover Diwali and Halloween, well, kind of.

Diwali being a Hindu festival is all about vegetarian food, particularly curry, snacks and sweets. As for Halloween, well, Halloween is about spooks and scary things, but also pumpkins, so I thought, why not make a veggie curry with pumpkin in? Or, in this case, butternut squash.

I had an ulterior motive, I felt I needed a few veggie days, or veggie meals at least. I usually have quite a balanced diet but lately I’ve been buying lunch out alot more than usual, and as I work so near to delicious Brindisa, my diet has been leaning heavily on the meat side. So, beans, veg, tomato and coconut seemed like a good alternative to a chorizo stew!

It’s very easy and very light. I made this on a weekday evening and it was absolutely manageable. The measurements are loose as always, feel free to experiment, it’s more about the spices and the flavours in the sauce. I used a small butternut squash about 6-8 inches high. The spice blend is very basic. I just used what I had in my cupboard. It works, though!

This will serve 4. I served it with steamed basmati rice. It keeps well, indeed like most tomato based dishes, tastes better the next day.


1 butternut squash, 6-8 inches high, peeled and diced with seeds scooped out
200g spinach, washed and excess water squeezed out, chopped
1 tin chickpeas
1 tin tomatoes
1 tin coconut milk
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped. More if you like it very hot!
thumb size amount of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
A handful of chopped fresh coriander
Half a lemon


1 tbsp cumin seed
1 tbsp coriander seed
1/2 tbsp turmeric
8 black peppercorns


Grind the spices in a pestle & mortar.
Fry the onion until translucent over a medium heat in some oil (sunflower or groundnut are my choices).
Add the garlic, ginger and chilli for a minute or so.
Add the spices for a minute or so, you’ll start to smell them as they temper.
Add the butternut squash and coat in the ingredients in the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the tomatoes and coconut milk, and cook for 10-15 minutes until the squash is cooked and you can push a fork through it.
Drain the chickpeas and add to the sauce. Also add the spinach.
When the spinach is wilted and the chickpeas are warmed through, add the coriander and a squeeze of lemon juice. The lemon juice lifts the flavour nicely, taste as you go.
Salt to taste and serve with rice and/or flatbreads.

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  1. nom nom nom! I know what you mean about needing the veggie days, there comes a time when even Niamh needs a break from chorizo! I also made a pumpkin recipe, must get round to posting it, your creation looks delicious though, nice and light and I love the coconut in there.

  2. I always turn to curry when I have veggie days. I’ve never enjoyed butternut squash as I find it too sweet for my tastes, but I think this might change my mind…

  3. I think I’m in need of some veggie days too! For some reason, I have been overindulging constantly since I booked up – I had a steak and two glasses of wine at lunch today!!

    Great use of bn squash – yummmm!

    • I will be cooking this tonight for sure!! Curious about the coconut milk in there. Interesting . . I usually use stock. Sure it will be as delicious as it looks. Thanks!

  4. plutosangel – thanks!

    Loving Annie – thank you! It’s very simple really, takes no great talent :-)

    Helen – nom nom nom! I fear a chorizo overdose, and I am in Barcelona this weekend! Eeeek. Looking forward to your pumpkin recipe!

    Lizzie – you can’t beat curry! I agree, I find butternut squash too sweet unless paired with something bitter like spinach. Mature spinach is best.

    beth – thanks!

    kittie – I need lots of them! Lol, sounds like a nice lunch :-)

    leanna – thanks and let me know hows you get on.

  5. ttfn300 – thanks!

    Christie – cheers, I prefer to use a more mature coarse spinach as I prefer the flavour and it counters the butternut squash better, this time I’d to use a young one.

  6. As the weather gets colder, I just indulge more, so yes, veggie days are essential… This still looks like a pretty idulgent way to get your greens (and oranges!). Yum!

  7. realfoodlover says

    Hi I found your blog through my Twitter friend, Foodie Guide. Sorry I missed the recent get-together! I love this recipe (although would omit the tomatoes which do not agree with me).

    Butternut squash and coconut milk is a winner. It’s a great way to cook squash and goes well with Christmas-type meals by giving balance and colour.

    I will return!

  8. Jon Harris says

    thumb size amount of chilli, peeled and finely chopped

    shouldnt this read ginger?

  9. Heather – hope you enjoyed it!

    Jeanne – agreed – I don’t have enough veggie days.

    realfoodlover – hello! I do love tomatoes in this but they’re not for everyone. It is quite festive too, I suppose!

    Jon – er, yes – *blush* – I need a sub editor or more time to check myself. I’ve edited. Thanks for pointing it out!

  10. Anne says

    Made this last night — excellent! Even with ground spices (including ginger and chili because that’s what I had) — the mark of a good recipe that it survives those downgrades and still excels. This is the first vegan recipe that will become a regular for my household.

  11. This recipe is fantastic – also works beautifully with sweet potatoes which I substitued when I couldn’t get butternut squash. Thanks, Niamh – my first visit to your site, but I will be back : – ) Happy cooking!

  12. Webb says

    This was great. I only had desiccated coconut in the house so i waited and added it towards the end, turned out beautifully, Used red chilli too but dont thinkout r t the difference was massive.
    I’ll use tinned chick peas rather than dried next time, i think they were a bit old ended up drier than I would have liked. No doubt this will become a regular feature at my table.

  13. Amardeep says

    I have just made this and it was amazing. Thanks for posting the recipe.

  14. Amber Gage says

    Delicious and so versitile – my great friend and superb cook Charlie McVeigh knocked this recipe together for dinner last week served with Lamb and it’s certainly the best curry I’ve had in a long time. Thank you.

