Quick and easy Thai Pumpkin Curry is a delicious, one-pot meal with pumpkin, vegetables, lentils, and chickpeas in a mild coconut curry sauce. This dollar-stretching, plant based dinner is loaded with flavor and nutrients.
This Thai pumpkin curry recipe is an easy meal you can add to your skip-the-takeout list of dinners to make at home. It's restaurant-quality comfort food that's truly simple to make and delicious to devour.
Even better, this pumpkin curry recipe includes instructions for the Instant Pot or stove. You pick!
If you enjoy Asian-inspired cooking, you'll love my Thai Peanut Zucchini Noodles, Thai Coconut Soup, Vegetable Lo Mein, and Thai Vegetable Coconut Curry. Grab my whole collection of Asian recipes while you're at it.
Why we love this recipe
- This pumpkin Thai curry recipe uses one whole can of pumpkin – instead of a partial can – which reduces waste.
- It's made with simple pantry ingredients and a few international products (ginger, curry paste, coconut milk) which are available at most grocers.
- This pumpkin curry uses canned curry paste which is great if you have a minimal spice rack because homemade curry requires multiple seasonings.
- You can adjust the spice (heat) by using more or less curry paste – simple!
- It's a pumpkin recipe you can enjoy any season of the year.
- Great make ahead meal – it's quick, easy, travels nicely, and the flavor gets better by the day.
- It's naturally vegan and gluten free!
- coconut oil - this has a high heat capacity to saute the vegetables without burning and helps build the coconut flavor for the curry.
- carrots, onions, garlic, and ginger - these everyday vegetables are budget-friendly aromatics that help build the flavor and texture.
- curry paste - I use canned red curry paste because it creates signature Thai flavors in a convenient blend. You can use any color and it's located in your grocer's international section.
- unsweetened canned pumpkin puree - this recipe uses a whole can of pumpkin puree because it's convenient and reduces waste.
- tomatoes - you can use canned tomatoes (diced, crushed, etc) or fresh tomatoes.
- chickpeas (garbanzo beans) - adds volume and protein. Use canned or pressure-cooked chickpeas.
- lentils - I use dried brown lentils for this recipe because they maintain their shape, whereas red or yellow lentils cook down to a sauce.
- coconut milk - Canned coconut milk (not coconut cream) adds richness to this pumpkin curry, but any dairy milk or plant based milk will work.
- vegetable broth - use any cooking liquid in place of vegetable broth.
- kale - use any variety of loosely chopped kale or other leafy greens.
How to make pumpkin curry
Full cooking instructions for the Instant Pot or stove are in the recipe card below! Here are the basic steps to take with either method.
Sauté the vegetables in coconut oil until tender. Add curry paste and sauté a bit longer to incorporate the flavors.
Stir in canned pumpkin puree, tomatoes, drained chickpeas, lentils, coconut milk, vegetable broth, and salt.
Cook the curry (Instant Pot or stove) as directed in the recipe card below Both methods take about the same time, but the instant pot is more hands-off.
Add kale (or other leafy greens) to the pumpkin curry and allow to rest until the greens wilt. Serve warm.
Which curry paste makes the best pumpkin curry?
Curry pastes are totally interchangeable and really depend on your taste preferences. The colors are based on the types of peppers used. I like both the color and spice that red curry brings to curry recipes, but feel free to experiment with the other colors as well as with different brands.
- canned pumpkin - Substitute equal amount of homemade pumpkin puree.
- curry paste - I prefer red curry paste for its color and medium spice level, especially for pumpkin curry. You can use any color of Thai curry paste (red, green, or yellow).
- canned tomatoes - use chopped, fresh tomatoes in place of canned tomatoes in equal amounts.
- coconut milk - any dairy or non-dairy milk can work for this recipe, it just won't be as thick as coconut milk.
- lentils or chickpeas - substitute diced potatoes in equal amounts
- vegetable broth - you can use any cooking liquid (water, stock, broth, etc)
Thai Pumpkin curry recipe tips
- Increase or decrease the spice level of your curry by adjusting the amount of curry you add to the recipe. If you accidentally make it too spicy, stir in small amounts of any liquid sweetener to help balance the flavors.
