Treat yourself to a bowl of this cozy Pumpkin Lentil Curry! This delicious Thai-inspired red coconut curry is loaded with veggies, bursting with flavor, and so easy to make!
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The best time of year is here ... pumpkin season! My pantry has been stocked, and I've been cooking all my fave pumpkin recipes.
While I love classic sweet treats, like these irresistible Pumpkin Spice Cookies, this scrumptious seasonal squash is surprisingly tasty in savory recipes, too. Like this delightful Pumpkin Lentil Curry, which I've been making on repeat.
You are going to love this cozy, flavor-packed curry! It pairs roasted pumpkin and sautéed veggies with hearty red lentils. A mouthwateringly delicious red coconut curry sauce brings all the flavors together, and the thick, stew-like texture makes it perfect for chilly fall days.
Best of all, while it tastes complex, the preparation is so simple! Which is always a major win in my book.
Ready to try this recipe for yourself? Keep reading for all the details!
This recipe uses a combo of flavor-packed ingredients! Here's what you'll need:
- Pumpkin - You'll need one sugar / pie pumpkin for this recipe. These small pumpkins are much better for cooking than jack o' lantern-style pumpkins, which have a tendency to be stringy. Look for them in the produce section of your store, starting in late September / early October.
- Veggies - A combination of onions, carrots, and bell peppers form the recipe's flavorful base. You'll also stir in some fresh spinach just before serving.
- Red Lentils - This recipe calls for dried red lentils, a fast-cooking legume that breaks down as it becomes tender, giving the dish a hearty, stick to your ribs texture. Yellow lentils will also work.
- Sauce - The veggies and lentils are cooked in an easy to make Thai-inspired red coconut curry sauce that's prepared with red curry paste, coconut milk, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, and vegetable broth. Make sure to use unsweetened coconut milk (the kind that comes in cans), not coconut cream, and for the best results, use a full-fat (not light) variety. Other types of curry, such as green curry paste, may also be used.
- Cilantro - A little cilantro added at the end perks up all the other flavors. If you're not a fan, you can skip it.
- Fresh Lime - I recommend serving your finished curry with a wedge of fresh lime. A squeeze over the top brightens the whole dish.
This recipe is vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and dairy free, so everyone at your table can enjoy it!
Tip: You can make this recipe with other types of winter squash, such as butternut or kabocha as well, so don't save it just for autumn ... it's wonderful in winter, too!
Curry paste is mixture of fresh and dried ingredients, such as chilies, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, shallots, lime leaves, and other spices. It's commonly used in Thai cooking and is often pared with coconut milk.
Here in the U.S., Thai Kitchen seems to be the brand most commonly found in grocery stores, so that's what I used. Their curry paste is fairly mild, which is why I used a whole jar (about ½ cup of paste). The resulting curry is also pretty mild.
Note: If you use a different kind of curry paste, make sure to taste it first! Other brands are often spicier, so you may need to cut back to two or three tablespoons or so. Use your judgement ... you can always add more, if needed.
You'll Also Need
You'll need a sheet pan to roast the pumpkin (these sturdy baking sheets are my fave), as well as a big frying pan with a lid (12-inches or larger is best) to cook the curry. I used my favorite Calphalon skillet, which worked perfectly!
How to Make Pumpkin Lentil Curry
This unique vegan curry is easy to make! You'll find a detailed recipe card below, but here's an overview of the steps:
- Roast the pumpkin. Start by peeling your pumpkin and removing the seeds. Then, cut it into cubes. You should have about 6 cups. On a baking sheet, toss the pumpkin with oil and season with salt. Roast until tender and lightly browned, flipping halfway through.
- Sauté veggies. While the pumpkin bakes, cook the onions, carrot, and bell pepper in a little oil just until the onion starts to turn translucent. Then stir in the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant.
- Mix in the curry paste. Next, you'll add the curry paste and brown sugar. Mix well to coat the veggies, then cook for another minute.
- Add lentils, broth, and coconut milk. Stir in the lentils, broth, and coconut milk, then bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then cover your pan (leaving a crack open) and cook the curry until the lentils are tender and starting to break down.
- Stir in the pumpkin and spinach. Add the roasted pumpkin and fresh spinach, as well as the cilantro, then mix well. Season to taste with salt.
- Serve. You can eat the finished curry on its own, or you can serve it over rice.
And that's all there is to it, your yummy Pumpkin and Lentil Curry is ready to enjoy! Doesn't it look amazing?
This Pumpkin Red Lentil Curry is hearty enough to eat on its own, but I love serving it over rice (fragrant jasmine rice is especially tasty!) with a sprinkle of cilantro and a lime wedge. If you'd like to round out the meal, try serving it with a simple Garden Salad, sautéed veggies, or fresh fruit.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator, where they'll stay fresh for up to four days. Rewarm gently in your microwave before eating.
Craving more red curry recipes or savory pumpkin ideas? Try one of these dishes next:
- Pumpkin Curry
- Chickpea and Lentil Curry
- Slow Cooker Veggie Curry
- Curry Corn Chowder
- Pumpkin Pizza
- Pumpkin Couscous Salad
- Roasted Pumpkin Soup
- Pumpkin Chili
- Roasted Pumpkin Feta Salad
- Pumpkin Risotto
Tip: When preparing the pumpkin, don't forget to save the seeds so you can make these Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!
Pumpkin Lentil Curry
- 1 pie pumpkin
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil (such as canola, vegetable, or olive)
- kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons cooking oil (such as canola, vegetable, or olive)
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 large yellow pepper, diced
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 (4-ounce) jar red curry paste (see note)
- 1 cup red lentils
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
- 1 (5-ounce) bag spinach, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Peel pumpkin and remove seeds. Cut into cubes. (You should have about 6 cups.)
- Place pumpkin on baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon cooking oil and season with salt to taste. Mix well.
- Roast pumpkin for 20 minutes. Flip, then continue cooking until tender and lightly browned (about 10 to 15 minutes). Set aside until ready to use.
- While pumpkin cooks, heat 2 teaspoons cooking oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
- Add carrots, onions, and pepper to oil, then season with salt. Cook until onion turns translucent, stirring occasionally (about 7 to 10 minutes).
- Stir in garlic and ginger, then cook until fragrant, stirring constantly (about 30 seconds).
- Mix in brown sugar and curry paste, then cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add lentils, broth, and coconut milk to veggies. Bring mixture to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer, then cover pan with lid, leaving a small crack open. Simmer until lentils are tender and starting to break down, stirring occasionally (about 15 to 20 minutes).
- Stir in roasted pumpkin, spinach, and cilantro. Season to taste with salt.
- Serve curry over rice (if desired) with lime wedges. Enjoy!