This sublime pumpkin curry recipe is a fantastic gluten-free and vegan meal perfect for using all the wonderful pumpkin at this time of year! It’s rich with sweet and savoury flavours, underpinned with bitter notes from nigella seeds and sourness from tangy tamarind. Perfect for fussy children who will enjoy the tasty but mild, non-spicy flavour. Even those who don't like pumpkin find they love this curry so definitely give it a whirl!
If you are working through a load of pumpkin this season (see my other pumpkin recipes here), this is the perfect seasonal fall recipe for you! I developed this vegan pumpkin curry recipe one evening while tinkering around in the kitchen trying to put something together for the family supper. I was not expecting such a successful meal as, let’s face it, pumpkin is not high on the list of kids’ favourites! But amazingly, even my fussiest child loved this curry and it has since been a firm family favourite each Autumn. (My kids have asked to have this pumpkin curry with black rice on Halloween night so that the rice will turn their mouths black!).
Did you know that, like tomatoes, pumpkin is technically a fruit? (due to the fact that it has seeds)
Pumpkins are extremely nutritious being rich in vitamins and minerals (and particularly vitamin A) and fibre but relatively low in calories. The exceptional array of antioxidants in pumpkin can help your eyesight, skin and immune system and even help to reduce the risk of certain illnesses and diseases. (Read this Healthline article and this Medical News Today article for more detail on the health benefits of pumpkin).
Good news for any keto fans out there too… due to its high fibre content, pumpkin is considered to be both low carb and keto-friendly as well! So this vegan pumpkin curry recipe is perfect for keto and low-carb vegans as well!
- Onion, garlic, ginger, oil – the backbone of any good curry!
- Curry powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt – this curry is subtely spiced without any chilli so that it is perfectly child-friendly. This is just how I cook so that we can enjoy family meals – I then add chilli oil or chilli sauce to the adult portions. You could of course add chilli powder or sliced chillis if you want to add some heat!
- Grated pumpkin – feel free to use any type of squash you have available. Butternut squash will also work well if pumpkin is not available.
- Vegetable stock and coconut milk – this is the liquid sauce element of the curry. Adjust the coconut milk to your liking.
- Nigella seeds – also known as black cumin seeds, these are little bitter seeds that provide a wonderful background bitter note to the curry. You could use celery seeds or cumin seeds if you can’t find nigella seeds.
- Tamarind paste – this is a paste from the tamarind fruit which has a wonderful tangy flavour and perfectly balances the other flavours of the curry. You could try using pomegranate molasses or, at a push, marmalade as a substitute (but careful with the sweetness if your pumpkin is also sweet).
- Mango powder – this is not essential but adds another layer of tartness and slight sweetness to the curry. If you don’t have this, just leave it out and your curry will still taste great.
- Curry leaves – I know curry leaves are hard to come by and not everyone will have them. Don’t worry if you don’t have any. They are a “nice to have”. They add a lovely curried flavour but are by no means essential. Having said that, if you do see curry leaves in a shop, buy a big bag of them and keep the bag in the freezer. You can just chuck the curry leaves into the pan straight from the freezer.
- Green Beans - I made this with frozen green beans originally because I wanted to add some greens and I was being lazy so didn’t want to do any chopping. It worked really well so I have kept this as the recipe but I have also since tried it with courgette, sliced into half moons and fried with the onions, which was equally delicious.
This vegan pumpkin curry recipe is super simple and happily bubbles away by itself for most of the cooking time.
- Fry the onion, garlic and ginger in oil until browned.
- Add the spices and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Stir in the pumpkin and add the rest of the ingredients except the green beans.
- Put the lid on and simmer on a lower heat for 40-45 minutes.
- Add green beans for the final 5 minutes.
Serve this pumpkin curry with some brown rice (or cauliflower rice), and sprinkle a little more nigella seeds and fresh coriander (cilantro) on top. You could also serve it with plant-based raita, mango and poppadoms for a true feast! Delicious!
There are lots of substitutions you can make with this vegan pumpkin curry recipe to make it your own.
- Substitute the green beans with courgette, cut into half moons, (fried after the onions and garlic) or add other vegetables as well.
- Add a chilli or two with the garlic and ginger, if you’re not cooking for children or not afraid of heat. Otherwise, serve the children first and then add some chilli oil or chilli sauce to taste.
- You could chop the pumpkin into chunks instead of grating it, but I find this does not go down well with the children who prefer the pumpkin to be inconspicuous and more hidden in the sauce.
- The curry leaves and mango powder are not essential. If you don’t have them at home, just leave them out.
- Tamarind paste gives a pleasant tartness to counter-balance the sweetness of the pumpkin. If you can’t find any, then I would suggest using pomegranate molasses or perhaps some lime juice instead.
Of course, if you really hate pumpkin, then this curry might not be the one for you! It can be substituted for other types of squash but if you're not a fan, why not try one of my other curries, like this amazing family-friendly Mung Bean Curry or my Indonesian Jackfruit Curry instead?