- Prep aromatics in advance (carrots, onions, garlic, and ginger) to save time when you make the pumpkin curry.
- Using a microplane fine grater to grate the ginger and garlic ensures that no large chunks will enter the dish.
- I like to serve curry next to a bowl of Instant Pot brown rice, Instant Pot quinoa, or cauliflower rice. The grains compliment the pumpkin curry because they help soak up that delicious sauce.
- Garnish Thai pumpkin curry with a drizzle of coconut milk and fresh Thai basil or cilantro. These are optional, but beautiful for presentation.
How to store leftover curry
To store, allow curry to cool completely and refrigerate in an air tight container for up to 5 days. This curry reheats perfectly in the microwave or in a small pan on the stove. Curries make wonderful leftovers because the flavors develop and get stronger as it sits in the fridge. Try using this recipe for meal prep!
Can I freeze this recipe?
Yes! To freeze pumpkin curry, allow it to cool completely and store in freezer-safe containers up to 90 days, or longer if vacuum sealed. To thaw, transfer container to the refrigerator for an overnight stay and it will be ready to heat and serve.
More one-pot dinner recipes
- Pumpkin Pasta
- Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo
- Taco Pasta
- Instant Pot Tuna Casserole
- Ham Alfredo Pasta [Instant Pot or stove]
Thai Pumpkin Curry Recipe
- 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil, or preferred oil
- 1 large Carrot, diced
- ½ large Onion, diced
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 inch Ginger Root, peeled and finely grated
- 2 tablespoons Red Curry Paste (or yellow or green), *see footnote about spice level
- 1 (15 ounce can) Unsweetened Pumpkin Puree
- 1 (15 ounce can) Crushed Tomatoes, or 1.5 cups fresh tomatoes
- 1 ½ cups Cooked Chickpeas, or 15 ounce can (drained)
- 1 cup Dried Brown Lentils
- 1 (13.5 ounce can) Coconut Milk, reserve 1 Tbsp. for garnish
- 1 ½ cups Vegetable Broth, or any cooking liquid
- ½ teaspoon Sea Salt
- 4 cups Kale, loosely chopped
Instant Pot Instructions (stove instructions listed below)
- Select "Sauté" on the Instant Pot, add OIL, and wait until display reads "Hot”.
- Add CARROT, ONION, GARLIC, GINGER and sauté until tender, stirring as needed.
- Add CURRY PASTE and sauté a few minutes, stirring as needed.
- Stir in PUMPKIN PUREE, TOMATOES, CHICKPEAS, LENTILS, COCONUT MILK, VEGETABLE BROTH, and SALT. Note: The kale can be added during or after pressure cooking cycle.
- Secure lid and turn pressure release valve to "Sealing" position.
- Select "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" on HIGH for 6 minutes.
- When cook cycle ends, allow a 10-minute (NPR) natural pressure release, then turn pressure release valve to "Venting" to release any remaining steam.
- Open the lid, stir in the kale (or other leafy greens), cover the pot, and allow it to rest long enough to wilt.
Serving and storage
- Serve warm garnished with Thai basil or cilantro and a drizzle of the reserved coconut milk.
- To store, allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 30 days in the freezer (or longer if vacuum sealed). To thaw, transfer container to the refrigerator for an overnight stay and it will be ready to heat and serve.
Traci's Recipe Notes
Heat COCONUT OIL in a 4-quart soup pot over medium-high heat.
Add CARROT, ONION, GARLIC, GINGER and sauté a few minutes until tender.
Add CURRY PASTE and sauté a few minutes, stirring frequently.
Stir in PUMPKIN PUREE, TOMATOES, CHICKPEAS, LENTILS, COCONUT MILK, VEGETABLE BROTH, and SALT.
Increase heat and bring just to a boil, stirring as needed.
Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes or until lentils are cooked to your liking. Stir in the kale (or other leafy greens) during the last 5 minute of simmering to allow it to wilt.
If you want thicker curry, continue simmering until it thickens to your liking, stirring as needed. For a thinner consistency, stir in ¼ cup amounts of water as needed.
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.