Pumpkin Curry (Using Canned Pumpkin!)

Got pumpkin? Whip up this easy Pumpkin Curry – it’s creamy and packed with bold flavors, all while leaning on pantry staples like canned pumpkin and chickpeas. Trust me, this dish is a game-changer when you need some hearty and deeply nourishing comfort food in 30 minutes or less!

Overhead view of Pumpkin Curry on a bed of rice.

Pumpkin Curry–Using Canned Pumpkin!

Every fall, I get a bit canned-pumpkin obsessed. It fuels my seasonal favorites: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, irresistibly moist Pumpkin Muffins, that perfect slice of Pumpkin Bread, decadent cream-cheese-frosted Pumpkin Bars, and spiced Pumpkin Waffles.

But, let’s face it: Amid the sea of pumpkin desserts, I’ve gotta get some real meals in. And when I’m in a pumpkin-everything mood? Well, that’s when pumpkin is channeled over to the savory side of my kitchen.

Inspired by my family’s fave Chickpea Curry, I thought, “Let’s toss in some pumpkin!” And voilà! This curry came to life, satisfying those pumpkin cravings, while also being wholesome and nutritious. This curry is naturally vegan, yet packed with plant-based protein and a ton of fiber, so you’ll end up full and fueled.

The best part? It’s quick to make since there’s no meat involved. But the real win is in its taste: deeply flavorful with the perfect hint of spice, and a dreamy, creamy texture. Trust me, this Pumpkin Curry is next-level delicious!

Ingredient shot: all the elements to make Pumpkin Curry

Pumpkin Curry Ingredients

  • Coconut oil (or vegetable oil): Either type of oil works, but coconut oil has a very subtle coconut flavor that nicely complements the curry.
  • Red onion: While we’re using red onion for its slight sweetness and vibrant color, feel free to sub with yellow onions in a pinch.
  • Carrots: Choose firm, bright-colored carrots. Dice them finely so they soften down enough during cooking.
  • Garlic and ginger: If you’re juggling a busy day, Dorot® cubes are lifesavers. Found in the frozen veggie section, they’ve got crushed ginger and garlic in small cubes. If not, refrigerated ginger paste and minced garlic work great too!
  • Full-fat coconut milk: This adds creaminess and a touch of sweetness to the curry. Always shake the can well before opening, as separation is natural. Trust me on this one: Full-fat coconut milk gives you that authentic, rich flavor. The lite version falls short on flavor and thickening. Check out the “quick tip” below.
  • Canned pumpkin puree: Be sure to use pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling. Check the ingredients list – it should only list pumpkin.
  • Chickpeas: Call them what you may – garbanzo beans, Egyptian peas, Bengal gram, or ceci beans; it’s all the same! Be sure to give them a good rinse to wash away excess salt and any canning liquids.
  • Spice blend: While there are a bunch of spices needed, this blend is a powerhouse of flavor! Feel free to adjust the quantities based on personal preference; some people prefer their curry spicier, while others might lean towards a milder taste. 
  • Cilantro, lime juice, rice, and naan (for serving): For that final flourish! Fresh cilantro and lime bring a welcome freshness, while rice and warm naan stand ready to scoop and soak up all the deliciousness.


Coconut milk choices getting your head in a spin? Hunt for shelf-stable cans, usually hanging out in the international aisle with other Latin or Asian food. Need some expert guidance? Here’s an article highlighting the top brands. On my grocery runs, I usually grab Imperial Kitchen® – it’s never let me down.

Process shots: Sautee onion and carrot in oil; add ginger; sauté and add seasonings.

