Butternut Squash & Chickpea Indian Curry

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It’s no secret on this website that I love curry of all kinds. Japanese, Thai, Indian… Curry is everything that stew and chili–conceptually–could ever hope to achieve and more, and it fits perfectly with my lifelong aversion to almost all meats. Warm and inviting, flavorful and simple, refreshingly diverse; for me, curries are the ultimate comfort food. They are what chicken pot pie or beef stew might be to someone else. Soft, heavy, and nap-inducing. What better food, then, could I make to mitigate the looming dread that hangs over everything now? What could be more fitting for afternoon after afternoon curled up under blankets on the couch, playing Animal Crossing or reading, unable to visit the bookstores or libraries where I usually spend my days?

Around our tiny apartment, restaurants, cafes, and shops have shuttered their doors. Where once there were childish shrieks of delight from the playground next door or cheers from the baseball diamond behind our building, only silence remains. My college campus has closed for the rest of our spring semester and Alex is working from home, our one-bedroom now an island in the gloomy, apocalyptic emptiness the once-bustling city of Northern Virginia has become. Now more than ever, small comforts are necessities, because every moment seems to teeter further on the edge of anxiety, fear, and collapse. As someone who takes more pleasure in food–good food–than might be either healthy or sane, those small comforts are things like this: pillowy, spiced vegetables; fluffy, salted rice; and rich, creamy sauce. Curry, curry, curry.

Borderline ridiculous emotional attachments to curry aside, this is genuinely a delicious dish, and probably one of my favorite homemade curries to date. Although Alex didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as other versions I’ve made (he always seems a bit let down by vegetarian dinners through no fault of the food’s own–he is a self-proclaimed carnivore, after all) he still cleaned his plate, and I consider this meal a rousing success. I hope to experiment more with fresh squash and tomatoes in the future, and in spite of the past two weeks’ many stresses it has been a pleasure to have an overstocked fridge and pantry. A silver lining to empty grocery store aisles is the forced branching out to what panicking bulk shoppers left behind, and the exciting challenge that an array of vegetables and canned goods I don’t normally keep on-hand presents.

This recipe makes four servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 can (about 1.8 cups) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 15-20 grape tomatoes
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cups spinach, fresh
  • 1 can (about 1.8 cups) coconut milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can (about 0.6 cups) tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp avocado oil (to roast)
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp paprika + 2 tsp paprika (to roast)
  • 1 tbsp minced onion
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt + 2 tbsp salt (to roast)
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp gochugaru/red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp lime juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add cubed butternut squash, avocado oil, paprika (to roast), and salt (to roast). Toss gently until squash is coated, then spread onto a large baking sheet.
  3. Bake squash for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and flip. Add grape tomatoes to the baking sheet and return to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until squash has browned/softened and tomatoes have split.
  4. In a large stock pot, add coconut oil, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, and all spices (garam masala, chili powder, cumin, paprika, minced onion, coriander, turmeric, white pepper, salt, chipotle powder, mustard powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon). Heat on medium-high, and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the spiced paste has become fragrant and sizzling.
  5. Add coconut milk and vegetable stock, stirring until all paste has dissolved. Bring to a boil and add chickpeas and diced bell pepper.
  6. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add spinach, roasted squash and tomatoes, and cilantro. Let simmer for an additional 5-7 minutes, then remove from heat.
  7. Stir in lime juice. Serve over rice with additional cilantro or red pepper flakes.

This recipe keeps great in the fridge for up to a week, and reheats beautifully in the microwave. I had leftovers for lunch today, and–like all curries–it tasted even better after sitting overnight, marinating in its own delicious flavors.

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Indian Curry

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 399kcal

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups butternut squash cubed
  • 1 can (about 1.8 cups) chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 15-20 grape tomatoes
  • 2 bell peppers diced
  • 2 cups spinach fresh
  • 1 can (about 1.8 cups) coconut milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can (about 0.6 cups) tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp avocado oil (to roast)
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • 2 tbsp garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp ginger minced
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp paprika + 2 tsp paprika (to roast)
  • 1 tbsp minced onion
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt + 2 tbsp salt (to roast)
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes /gochugaru
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp lime juice

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add cubed butternut squash, avocado oil, paprika (to roast), and salt (to roast). Toss gently until squash is coated, then spread onto a large baking sheet.
  • Bake squash for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and flip. Add grape tomatoes to the baking sheet and return to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until squash has browned/softened and tomatoes have split.
  • In a large stock pot, add coconut oil, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, and all spices (garam masala, chili powder, cumin, paprika, minced onion, coriander, turmeric, white pepper, salt, chipotle powder, mustard powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon). Heat on medium-high, and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the spiced paste has become fragrant and sizzling.
  • Add coconut milk and vegetable stock, stirring until all paste has dissolved. Bring to a boil and add chickpeas and diced bell pepper.
  • Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add spinach, roasted squash and tomatoes, and cilantro. Let simmer for an additional 5-7 minutes, then remove from heat.
  • Stir in lime juice. Serve over rice with additional cilantro or red pepper flakes.
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