  15. This recipe is delicious and easy….. Nice with pre cooked cubed leg of lamb as a meaty alternative!!!

  16. Annemarie says

    I had this in a pub this week made with lentils instead of chick peas and it tasted fab. So glad i could find the recipe. Thanks will try it this weekend

  17. I am in love with this!
    I have made it 4 times now. Has a great reception with both my vege and met eating friends. Divine
    Thank you

  18. I agree with Gabi – I just made this and even my totally carnivorous boyfriend came back for seconds and thirds :-) Yum…

  19. Just made it. Amazing. Quicker than I thought too. What a fantastic recipe. Tasted like something from jai Krishna! I left out the chillies so I can try it out the leftovers on the kids tomorrow. Thanks

  20. stressymum says

    Instead of coconut milk, use a combination of veggie stock and thicken with creme fraiche or greek yoghurt. Works well too. Will be cooking this tonight for me and my 3 boys!

  21. Carolyn says

    Lovely, made this few weeks ago and it was lovely. Going to make again this week, will become a favourite I think! Thanks

  22. I’ve just made it (with celery instead of oinion tho) and it is georgeous. Thank you very much for the recipie.

  23. Kath says

    Well done,
    I have just cooked this curry and it is fantastic! Tastes and looks great.
    Thanks so much for the recipie!

  24. I cooked this last night but didn’t have any spinach and it was delicious!

    I added more ginger with a good dollop of tamarind paste towards the end.

    Leftovers for supper tonight!

  25. Andrea says

    Found this recipe last year, and have been using it at least every month since. Have made it for visitors, and passed on to friends and family. The only thing we do differently is use fresh coriander. Awesome awesome dish, thanks so much!!

  26. angie says

    I am as we speak making this,I adore cooking and always looking for new ideas . We never have veggie curries but this one is a big hit :) very happy with results xxx

  27. Bubblefaerz kitchen says

    This recipe is just gorgeous! Made it last week, myself, my two yr old and his meat eating daddy loved it! It was even better a day later as a work lunch with toasted pitta breads to dip in! Its on the menu again tonight!! Thanks for the inspiration!!

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  30. richard knights says

    Have just made this for my family. Delicious and a big hit, thankyou

  31. I hardly ever eat veggie these days, so I feel very virtuous after eating this! It’s properly delicious too :)

    I roasted the squash first and put it in at the same time as the spinach, as I always prefer the texture and taste of squash once it’s been roasted. (I also put a big dollop of creme fraiche on top, because I like to take healthy things and corrupt them ;)

  32. Just wanted to say that this is a great recipe. I made it a couple of months ago and since then it has become a regular on my dining table. It’s a really good way to use butternut squash.

  33. I’ve made this curry about three times now and it has turned out a treat. Thanks for the recipe, much appreciated!

  34. wieowie says

    We didn’t replace anything and loved it! thanks for the recipe, we’ll keep on making it in the future!

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  36. This is a great recipe – thank you. Lovely with chapati. Add bits of cauliflower for a nice variant.

  37. Bethany says

    this recipe is delicious! we’ve made it three or four times, we’re actually making it now! quick, easy and absolutely divine!
    TRY IT!:)

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  40. Thank you everyone for your lovely comments. Really pleased you are enjoying the recipe so much. Stay tuned for more curry recipes soon :)

  41. Alice says

    I’ve never cooked a curry before…have been on a diet for about a month aaand have been trying to eat less meat too! This is just about the yummiest thing I have ever had the pleasure of cooking and eating! Thank you so much for the recipe, glad I have something tasty to make for my veggie friends too now :)

  42. A lovely curry that actually felt healthy! Thank you for the recipe – I even posted a picture on my blog…though I think I overdid the turmeric a little – ours tongue’s were bright yellow! :)

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  44. Luane says

    Delicious! I’m just having the leftovers for my lunch :-) I can’t wait to make this again!!

  45. Bex says


    I’m just wondering how many people this will feed? I’ve a yoga and dinner night coming up with 6 people so I’m wondering if I would need 2 lots?

  46. Thank you so much for posting this recipe – it tasted as wonderful as it looked, and I can’t wait to make it again :)

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  48. This is the second time I’ve made this wholesome and delicious curry – thank you for a great recipe.

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  50. David Lees says

    No one else has asked, but I’ve not used it before, so how big a tin of coconut milk? I’ve seen big & small tins.

    • Hi David. Standard here approx 400ml from memory. Same size as a tin of tomatoes or beans. Hope that helps and will update the recipe.

  51. I always struggle to think of meals to cook for vegetarian friends. I love the challenge though. This recipe is a mouthwatering life saver! Why have I not made this curry for myself before, let alone my vegetarian pals.
    This is going in my book of firm favourites. Thank you so much.
    This is blog worthy indeed.

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  53. Laz says

    Made this recently and it was fab! And my husband has been requesting it so must have been good! It reminds me of a side dish my mum would always do with a curry…

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  57. Arianha says

    This sounds like a nice recipe for a cold winter day, and is a perfect dish for when you don’t want to eat any meat, but fancy something that is filling! Definitely going to try making it soon :)

  58. Oh man that looks as good as it tastes, and I haven’t even tasted it yet that’s how good it is. I had something similar in River Cottage, before Christmas. It was OK but yours is the winner R.C. was missing the spinach and glaze that yours has. River Cottage is generally worth a visit.
    Another superb post.
    Happy New Year

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  61. Reblogged this on Betula Stone Style and commented:
    My fabulous sister in law made this recently – it’s a dream veggie curry.

Over to you! Your comments - I would love to hear from you :)