This fragrant Indian-inspired one-pot pumpkin curry is super creamy (using fresh or canned pumpkin purée) and loaded with veggies for a healthy, comforting, and satisfying vegetable curry! Even better, this recipe is naturally dairy-free (vegan), gluten-free, and can be cooked on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot!
One-Pot Creamy Indian Pumpkin Curry
It’s officially Fall, and I’ve been waiting impatiently to harvest our own homegrown pumpkins. And let me tell you, we have plenty, actually too many, haha! This means, along with enjoying creamy pumpkin pasta bake and pumpkin chocolate chip bread, I get to experiment with new hearty vegan pumpkin recipes like this Indian pumpkin curry.
Vegan curries are among my favorite Fall/Winter dishes, especially with options like eggplant chickpea curry, veggie pineapple coconut curry, and even Thai coconut curry soup. This creamy yellow curry ditches the Thai flavors found in many popular pumpkin curry recipes, instead, it uses classic Indian spices and curry powder. When combined with the creamy sauce, this pumpkin curry is super-rich, flavorful, and satisfying without being ‘heavy.’
The combination of ingredients and flavors make for the perfect fall curry and a great addition to any dinner party or simple mid-week meal alongside naan and rice (or your grain/side of choice). It’s also incredibly meal-prep friendly (for lunchboxes!) and made more versatile thanks to a stovetop and Instant Pot method below!
- Pumpkin: For this Indian pumpkin curry recipe, you’ll need two cups of pumpkin puree. I made it at home (method in recipe notes); however, you could also use canned pumpkin puree (especially if you don’t mind not having chunky pumpkin pieces in the veggie curry). If using fresh pumpkin, make sure to buy a culinary version (like sugar pumpkin), not jack-o-lantern pumpkins. Kabocha squashes also work.
- Passata: If you don’t have passata, use tomato puree (not paste) or tomato sauce.
- Broth: I used vegetable broth. Use reduced-sodium if preferred.
- Coconut milk: I prefer to use full-fat coconut milk for the creamiest texture, but use light if desired. If you don’t like the coconut flavor, use dairy-free cream (like oat cream or soy cream).
- Seasonings: curry powder (choose the heat level you prefer- usually mild, medium, or hot), ground turmeric, ground cumin, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper. You could also use garam masala in place of curry powder.
- Aromatics: This simple veggie curry uses the Indian ‘trinity’ – onion (or shallot), garlic, and ginger.
- Vegetables: I used carrot, bell pepper, and kale.
- Oil: Use any neutral cooking oil. For an oil-free version, you can use water.
- To serve: I like to garnish the vegetable curry with fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro (coriander), lemon or lime juice (or wedges), and serve with some rice.
Optional add-ins and recipe variations:
- Swap out the veggies: Broccoli and peas are other favorite curry add-ins of mine. Other options include green beans, bok choy, eggplant, asparagus, cauliflower, sweet potato, collard greens, spinach, etc.
- For heat: Depending on how spicy you prefer the yellow curry, you can add fresh chili (at the same time as the garlic and ginger), chili paste, or chili/cayenne powder.
- Cinnamon: A large pinch of cinnamon (1/4 teaspoon ish) can add even more warming flavor to the coconut curry sauce.
- Coconut: For a South Indian style/Sri-Lankan pumpkin curry, you can add 1/3-1/2 cup grated coconut. Lightly fry a few tablespoons in a dry pan until browned and toasty as a garnish. OR toast it all, then grind it slightly in a processor and mix it into the curry.
- Thai twist: Swap out the curry powder for a Thai yellow or red curry paste (adjust the amount to taste).
- Protein: My favorite option for this vegan curry is adding chickpeas. However, you could also add lentils, other legumes, tempeh, or even extra-firm tofu!
- Nuts/seeds: some lightly toasted cashews or pumpkin seeds make for a tasty garnish to this hearty Indian pumpkin curry recipe. As a bonus, they add extra healthy fats, protein, and texture to the dish!
Please read the recipe card below for the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information.
How to Make Creamy Pumpkin Curry
If you plan to use homemade pumpkin puree, you’ll first need to prepare that (read recipe notes for method).
- Then, prepare all the vegetables, chopping the onion and carrot finely and the bell pepper into bite-sized pieces. At the same time, peel and mince the ginger and garlic.
- Next, heat the oil (or a splash of water) in a large pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, and bell pepper. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring often.
- Stir in the garlic and ginger and sauté for a further minute.
- Then, add all the spices, passata, pumpkin, vegetable broth, and coconut milk. Stir well to combine, then bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and reduce the heat to low.
- Allow the yellow curry to simmer for a further 5-8 minutes or until the veggies are fork-tender.
Optionally, add canned chickpeas/legumes now for added protein. They only need a few minutes to heat up in the curry sauce.
- Finally, add the chopped kale and simmer and wilt for a further 1-2 minutes. Then remove the pumpkin curry from the heat. Taste and adjust any of the seasonings to taste. For example, you could add more salt and pepper, red pepper flakes or chili powder for heat, etc. Then serve, optionally topped with parsley or cilantro and lemon/lime wedges.
