Loaded with soft butternut squash, tender chickpeas, and a punch of spicy harissa, this chickpea butternut squash curry is an incredibly hearty dinner that’s vegan-friendly and easy to pull together on a weeknight.
No such thing as too much cozy food around here! We’re starting to get into the chillier, crisp fall days here so hot comfort food is basically an essential right now.
Words can’t even describe how obsessed we are with this curry. You’d never guess we’re keeping things vegan-friendly today either!
Just a pot full of creamy, veggie-filled cozy food, y’all. It’s a fall mood.
With no shortage of fluffy rice + hot naan bread nearby because we go ALL OUT when it’s curry time around here.
Promise there’s no missing the meat here today, y’all. It’s so freaking good in all its veggie glory.
This Harissa Chickpea Butternut Squash Curry features…
- A smoky, spicy coconut curry sauce with flavorful harissa
- Tender butternut squash cubes and chickpeas
- Only an hour to make and completely vegan-friendly
Making the Chickpea Butternut Squash Curry
(scroll down to the bottom of post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Butternut squash
- Yellow onion
- Harissa paste
- Vegetable oil
- Coconut milk
- Diced tomatoes
- Vegetable broth
What is Harissa?
Harissa is a Middle Eastern and North African chile paste. It includes a blend of several smoked chile peppers, roasted red peppers, plenty of spices, garlic, olive oil, and typically tomato.
Harissa is very flavorful, but also packs a bit of a punch so use it sparingly and taste as you go! If you’re sensitive to spice, you can easily leave it out or dial back the amount.
You can find harissa in a Middle Eastern store/market as well as the international section of most major grocery stores. I’ve also bought it on Amazon before.
How to Adjust Heat Level
For a milder curry: make sure you purchase a mild harissa and use 2-3 tablespoons.
For a spicier curry: use a spicy harissa and work your way up from the suggested 1/4 cup.
When in doubt, start with less harissa and work your way up, tasting until it reaches the level you want it!
Tips for Perfect Curry
- Saute vegetables – saute the yellow onion and butternut squash cubes in olive oil until the onion is just translucent.
- Add aromatics – fresh garlic, ginger, harissa, turmeric, and curry powder get added to the vegetable mixture and cooked 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Simmer curry – add the coconut milk, diced tomatoes, and vegetable broth and allow the curry to simmer over medium heat 20-25 minutes until the butternut squash is tender. This simmering step also allows a lot of the flavors to develop.
- Wilt kale during last 5 minutes – we like to add a few handfuls of fresh kale or spinach just before the curry is done. Don’t add it before or it will get overcooked!
What to Serve with Curry
- Steamed jasmine rice
- Brown rice
- Naan bread
- Lime wedges and fresh cilantro for topping
- Serve it as a soup (I do this one often)
This curry keeps well in the fridge for up to 6 days. We recommend storing it separately from rice if you’re using it.
Reheat leftovers in a pan on the stove or 1-2 minutes on high in the microwave.
You just can’t beat a warm bowl of this curry, you guys. It’s seriously SO flavorful for only taking an hour to make and so wonderfully hearty. We’re obsessed.
Best advice I’ve got for you? Have LOTS of fresh naan on hand for dipping in the sauce. Trust me, it’s a game-changer.
Really, this whole dinner is about to be a game changer. It’s already added to our regular dinner rotation for good reason!
If you loved this curry, you’ll love these other recipes!
- Beef Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry
- Sweet Potato Kale Coconut Curry Lentil Soup
- Charred Sweet Corn Zucchini Coconut Curry
Harissa Chickpea Butternut Squash Curry
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 cups 1/2-in cubed butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup harissa paste
- 1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 can (13.5 oz) full-fat coconut milk
- 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
- 2 cups firmly-packed kale leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lime wedges, fresh cilantro, hot rice, and naan for serving
- In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmery. Add onions and butternut squash to pan and let cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables begin to get tender and slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add ginger, garlic, harissa paste, curry powder, and turmeric to pan. Let cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until fragrant and vegetables are evenly coated.
- Add coconut milk, tomatoes, chickpeas, and broth. Bring curry to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium and let simmer 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until butternut squash is tender and sauce is thickened.
- Optional step for a smoother curry: after curry has simmered, ladle out 1 cup of curry, transfer to blender, and blend until smooth. Transfer back to pan.
- Fold kale into curry until evenly incorporated. Cover pan and let stand 5 minutes until kale is wilted. Remove curry from heat season with salt and pepper to taste, squeeze a few lime wedges over top, and fold in cilantro to taste.
- Serve curry hot with rice and additional lime wedges, cilantro, and naan bread if desired. Enjoy!