But never forget that pumpkin is sold as a vegetable, and just like it’s close cousin the butternut squash, pumpkin is the perfect candidate for savory preparations as well—like this spicy One Pot Pumpkin Curry.
The key to easy and über-flavorful curry: red curry paste
You could mix up your favorite dried herbs and spices to get the classic curry flavor, but the truth is, many of the standard spices in curry tend to lose their potency very quickly after grinding. So unless you’re refreshing your spices every month or so, you’re going to have to find another way to get the intense curry flavor. The solution to this is simple: curry paste!
Curry paste is the wet version of curry powder, and you can probably find it in small jars at your regular supermarket in the international foods aisle. Because it is wet, it keeps the flavor of the spices nice and robust.
For this recipe, you’re looking to pick up Thai red curry paste—Mae Ploy is a brand that a lot of folks like, but we don’t have it at our stores around here, so I usually just use Thai Kitchen, which is easier to track down (although less potent). It’s important to note that the Mae Ploy brand contains shrimp, so if you’re a herbivore, stick to the Thai Kitchen brand, which is 100% vegan. If you’d like, you can also make your own curry paste at home—here’s a great how-to from Hot Thai Kitchen.
The intensity of curry paste does vary widely from brand-to-brand, so if you’re using it for the first time, I recommend starting out small and adding more paste to the curry after taste-testing.
Noodles, rice, cauliflower, oh my! Pick your favorite base for this pumpkin curry.
The curry itself is 100% plant-based, vegan, gluten-free, Whole30, and paleo—if you follow one of those diets, the only consideration you’ll have to make is what base you want to put your curry on top of. Gluten-free? Try brown rice or rice noodles. Paleo or Whole30? Go for cauliflower rice.
I can’t find a pie pumpkin! What can I substitute for the pumpkin in this curry?
We call for you to cut up your own pie pumpkin here. A pie pumpkin in a small pumpkin that is very sweet and flavorful—you don’t want to use the pumpkins you’re carving for Halloween because they are bred for size, not flavor.
Most supermarkets in my area carry pie pumpkins September-November, which is great, but what if you want to make this outside of the fall months? Easy. You have a three options:
- Stock up: If you know you like this curry (you will!) you can stock up on pie pumpkins and store them in your house. When properly stored and cured, winter squash like pie pumpkins can last up to a year!
- Sub in butternut squash: You can swap in peeled and cubed butternut squash for the pumpkin, which tends to be much easier to find all year.
- Use frozen: Some grocery stores even carry frozen peeled and cubed pumpkin and butternut squash, which is a great, affordable solution that also happens to save you some time. No need to defrost. Just toss in the frozen pumpkin or squash at the same stage of the recipe. Woohoo!
This riff on a traditional Thai red curry is a flavor explosion and a super interesting way to break pumpkin out of its sweets box! It also makes for a great meal prep—just pre-cook the curry and your rice or noodles, pop them into meal prep containers, and stash them in the fridge until you’re ready to microwave. Enjoy!