Butternut squash and yam curry makes a comforting fall and winter meal! Hearty vegetables stewed in coconut milk sauce, this flavor-packed recipe is a household favorite!
If there is anything in this world that is more comforting than a delicious curry recipe, it is a delicious fall curry recipe that is full to the brim with carbohydrate-dense fall vegetables.
The combination of fresh butternut squash and yams (or sweet potatoes) generates a filling and completely satisfying meal. If you’re a big fan of curry, you will go wild for this butternut squash curry!
Warm spices like ground cumin, coriander, and turmeric pair magically with rich and creamy coconut milk, fresh and bold onion, garlic, and ginger to create the most decadent sauce for butternut squash and yams to become enveloped in Thai flavors.
Before we get started, I thought I would mention that this is in no way a traditional Thai recipe.
It is simply my own rendition of a Thai-inspired curry made with in season vegetables. Nevertheless, I think you’ll love it!
Let’s discuss the ingredients for yam curry.
Ingredients for Butternut Squash and Yam Curry:
Coconut Oil or Avocado Oil: Used to sauté the vegetables, we need a quality high-temperature cooking oil like avocado oil or coconut oil. Olive oil works too.
Butternut Squash and Yams: The two stars of the show here! Fresh butternut squash and yams or sweet potatoes get cooked together in an amazing coconut curry sauce for amazing fall comfort food!
Use any type of sweet potato or yam, including jewel yams, regular sweet potatoes, white sweet potatoes, purple sweet potatoes, etc. To save time, buy pre-cut butternut squash from the grocery store.
Yellow Onion, Garlic Cloves, Fresh Ginger: Onion and fresh garlic cloves bring a tremendous amount of flavor to any recipe, and curry is no exception.
Fresh ginger is paramount in Thai curry recipes because it provides that incredibly unique flavor that is otherwise difficult to mimic.
Adjust the amount of ginger up or down according to your personal taste.
Seasonings: Ground cumin, ground coriander, garlic powder, cardamom, cayenne pepper, ground turmeric, and sea salt. This combination of spices is commonly used in both Thai and Indian curry recipes. They are what give curry its unmistakable flavor.
If you have yellow curry powder on hand (or yellow curry paste, green curry paste, Thai red curry paste, etc.), you can replace all of the spices with 2 to 3 tablespoons of curry powder (according to taste).
Full-Fat Canned Coconut Milk: The coconut curry sauce is made with two cans of full-fat coconut milk.
This ingredient is paramount in producing the flavor and texture we all love in Thai curries.
If you’re looking for a lower fat meal, feel free to use light coconut milk but just know that the flavor won’t be quite as rich and luscious.
Garbanzo Beans (also known as Chickpeas): I add one can of chickpeas to the curry to bring a boost of plant-based protein. The combination of brown rice and beans completes the amino acid profile for a protein-rich meal.
To increase the amount of protein, add another can of beans, or use animal protein like salmon, chicken, pork, or shrimp if you aren’t plant-based.
There are many ways you can customize this healthy dinner recipe! Here are some ideas.
- Add your favorite animal protein if you aren’t vegan – chicken and shrimp are great options!
- Use tofu or tempeh in addition to the chickpeas for some plant-based protein.
- Toss in your favorite fall vegetables. All root vegetables work great here! Just not that the cooking times may vary depending on which vegetables you use.
- Make sweet potato curry by swapping out the yam for a large sweet potato. Any color works!
- If you have garam masala on hand, feel free to add one teaspoon.
- Mix in 1 tablespoon of fish sauce if you have it on hand and enjoy the flavor in curries.
- Substitute one of the cans of coconut milk for vegetable broth or vegetable stock for a lower fat curry recipe. You can also use lite coconut milk instead of full fat coconut milk. Just note that the curry won’t be as rich.
- Mix in any of your favorite vegetables like baby spinach or cauliflower.
- Looking for a burst of umami flavor? Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of soy sauce (before adding any additional salt).
- Use 2 to 4 tablespoons of any kind of Thai curry paste instead of the spices listed in the recipe.