Be careful to frequently wash your hands when handling large amounts of raw pumpkin (like if you’re dissecting and prepping a whole pumpkin). The beta-carotene in the pumpkin can stain your hands slightly orange for a few days and, like many squashes, the pumpkin can ooze out a sort of juice or sap that can cause irritation and peeling of the skin on your hands. The effects are only temporary but it is worth avoiding as it does make your hands feel strange - like the skin has shrunk on them! So please do remember to either wear protective gloves or just wash your hands frequently (much like you would when handling raw beetroot).
Making ahead, Leftovers & Storage
As with all curries, this vegan pumpkin curry improves with time. The flavours deepen and meld together beautifully. This curry will keep perfectly happily in the fridge for 2-3 days so you can make it in advance and store until you need it. I would just leave the green beans out until you re-heat it, so follow the steps up to step 5 and then put it in the fridge and re-heat, and carry on from step 6 when you're ready to serve it.
You can also store this pumpkin curry in the freezer for up to 6 months so I often like to make a big batch of it and store portions in the freezer for an easy vegan meal on another day. Since pumpkins are so large, it's a good way to make use of the pumpkin and reduce its size considerably for storage!
Recipe Card 📖
Amazing Vegan Pumpkin Curry with Green Beans
- 1 onion diced
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 inch piece of ginger grated
- 1 tsp curry powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 400 g pumpkin peeled and grated
- 200 ml vegetable stock
- 100 ml coconut milk
- 1 tsp nigella seeds
- ½ tsp mango powder
- 2 tsp tamarind paste
- a small handful of curry leaves
- 100 g green beans chopped into 1 inch pieces (or frozen ready cut)
- Fry the onion in 2 tbsp coconut oil over a medium heat until soft and golden.1 onion, 2 tbsp coconut oil
- Add garlic and ginger and stir for 1 minute.3 garlic cloves, 1 inch piece of ginger
- Add curry powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt. Stir until fragrant (30 seconds).1 tsp curry powder, ½ tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp coriander powder, ½ tsp salt
- Stir the grated pumpkin in to coat it in the spice mixture. Then add the rest of the ingredients (except the green beans) and stir well. Bring to the boil then down the heat to low, put the lid on and simmer for 40-45 minutes (stirring occasionally) until the pumpkin is soft and the flavours have blended to a rich sauce.400 g pumpkin, 200 ml vegetable stock, 100 ml coconut milk, 1 tsp nigella seeds, ½ tsp mango powder, 2 tsp tamarind paste, a small handful of curry leaves
- Add the green beans and cook for a final 5 minutes with the lid on. (Check the liquid level when you add the green beans. If there is not enough liquid left (you had a particularly thirsty pumpkin perhaps), you may need to add a little more water to ensure the green beans can cook. If there is too much liquid (your pumpkin was still very fresh and didn’t not soak up as much liquid), boil at a higher heat with the lid off instead.)100 g green beans
- Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Serve with rice (or cauliflower rice) and coriander sprinkled on top.
- Place the onion, garlic, ginger and oil to the TM jug and blitz 3 secs / sp. 5. Scrape down the sides with a spatula then set to 5 mins. / 120°C / sp. 1.1 onion, 3 garlic cloves, 1 inch piece of ginger, 2 tbsp coconut oil
- Add the curry powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt, and set to 30 secs. / 120°C / sp. Stir.1 tsp curry powder, ½ tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp coriander powder, ½ tsp salt
- Stir the grated pumpkin in with a spatula, making sure to dislodge any bits stuck to the bottom. Then add the rest of the ingredients (except the green beans). Set to 30 secs. / Rev. sp. 2, then set to 40 mins. / 100°C / sp. Rev. 0.5.400 g pumpkin, 200 ml vegetable stock, 100 ml coconut milk, 1 tsp nigella seeds, ½ tsp mango powder, 2 tsp tamarind paste, a small handful of curry leaves
- Stir in the green beans with a spatula, then set to 5 mins. / 100°C / sp. Rev. 0.5. (add a little more water if it looks too dry – it should be saucey looking).100 g green beans
- Serve with rice (or cauliflower rice) and coriander sprinkled on top.
- You can substitute the green beans with courgette, cut into half moons, or add other vegetables as well.
- Feel free to add a chilli or two with the garlic and ginger, if you’re not cooking for children or not afraid of heat. Otherwise, add some chilli oil or chilli sauce to individual servings.
- The curry leaves and mango powder are not essential. If you don’t have them at home, just leave them out. Tamarind paste gives a pleasant tartness to counter-balance the sweetness of the pumpkin. If you can’t find any, then substitute with pomegranate molasses or perhaps some lime juice.
- Remember to wear protective gloves or wash your hands frequently when preparing raw pumpking to avoid irritation and staining.
- Other condiments to serve with this dish are plant-based raita, mango chutney and poppadoms.
I’d love to know how you get on with this recipe. Let me know what you think in the comments section below and please give it a star rating too! Thank you!