A tasty, warming, and delicious vegetarian curry recipe with baked butternut squash, chickpeas and spinach in a creamy lightly spiced sauce. This curry is quick, easy and weeknight friendly. It also tastes even better the next day and freezes well, making it the perfect make-ahead meal.
The post contains additional information and helpful tips to ensure the recipe turns out great the first time. Please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end if you are in a hurry!
✅ 5 reasons why you will love this recipe:
- Healthy, satisfying and utterly yummy - if you are craving comfort food, this curry recipe has got you covered.
- Enjoy the sweetness and soft texture of roast squash - bake the butternut squash in the oven or use your air fryer to save time.
- Easy-to-find ingredients - all the ingredients can be found in your local grocery store.
- Easy, quick and weeknight friendly - with a 30-40 minute cook time.
- It tastes even better the next day - an ideal candidate for a make ahead meal. It freezes well too.
🛒 Ingredients & variations:
- Butternut squash, canned chickpeas and spinach are the key ingredients in this recipe.
- Sweet potato or pumpkin can be used instead of squash. Use the same volume and roast first. The roasting time should be similar. Just make sure they are starting to brown and that you can easily get a fork through them when you remove them from the oven.
- The creamy curry sauce is made from curry powder, garam masala, ground turmeric, ground cumin, vegetable stock and sour cream. Swap the sour cream for dairy-free sour cream to make this recipe vegan.
- Fresh coriander and toasted peanuts are added when serving. These are optional. The curry will still be yummy without them, but they do bring additional freshness, crunch and protein.
- Green chilli adds a moderate heat. You can switch this for chilli powder or reduce or omit the chilli if you are sensitive to spice.
🧑🍳 Butternut Squash & Chickpea Curry In 5 Simple Steps
1. Bake the squash in the oven or air fryer
Oven: Heat your oven to 200C of 400F. Place the butternut squash pieces into a baking dish. Add olive oil and salt and mix with your hands until the squash pieces are evenly coated. Bake for 25-35 minutes, turning halfway until the squash pieces start to brown, and you can easily put a fork through them.
Air Fryer: Heat the air fryer to 200C or 390F. Place the butternut squash pieces into a bowl and mix with your hands until the squash pieces are evenly coated. Transfer to the air fryer basket when the air fryer is hot and cook for 20 minutes, turning halfway.
Top tip: cooking times can vary depending on your oven or air fryer. Check on the pieces every 10 minutes and turn regularly to ensure the butternut squash roasts evenly and does not burn. The butternut squash is done when it is brown and you can easily get a fork through it. If in doubt taste a piece to check.
2. Fry the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli
Place a large frying pan or Dutch oven on a medium heat, add oil and gently fry the onion, garlic and ginger for around 5 minutes until the onion is translucent.
3. Toast the peanuts
You can toast the peanuts while the onion cooks - it only takes a few minutes. Place a small frying pan on a medium to high heat and add the peanuts. Toast for a few minutes, shaking the pan regularly to ensure they cook evenly. Remove them from the pan and set them aside when they begin to brown.
Top tip: toasting nuts is a quick process. They can go from nicely browned to burnt in a matter of seconds so make sure you keep an eye on them.
4. Simmer the curry
When the onion is translucent and softened you can add the curry powder, garam masala, ground cumin and turmeric. Pour in the vegetable stock, add the tomato puree, spinach, and chickpeas and simmer for a few minutes until the spinach is wilted. Then add the sour cream and simmer for approximately 5 more minutes until the chickpeas are tender.
5. Add squash and serve
Remove the squash from the oven when it is done and add it to the curry. Top with fresh coriander and toasted peanuts. Serve with rice or naan bread.
⏳ Time-saving tips
Get a curry in a hurry with these time-saving hacks:
- Use pre-cut squash - it's a little more expensive but will save time on peeling, de-seeding and chopping.
- Roast your squash in the air fryer - if you have an air fryer, use it to bake the squash. It will be at least 10 minutes quicker than using the oven.
- Serve with pre-cooked microwaveable rice - it only takes a few minutes to prepare and saves on washing up too.
The skin is perfectly edible, just make sure you wash the squash first to get rid of any nasties. I tend to peel butternut squash before I bake it, because I prefer a smooth and soft texture.
Butternut squash is great for freezing. Prep it first, peeling if you don't want the skin and cutting it into pieces, place it into a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. You can roast the frozen butternut squash. Just allow a little more time. It will take longer to cook than room temperature squash.
Butternut squash is certainly one of the starchier vegetables out there. It is a complex carbohydrate. This means it's digested more slowly than a simple carb like potato chips and won't spike your blood sugar levels. It is advisable to eat squash in moderation if you are following a low-carb diet.
Sweet potatoes have twice as many carbs and calories as butternut squash. Sweet potatoes are nutritious, a good source of fibre and still considered a healthy choice. Opt for butternut squash if you are following a low-carb diet.
📦 Storage & freezing instructions
This butternut squash curry is one of those dishes that can taste even better the next day, making it the perfect make-ahead meal. Just place any leftovers or additional portions in airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Make sure you reheat the leftovers thoroughly on the stove or in the microwave
A note on rice: do not store additional or leftover curry portions with rice. Leftover rice can grow nasty bacteria, so it's best not to risk it and cook fresh rice each time. Any leftover rice you do decide to keep should be refrigerated as soon as it is cool, consumed within 24 hours and reheated until it is piping hot.
You can freeze the butternut squash and chickpea curry for up to 3 months. Just portion it out into airtight containers and place in the freezer when cool. Remove it from the freezer 12-24 hours before you intend to eat it and defrost in the fridge. Then reheat in the stove or on the microwave and serve with freshly cooked rice or naan.
🥘 Check out my other easy curry recipes
Curries are warming, delicious and nutritious. They also create tasty leftovers and freeze well. If you enjoyed this recipe, you'll love these other easy curry recipes too.
Did you try this recipe? It would be really great if you could leave a comment and a star rating ⭐️. I would love to receive your feedback and know that other readers find it helpful too.
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