- While I find this creamy butternut squash curry recipe to be sweet enough, you can add 1 to 3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup, coconut sugar, or brown sugar to make it sweeter.
- Spice it up with more cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. You can also add any amount of red Thai chilis.
- Use an immersion blender to blend all of the ingredients together after they have finished cooking to create curry butternut squash soup.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s make this easy vegan curry recipe!
How to Make Butternut Squash and Yam Curry:
Use a vegetable peeler to peel the thick peels off of the butternut squash and the yam. Use a sharp knife to cut the vegetables into chunks.
I like chopping the butternut squash into smaller chunks than the sweet potatoes because it tends to take slightly longer to cook than sweet potatoes. The small chunks helps even out the cooking times.
Add the sliced onion and sauté for about 2 to 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened.
Stir in the chopped butternut squash, chopped yam, and grated ginger. Sauté vegetables for about 3 minutes to allow them to soften up.
Add the garlic and spices to the skillet and sauté another 1-2 minutes before adding the coconut milk and garbanzo beans. Stir well to incorporate everything together.
Cover the skillet with a lid and bring the butternut squash curry to a full boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking until vegetables are cooked through and fork tender, stirring periodically, about 10 to 15 minutes.
If serving the curry with brown rice or white rice, prepare the rice while the curry is cooking. Red lentils, basmati rice, and jasmine rice are also great options for serving. Include a side salad for even more variety!
Serve sweet potato curry with chopped Thai basil, fresh cilantro or chopped chives and a side of naan bread. I like serving the curry with lime wedges to drizzle fresh lime juice over the meal.
Store leftover curry in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can also freeze this easy curry recipe in a large freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Curry recipes are even more flavorful the next day and the 2-3 days following prep! For this reason, don’t be shy about making the recipe ahead of time as a meal prep recipe.
Seasonal fall vegetables stewed in an aromatic coconut milk sauce? I can’t think of anything more comforting to take the edge off busy weeknights!
This vegan butternut squash curry hits all the bases – it’s fairly quick and easy to prepare, comes with all sorts of carby deliciousness, is packed with flavor, and is perfect as a meal prep recipe or for serving the whole family.
The next time you’re craving an easy butternut squash curry, whip up this simple recipe for the ultimate comfort food.
If you love hearty plant-based dishes, also try out these reader favorites:
More Plant-Based Dinner Recipes:
- Vegan Red Curry Zucchini Noodle Bowls
- 30-Minute Thai Green Curry with Avocado
- Creamy Tuscan Spaghetti Squash
- 30-Minute Summer Vegetable Red Curry
- Roasted Garlic and Kale Spaghetti Squash with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Vegetable Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce
Carb-loaded curry for life!
Butternut Squash and Yam Curry
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil or avocado oil
- 1/2 medium-sized yellow onion chopped
- 1 large jewel yam chopped into ½” cubes (4 cups)
- 1 small butternut squash peeled and chopped into ½” cubes (4 cups)
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger peeled and grated
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp coriander
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper optional
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 (14-ounce) cans full-fat canned coconut milk*
- 1 (15-oz) can garbanzo beans drained
- Cooked brown rice
- 1 bunch chives chopped
- 1 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- In a large skillet or large thick-bottomed pot (I recommend a 12-inch skillet with a deep lip), heat oil to medium-high heat.
- Add the onion and sauté about 2 minutes.
- Add the butternut squash, yam, and grated ginger. Stir and sauté about 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and spices, and sauté another 3 minutes before adding the coconut milk and garbanzo beans. Stir well to incorporate everything together.
- Cover the skillet with a lid and bring the butternut squash curry to a full boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking until vegetables are cooked through, stirring periodically, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- If serving the curry with rice, prepare the rice while the curry is cooking.
- Serve with chopped Thai basil, or cilantro and chopped chives.
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I originally shared this butternut squash curry recipe on November 5, 2013. I updated the photographs and added more relevant information to the post but the recipe itself is largely the same.