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Vegetarian pumpkin curry

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I am so excited to add this vegetarian pumpkin curry full of Thai flavors to my regular rotation! Simple, flavorful, healthy, easy to make – this curry is a wonderful weeknight meal that I can quickly and easily make right after I come home from work.

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I can’t even begin to describe how good this is! When I made this pumpkin curry I was just curious to see if the Thai flavors worked well with the pumpkin. Well, here I am, making this curry for the second time, and, yes, the pumpkin-Thai combination works amazingly well! This curry has a touch of coconut milk, red curry paste, a little bit of honey – all the basic ingredients you need to make a simple and flavorful Thai curry. Not only is it amazingly tasty, it is also vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, very low in fat and calories! And full of nutrients, thanks to pumpkin! I’d say it’s a pretty good recipe to have in your repertoire!

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To make it even healthier, I am serving this curry over quinoa, which is gluten free and high in protein!

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Keep in mind, that different brands of red curry paste have different levels of spiciness, so start with only 1 tablespoon of red curry paste to see if it’s too spicy for you. Then add 1 more if you like. Also, please note that this is a SAVORY recipe, and the honey here is used to balance the flavors and not to sweeten the curry. That’s why I add the honey only in the very end, after seasoning the curry with salt. That way you use honey to balance the flavors in the same way you use a touch of sugar to balance the acidity of tomatoes in a homemade tomato sauce. So, start only with 1 tablespoon of honey (after seasoning the curry with salt), and then add another one (or 2) if you like. Enjoy!


Vegetarian pumpkin curry

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: makes 4 lunch-size servings. You can (and should!) double this recipe, if you plan to serve this for dinner (larger portions) for 4-6 people!

Vegetarian pumpkin curry


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (from the can or homemade)
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or water
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 can black beans (15 oz, 425 g), rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 can garbanzo beans (7.5 oz, 212 g) or white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons red curry paste (use less or more of the paste, depending on how spicy it is, and then add more, to taste)
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons honey (or, use agave nectar or maple syrup for vegan version)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa


  1. In a large pot or skillet, cook chopped onion and minced garlic in olive oil for about 5 minutes on medium heat until soft.
  2. Add pumpkin, canned tomatoes (chop them up into smaller chunks), vegetable stock (or water), coconut milk, black beans, and garbanzo beans (both beans should be rinsed and drained). Add 1 tablespoon of red curry paste, stir everything well, and season with salt and pepper. Taste your curry, season with more salt if needed. Add another tablespoon of red curry paste, if desired. (Note: various brands of red curry paste have different degrees of spiciness. Be careful not to add too much of red curry paste if it is of a spicier variety).
  3. I find it important that you start adding honey only after you’ve seasoned the curry with salt, because we’re using honey here not to really sweeten the curry but to balance the flavors. Add 1 tablespoon of honey (after seasoning with salt), taste your curry. Add another tablespoon (or 2) of honey if it suits your taste.
  4. Bring to boil, make sure to stir all ingredients well together to combine flavors and spices. Reduce to simmer and cook for 15 minutes on very low simmer.
  5. Serve with quinoa, garnished with chopped green onion.

If you like PUMPKIN, I have a wonderful board on Pinterest for you:

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{ 67 comments… add one }
  • [email protected]'s Recipes November 15, 2013, 7:41 am

    Filling, nutritious and very tasty!

  • Krista November 15, 2013, 7:50 am

    Oh this is lovely, so colorful and full of marvelous flavors and so much goodness. πŸ™‚

  • Denise [email protected] Brazil To You November 15, 2013, 9:32 am

    What a gorgeous, healthy dish, Julia!

  • Ari @ Ari's Menu November 15, 2013, 12:04 pm

    I love this perfect, vegetarian meal Julia! Love the pumpkin, and all of the bold, comforting flavors!

  • Deb November 15, 2013, 12:30 pm

    What an enticing meatless dinner recipe! Loaded with seasonal flavor and warming spices this will satisfy the hungry after a long day!

  • Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen November 15, 2013, 1:44 pm

    Love this healthy meal idea, Julia! Perfect for autumn and to satisfy that comfort food craving. Thank you for sharing!

  • [email protected] November 15, 2013, 2:29 pm

    This looks wonderful Julia! I love throwing vegetarian meals into the dinner rotation, but they have to be full of flavor like this one. Pinning!

  • Daniela November 15, 2013, 3:37 pm

    This looks and sounds amazing, Julia!
    Love the combination of flavors and to pair it with Quinoa is a glorious idea.

  • Yvonne @ bitter baker November 16, 2013, 9:40 am

    This looks amazing! I just need to get some pumpkin puree from the store, then we can get cooking!

  • Irina @ wandercrush November 16, 2013, 4:38 pm

    Sounds so comforting! Coconut milk tends to make any hot dish perfect for cold weather…

  • Matt @ Runner Savvy November 16, 2013, 7:50 pm

    Looks delicious!

  • Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef November 16, 2013, 9:07 pm

    what a gorgeous meal! i love that you serve this w/ quinoa instead of rice too. yum!

  • Anne ~ Uni Homemaker November 17, 2013, 3:59 am

    What a gorgeous meal Julia! I love pumpkin and curry together. Great post!

  • [email protected] November 17, 2013, 1:24 pm

    I love the combo of pumpkin and garbanzo beans! Never used them together in a curry, but you know I will! Inspired dish – thanks.

  • Rika November 18, 2013, 1:08 pm

    Such gorgeous and colorful curry, Julia, did I see green scallions?! Love them! Quinoa is my favorite! Not a huge fan of honey, but I can imagine using raw sugar or a pinch of grated apple in the curry!

  • Denise @ Go Cheap or Go Home November 18, 2013, 8:54 pm

    WOW. Cannot wait to make this. I love finding recipes that prove to me I actually can make things like curry. And that I am not the only one who could live off chickpeas and quinoa!

  • charlene November 18, 2013, 9:20 pm

    Is there a difference in curry powder or curry paste.

    • Julia November 22, 2013, 6:09 pm

      Yes! Big difference. Red curry paste has a completely different flavor and texture than curry powder. Red curry paste is a blend of different herbs and spices with shrimp paste, with red chili being the dominating flavor. Red curry paste has a paste texture. Curry powder is usually a blend of the following DRY ingredients: turmeric, paprika, coriander, cumin, ginger, cloves, caraway, cayenne, and some other spices.

  • Gilda November 20, 2013, 6:21 pm

    Sounds great! Canned coconut milk or carton one (Cow milk substitute one)?

    • Julia November 22, 2013, 5:58 pm

      I’ve used canned coconut milk that I buy at Asian stores. I just looked at the ingredient list on the can and it says it’s made from the coconut extract.

  • Suzanne January 6, 2014, 5:13 pm

    Do you drain/rinse your beans before adding?

    • Julia January 7, 2014, 3:25 pm

      Yes, I drain them and rinse them! I can’t believe I didn’t mention this important detail in the recipe – will add it right now!

  • Susie January 8, 2014, 8:32 pm

    I have made this several times now and we love it. Thank you for the recipe! Keep em coming!!

    • Julia January 9, 2014, 2:31 pm

      Susie, thank you! πŸ™‚ So glad you liked the recipe! πŸ™‚

  • jen white February 13, 2014, 4:16 pm

    Is green curry paste ok?

    • Julia February 17, 2014, 3:01 pm

      Hi Jen, I have not tried this recipe with green curry, but if you like green curry flavor, I don’t see why not!

  • Dianne February 17, 2014, 8:29 am

    This looks great – you do have to be careful if you want it to be gluten-free to read the curry paste label. A lot of them have msg. πŸ™

  • Katie February 28, 2014, 1:16 pm

    This recipe looks delicious! I bought the ingredients, and I’m making it in just a few minutes. Your pictures are beautiful. Could you tell me what kind of camera and lens you use?

    • Julia March 3, 2014, 3:02 pm

      Thank you, Katie! πŸ™‚ My gear is embarrassingly simple and cheap. πŸ™‚ I have a very old Nikon D80 DSLR camera (camera body) that is not produced any more, but you can buy used ones for about $300! That’s cheap! But the most important part is actually the lense – the lense that I use is a very basic 50mm Nikon lense – Nikon Normal AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Autofocus Lens. It costs around $100 – I bought it several years ago at B&H (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/). This $100 lense is truly a classic – it will fit just about any Nikon camera body and it’s excellent for food photos or portraits! Canon has a similar $100 lense. I love this lense so much – don’t think I will need any camera upgrade any time soon unless my camera breaks of course. πŸ™‚

  • Natalie March 1, 2014, 11:09 am

    Pumpkin is widely used in Thai curries.

    • Julia March 3, 2014, 2:55 pm

      Good to know! Didn’t know that – but no wonder, pumpkin is a natural ingredient to go in curries!

  • Alex May 12, 2014, 9:39 pm

    I just made this dish. Omgosh it is amazing! Fabulous recipe! (I added an extra 1/4 cup of coconut milk because I am obsessed with coconut milk right now). Thanks! I will be making this again for sure! πŸ™‚

    • Julia July 7, 2014, 8:25 pm

      Alex, so happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe! It’s one of my favorites on this site! And yes, adding more coconut milk never hurts curry recipe! πŸ™‚

  • Felicity May 24, 2014, 9:02 pm

    Looks amazing. Has definitely given me some inspiration. Just a fyi most vegans won’t eat honey…. but there are other sweet substitutes like agave syrup or maple syrup. Love the recipe though! Thanks πŸ™‚

    • Julia July 7, 2014, 8:24 pm

      Felicity, thank you for your tips – I will add your suggestions in the ingredient portion of the recipe!

  • Karen June 27, 2014, 5:55 pm

    This dish was really good! I added the entire can of full fat coconut milk instead because I love the flavor. Yum!

    • Julia July 7, 2014, 8:23 pm

      Thanks, Karen! Yes, adding the entire can of coconut milk is totally a great idea!

  • Kaileen July 15, 2014, 6:26 pm

    Just made this for dinner and it was so yummy! Going to make it over and over.

    • Julia July 23, 2014, 11:59 pm

      Kaileen – I am so glad you liked it! Thank you for stopping by and commenting! It’s one of my most favorite dishes! Healthy, too!

  • Leaf September 18, 2014, 8:15 pm

    Switched to a vegan diet two months ago- this is far and away the best thing I’ve eaten since! Thank you so much- it’s amazing!

    • Julia September 19, 2014, 2:20 pm

      Leaf, thank you so much – your comment made my day! I am glad you enjoyed this curry!

  • Joe October 9, 2014, 12:07 am

    Hey Julia, I thoroughly enjoyed this recipe! I hope you don’t mind, but I posted on my blog an easier, tweaked version on my blog! I gave you credit and linked to you of course. Thanks!

    • Julia October 9, 2014, 2:41 pm

      Joe, thank you so much for trying my recipe – glad you liked it! I surely do. πŸ™‚ I do not mind at all that you made this and posted on your site with a link back – you did everything properly, thank you! πŸ™‚

  • Cassie Dowling October 22, 2014, 2:05 pm

    We absolutely love your pumpkin curry! We loved it so much that we featured it in one of our latest wedding blog posts – β€œ13 Pumpkin Foods to Serve at Your Wedding.” With the blog post we are also doing a pumpkin recipe contest. Even though we featured your recipe on the blog, please feel free to also submit a recipe for the contest!

    Thanks so much for posting such a healthy pumpkin recipe, that’s also delicious!

    • Julia November 5, 2014, 2:59 pm

      Thanks! πŸ™‚

  • Brianna Gage October 29, 2014, 4:30 pm

    Can you use unsweetened almond-coconut milk or do I need real coconut milk?

    • Julia November 5, 2014, 2:58 pm

      I think you can use almond coconut milk just fine, even if it’s thinner than real coconut milk. If curry is too thin, then just add a little extra pumpkin puree.

  • jen December 9, 2014, 5:20 pm

    This was really good! I doubled it b/c I didn’t want to be left with half a can of pumpkin and half a can of garbanzos and at first I thought that was a mistake. But once the flavors had a chance to meld it was delicious. I didn’t serve it over anything, just on its own, kind of like a Thai chili. Yum!

  • Maggie December 23, 2014, 9:44 pm

    This looks great! I want to make it for Christmas Eve dinner but my mom is allergic to coconut milk and she and my dad are on a very low fat diet anyways. Do you think another dairy free milk could be used without changing the dish too much? Soy, almond, quinoa….? Thanks!!

  • dayjaa February 18, 2015, 12:35 pm

    I continue to make this curry over and over again. I love everything in it and I’ve added spinach and kale just to add green. delicious and very healthy!!!

  • Laura July 26, 2015, 2:35 pm

    This is NOT vegetarian if it has shrimp paste in it ( in the sauce.) You may rethink changing the title. I am deathly allergic to shellfish and was searching for Thai recipes that are safe for me. If I wasn’t careful trusting this title could have gotten me into real trouble. Shrimp in any amount isn’t vegetarian πŸ™‚

  • Beth September 20, 2015, 8:18 pm

    this recipe was delicious!! I ended up adding ground red pepper to give it more of a kick. The curry paste I got wasn’t doing it! We served it over wheat berries. Thanks for sharing!

  • amanda June 10, 2016, 4:48 am

    Looks lovely – but an important note. The inclusion of honey means the recipe is not vegan. πŸ™‚

  • Raluca June 30, 2016, 4:36 pm

    Your recipe is delicious. I’ve tried it many times and it was amazing. I have one question though, now it’s not the season for pumpkin, and I can’t find canned pumpkin were I live, canI substitute pumpkin puree with sweet potato puree? I think it’s the same consistency. Thank you

    • Julia July 1, 2016, 6:24 pm

      Hi Raluca,
      Yes, I think you can use sweet potato puree instead of pumpkin. The flavor after all spices are added in should be pretty similar.

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