This creamy vegan butternut squash curry with chickpeas, broccolini, and rice makes a hearty main dish.
In September, I was fortunate enough to go to New York City with my husband, and we did what we always do in cities with lots of vegan options: Eat. And we were very lucky this time because Farmacy Kitchen, a London-based vegan restaurant, had just opened in Soho for a limited 6-months run. And it was within walking distance from our hotel, and we were able to get a reservation. Very fortunate indeed!
The highlight of the meal was the Chef’s Curry my husband ordered. It was creamy and flavorful with a base of butternut squash. (You can see photos of this decadent meal on Instagram.) I came home from that trip and immediately bought butternut squash so that I could try to duplicate this incredible butternut squash curry.
And then, of course, I got busy. I put the squash in the fridge so it would stay fresh while I made vegan chicken gumbo and worked on Thanksgiving menus. I finally found the time this week to work on that curry, and I wish I hadn’t waited so long because it was SO good: creamy, lightly spiced, and comfort-food good.
I made my version with chickpeas because chickpeas make everything better, right? And this may be a personal failing of mine, but I really don’t feel full unless a meal contains some form of legume. This vegan curry is very filling and yet still low in calories and fat. Win!
You’ll probably notice that I made the curry the easy way, by using curry powder. Since I found a curry powder that I really like–Penzey’s Maharajah curry–I often use it when I’m in a hurry because I really love its flavor. I encourage you to use a tried and tested curry powder in this butternut curry; a high-quality curry power makes all the difference in flavor.
Butternut Squash in the Instant Pot
One of the reasons I tend to put off cooking with winter squash is that I’m afraid that peeling it and cutting it is going to be a pain–both difficult to do and, if the knife slips, actual pain. So this time around I made it easy for myself by softening up the squash in the pressure cooker.
I put the whole thing, uncut, into my new 8-quart Instant Pot on a rack with just a cup of water. I set the pressure time to 8 minutes, and it came to pressure pretty quickly. When the 8 minutes were up, I waited for about 5 minutes for the pressure to fall and then opened the top so the squash could cool. Once it was cool enough to handle, it was easy to peel and cut. The squash was about half cooked, so it didn’t take long to cook once I started making the curry. (You can also put it in the fridge and let it get good and cold before working on it.)
I hope you enjoy using your Instant Pot for this recipe, and if you’re looking for more ways to use your pressure cooker, please check out the dozens of recipes in my Pressure Cooker Archives.
Vegan Butternut Squash Curry
- 2 pounds butternut squash (approximate weight after cooking)
- 1 large onions chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 1 tablespoon ginger root minced
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 6 cups water or vegetable broth (or water plus 2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken)
- 2 16-ounce cans chickpeas drained
- 2 teaspoons curry powder or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
- salt to taste
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice or to taste
- 6 servings your choice of steamed vegetables broccoli, broccolini, and green beans are good
- cooked brown rice for serving
- Start with a large squash that is just over 2 pounds. To make it easy to peel and chop, precook it in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker: Place a trivet in the bottom of the cooker, add 1 cup water, and place the squash on the trivet (if it won't fit, cut it in half and arrange halves on trivet.) Set pressure cooker to 8 minutes at high pressure. When cooking time is over, allow pressure to come down naturally, remove the squash, and allow it to cool until comfortable to handle. (If you do not have a pressure cooker, you may steam the squash for 15 minutes or skip this step and peel and chop it raw. You may also use pre-chopped fresh or frozen squash.)
- Peel the squash, cut it in half, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into large chunks (about 1-inch). Set aside
- Heat a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the onions and cook until they begin to brown. Then add the garlic, ginger, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds and cook for another minute (be careful not to let the spices burn.) Add the water or broth (or water plus 2 teaspoons bouillon) and the chopped squash. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer, and cover. Cook until the squash is tender, around 15 minutes.
- Once the squash is tender, use a slotted spoon to remove 4 cups of the squash and onions and place it in a blender. Use a ladle to remove 3 cups of the liquid and add it to the blender. Carefully start the blender on its lowest setting to avoid splashing hot liquid. Increase the speed gradually to blend the squash into a smooth puree.
- Add the pureed squash back to the soup pan along with the drained chickpeas, curry powder, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer, uncovered, and cook for at least 15 minutes for flavors to blend and curry to thicken. Add salt to taste. Just before serving, add lemon juice.
- Serve over rice with steamed vegetables.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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