Instant Pot Method
- Use the SAUTE function to sauté the onion, carrot, and bell pepper with the oil for around 3 minutes. Then add the garlic and ginger and sauté for a further minute. Next, add all the spices and stir once more.
- Add the passata, pumpkin, broth, and coconut milk, stir, close the lid, and cook on MANUAL for two minutes. Once ready, use the quick release and carefully open the lid.
- If you want to add chickpeas, do so now, along with the chopped kale. Then stir, close the lid, and allow it to wilt for several minutes.
- Finally, taste and adjust the seasonings, then serve while warm!
How to Serve Coconut Pumpkin Curry?
As with most curries, this creamy coconut pumpkin curry pairs well with naan bread and/or rice (basmati, white, jasmine rice, or brown rice – or quinoa). For a lower-carb option, use cauliflower rice. I also sometimes serve curry alongside appetizer-style dishes like spring rolls.
If you’ve bumped up the spice in your version of this Indian pumpkin curry, you could also top it with a dollop of unsweetened dairy-free yogurt.
How to Store
Store: Allow the vegan curry to cool, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months. If anything, this curry tastes even better on day two!
Reheat: You can reheat the veggie curry gently on the stovetop or in the microwave until piping hot. Optionally add a splash of coconut milk or broth if the sauce has thickened.
Recipe Notes and Tips
- Toasting the spices: For extra flavor, you can temper all the spices with a little oil until fragrant before adding them to the dish.
- Enjoy out of season: You can enjoy this yellow curry out of season by either using canned pumpkin puree (which has a very long shelf life) OR replace the pumpkin with butternut squash – though the flavor will vary.
- Adjust the amount of liquid: Pumpkin puree liquid content can differ, so you may need a little less broth if the pumpkin is particularly ‘runny.’
- For a creamier curry: You can increase the ratio of coconut milk to the veg broth.
- For a chunky version: Don’t puree all the pumpkin (when using fresh pumpkin), so you still have a creamy sauce, but some chunky pumpkin pieces, too.
- To prepare the homemade pumpkin puree: Slice the pumpkin in half or quarters, scoop out the seeds, and peel the skin. Then rub with a little oil and bake at 400F/205C for 40-60 minutes, or until tender. If you want to make a chunky pumpkin curry, chop the pumpkin into wedges then 1-inch pieces before baking (and reduce baking time to around 30 minutes). When cooked, transfer the pumpkin to a blender/food processor to process until smooth (keep some chunks to one side for a chunky version).
More Vegan Pumpkin Recipes
- Pumpkin potato bake
- Vegan pumpkin cake with cashew frosting
- Vegan pumpkin pie
- Pumpkin chocolate chip bread
- Chocolate pumpkin bars
If you try this vegan Indian pumpkin curry recipe, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan – I love seeing them.
- 1/2 tbsp oil or water (if oil-free)
- 1 medium (110 g) onion chopped
- 1 cup (150 g) carrot chopped
- 3/4 cup (80 g) bell pepper chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2- inch (5 cm) fresh ginger minced
- 1/2 tbsp curry powder
- 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 3/4 tsp salt or less/more to taste
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp black pepper or less/more to taste
- 1/2 cup (125 g) passata or tomato sauce
- 2 cups (500 g) pumpkin puree (see notes)
- 1/2-1 cup (120-240 ml) vegetable broth see notes
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) coconut milk canned (see notes)
- 6-8 leaves of fresh kale chopped (or use spinach)
- Fresh herbs to garnish e.g. parsley, cilantro
- Lime juice or lemon juice to drizzle
- Cooked rice to serve
- You can watch the video in the post for visual instructions.Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and sauté the onion, carrot, and bell pepper for about 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in garlic and fresh ginger and sauté for a further 1 minute.
- Add all spices, passata, pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, and coconut milk. Stir to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer. Let simmer on low heat for about 5-8 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Optional: You can also add cooked chickpeas for additional protein.
- Finally, add the kale and let simmer for a further 1-2 minutes, then turn off the heat.
- Taste and adjust seasonings. Add more salt, pepper, and/or red pepper flakes (if you like it spicy), etc. to taste.
- Serve with rice or naan bread. Enjoy warm!
- Pumpkin puree: Use store-bought or homemade. For homemade, slice the pumpkin in quarters, scoop out the seeds, and peel the skin. Then rub with a little oil and bake at 400F/205C for 40-60 minutes, or until tender. If you want to make a chunky pumpkin curry, chop the pumpkin into wedges then 1-inch pieces before baking (and reduce baking time to around 30 minutes). When cooked, transfer the pumpkin to a blender/food processor to process until smooth (keep some chunks to one side for a chunky version).
- Vegetable broth: Depending on your pumpkin puree, you will need to add less vegetable broth (if the puree is runny). Mine was quite firm, so I added 1 cup (check the step-by-step photos and video in the post).
- Canned coconut milk: For a creamier, richer curry, you can add more coconut milk and reduce the vegetable broth accordingly. Use a dairy-free cream (like oat cream or soy cream) if you don't like the coconut taste.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically