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Squash Curry (30 minutes)

With a few good shortcuts, this healthy squash curry can be on the table in 30 minutes. Rich, creamy, spicy deliciousness.

The dish is all about the sauce, made with tomato sauce, coconut milk, curry paste, curry powder, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper and a dash of maple syrup.

30-Minute Squash Tomato and Spinach Curry

You can vary the heat (with more or less curry paste and cayenne) and even the creaminess (with more or less coconut milk).

For the veggies, I use butternut squash and spinach, but if you’re short on time, you can try something that cooks more quickly such as cauliflower, green beans or cooked chickpeas. If you’re not a vegetarian, consider adding shrimp as seen in the last picture below.

So whether you stick to the recipe or get creative, butternut squash curry is a simple, tasty, comforting weeknight meal.

Serving suggestions: I love to serve it over basmati rice or quinoa which you can prepare while the squash is cooking. And if you’re feeling a bit more ambitious, try this easy naan for dipping. Really good! Of course you can always buy some 🙂

Good to Know – FAQ

What is curry?

Check out this Bon Appetit article on curry – curry powder, curry paste and other curry products – if you are interested.

What is the difference between Thai curries and Indian curries?

Thai and Indian curries share some similar spices like ginger, garlic, turmeric and cilantro. Thai dishes include brighter and lighter spices, curry pastes and lemongrass, and almost never use dairy. Thai curries use a lot of coconut milk (dairy free) whereas most regions in India (except for the south) prefer yogurt or cream in their curries. Indian curries are velvety with a thicker consistency. They often include tomatoes like our squash curry recipe. Common spices like cinnamon and cumin in Indian curries are rich and flavorful. Here is an excellent detailed article by Asia Highlights on the differences between Thai curries and Indian curries.

Is this butternut squash curry recipe healthy?

Yes, the recipe is very nutritious with high levels of fiber, vitamin A and C, iron and potassium. It does have a fair amount of saturated fat, though, from the coconut milk. For a lower calorie, lower fat version, choose a light canned coconut milk.

Can you freeze leftover coconut milk?

Absolutely. It will keep in the freezer for a least a month. A good way to freeze leftover coconut milk is to put it in freezer trays. When frozen, transfer the cubes to a sealed bag or container.

Tailor To Your Taste

Substitutes

  • Instead of a basic tomato or Marinara sauce, use diced tomatoes (and cook a little longer). San Marzano or fire roasted tomatoes would be great.
  • Use a half inch of freshly grated ginger instead of ginger powder.
  • Instead of quinoa or rice, try serving the squash curry over nutritious bulgar or farro.
  • Replace the frozen spinach with chopped fresh baby spinach or kale.

Add-ins

  • Add chopped cilantro or parsley before serving.
  • Stir in a tablespoon or more of peanut butter.

Shortcuts

  • For the butternut squash
    • Buy packaged fresh butternut squash that is already peeled and cut up (huge time saver!). I still cut the pieces smaller to 1/2 inch so they cook more quickly and evenly.
    • Or, even quicker, buy frozen butternut squash which is diced very small and will cook very quickly.
    • Instead of the squash, try cauliflower, green beans or chick peas which will cut the cooking time in half or even more.
  • Use fresh baby spinach pre-washed, roughly chopped.  I didn’t have any on hand so I used frozen spinach (thawed in microwave) and squeezed dry with paper towels.
  • I often use frozen crushed garlic cubes (1 cube = one clove or teaspoon) – so convenient.

Make Ahead

  • Make the squash curry recipe 2-3 days ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. If you want the spinach to look vibrant, add it only when you are reheating the dish. Heat up the leftovers on the stove (with a bit of liquid to thin it out) and stir in the fresh spinach until wilted.
  • If you’re not fussy about the color of the spinach turning dull, just make the whole thing and warm it up in the microwave.
  • Freeze the squash curry if you like – up to 3 months. Some say the coconut milk can get a bit grainy but the taste won’t be affected.

Other easy curry recipes you might like

How to make squash curry

cubed butternut squash, frozen spinach, coconut milk, curry, ginger, garlic, oil, curry paste, maple syrup, tomato sauce
Ingredients: cubed butternut squash, garlic, frozen spinach, coconut milk, curry powder, ginger, cayenne, oil, red curry paste, maple syrup, tomato sauce
red curry paste and seasonings in pan
Saute curry paste and seasonings on medium in a pan for 2 minutes.
tomato and squash in pan
Add tomato sauce, coconut milk, squash, maple syrup. Bring to boil, then lower to simmer for 15-20 minutes until squash is tender.
squash curry with spinach in pan
Stir in spinach. Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste.
squash curry over rice in bowl p2
Serve the squash curry over basmati rice, quinoa or other grain.
squash curry with shrimp over rice in bowl p
Add cooked shrimp for a non vegetarian version.
Squash Curry over rice in bowl ff
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5 from 8 votes

Squash Curry (30-Minutes)

With a few good shortcuts, this healthy squash curry can be on the table in 30 minutes. Rich, creamy, spicy deliciousness.
Prep Time8 mins
Cook Time22 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian, Vegetarian
Servings: 3
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1/2 can coconut milk, unsweetened (about 1 cup/237ml)
  • 2 cups (473ml) tomato sauce, Note 1
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 lb (453g) butternut or other squash, diced 1/2 inch (about 2 1/2-3 cups)
  • 3 cups (90g) roughly chopped baby spinach (or 250 g frozen, thawed, water squeezed out)

Instructions

  • SAUTE SPICES AND AROMATICS: Heat olive oil in medium skillet on Medium heat. Add garlic, curry powder, ginger powder, salt, cayenne and curry paste. Stir for 2 minutes.
  • ADD LIQUIDS, TOMATOES AND SQUASH: : Stir in coconut milk, tomato sauce (or diced tomatoes), honey and squash. Bring to boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until squash is tender.
  • FINISH AND SERVE: Add fresh spinach and stir until wilted – or stir in squeezed-dry thawed spinach until heated through – about 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasonings (curry, salt, pepper, honey, etc). Sauce will thicken on standing or by the time you serve it. Serve over rice or quinoa. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro or parsley if desired.

Notes

  1. Tomato sauce – I use a basic Marinara sauce (often White Linen from Costco), but other plain tomato sauces will work fine too. Or use on 15 oz (503ml) can diced tomatoes which you may need to cook a bit longer (uncovered) to thicken. 
  2. Variations to Try
    • Substitutes 
      • Instead of a basic tomato or Marinara sauce, use diced tomatoes (and cook a little longer). San Marzano or Fire Roasted tomatoes would be great.
      • Use a half inch of freshly grated ginger instead of ginger powder.
      • Instead of quinoa or rice, try serving the squash curry over nutritious bulgar or farro.
      • Replace the frozen spinach with chopped fresh baby spinach or kale.
    • Add-ins
      • Add chopped cilantro or parsley before serving.
      • Stir in a tablespoon or more of peanut butter.
  3. Make Ahead
    • Make the squash curry recipe 2-3 days ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. If you want the spinach to look vibrant, add it only when you are reheating the dish. Heat up the leftovers on the stove (with a bit of liquid to thin it out) and stir in the fresh spinach until wilted.
    • If you’re not fussy about the color of the spinach turning dull, just make the whole thing and warm it up in the microwave.
    • Freeze the squash curry if you like – up to 3 months. Some say the coconut milk can get a bit grainy but the taste won’t be affected.
 
Nutrition values are estimates and do not include rice or quinoa. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Squash Curry (30-Minutes)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 302 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 15g94%
Sodium 1284mg56%
Potassium 1416mg40%
Carbohydrates 35g12%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 15g17%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 20809IU416%
Vitamin C 55mg67%
Calcium 148mg15%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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This recipe was inspired by Pinch of Yum and A Virtual Vegan. It was originally published in 2018 and now updated with new information and edits.

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