How To Make Pumpkin Curry (Tips)

  • Dice ’em fine: Ensure your carrots and red onions are diced up finely. In a rush? Toss the veggies in a food processor for a speedy chop!
  • Spice it right: When using spices like curry powder or garam masala, make sure they haven’t been sitting on your shelf for years. Fresh spices make a world of difference in flavor.
  • Stirring is key: Especially when adding the seasonings and aromatics, stir constantly to help evenly distribute the flavors and prevent burning.
  • Taste as you go: Before serving, taste the curry and adjust seasonings, especially salt and pepper, according to your preference.
  • Creaminess factor: If you want an even creamier texture, consider blending some of the curry (one to two cups) and then mixing it back in.
  • Heat level: If you’re sensitive to spice, start with less and gradually add more. Remember, you can always add, but you can’t take away.

Process shots: Saute mixture; add pumpkin, coconut milk, and chickpeas; simmer and mix through the lime and cilantro.

What To Pair With Pumpkin Curry

When it comes to Pumpkin Curry, these are my three favorite pairings: toasty warm naan, refreshing cucumber raita, and fluffy basmati rice. Let’s break it down:

  • Raita: Think of raita as India’s answer to Greek tzatziki. It’s a yogurt-based side dish that often includes veggies and a dash of herbs. My take on raita might not be straight from the streets of Delhi, but wow, is it delicious! The coolness of the raita balances perfectly against the heat of the curry. Got a minute? Whip this up; it’s a game-changer.
  • Basmati rice: Now, if the world of rice has ever betrayed you with a mushy outcome, let me share my no-fail way of making perfect basmati rice. Read about it below!
  • Naan: Serving naan with your Pumpkin Curry? Make sure it’s warm. You can char it stovetop, pop it in a toaster oven, or give it a quick zap in the microwave. How, you ask? Let’s break it down:

Warming Up That Naan

  • Stovetop style: Hit both sides of the naan with some olive oil cooking spray. Now, “grill” it right over your open stovetop flame until it’s got those gorgeous char marks. Whip it off the flame and straight under a cozy tea towel.
  • Microwave magic: Place the naan under a damp paper towel and microwave it briefly for 10-15 seconds. Once it’s out, swaddle it in that damp towel.
  • Toaster tips: On the hunt for the perfect naan for your toaster? Look for mini naan – brands like Stonefire® have you covered.

Nail That Basmati Rice Every Time!

When it comes to laying a fluffy base for our hearty Pumpkin Curry, here’s my go-to method for basmati rice:

  1. Measure and wash: Pour out one cup of rice and give it a good wash in a fine-mesh sieve until the water below it the rice runs clear.
  2. Soak: Dump the washed rice into a bowl and cover it in water. Let it soak for about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Get the pot ready: Meanwhile, fill up a big pot with water and crank up the heat.
  4. Boil time: When your pot’s water is at a rolling boil, drain your soaked rice and toss it in.
  5. Cook and fluff: Keeping the heat steady, let the rice boil for 5-10 minutes (taste a grain to test for doneness), then drain and give it a gentle fluff with a fork.

Just remember: This magic formula is tailor-made for basmati. Trying it with long grain, short grain, jasmine, or others might not give you the same results!

Overhead of a pot full of Pumpkin Curry


This Pumpkin Curry gets even better the next day as the flavors meld, so it’s great for meal prep or leftovers. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, and it should keep well for up to five days.

More Pumpkin Recipes:

Pumpkin Curry

Got pumpkin? Whip up this easy Pumpkin Curry – it’s creamy and packed with bold flavors, all while leaning on pantry staples like canned pumpkin and chickpeas. Trust me, this dish is a game-changer when you need some hearty and deeply nourishing comfort food!

Pumpkin Curry

Got pumpkin? Whip up this easy Pumpkin Curry – it’s creamy and packed with bold flavors, all while leaning on pantry staples like canned pumpkin and chickpeas. Trust me, this dish is a game-changer when you need some hearty and deeply nourishing comfort food!


  • ONION AND CARROT: In a large cast-iron pot over medium-high heat, heat the coconut oil. Add onions and carrots. Cook, stirring frequently, until translucent and tender, 8-11 minutes. Don’t rush; they won’t soften much further as the curry cooks.

  • AROMATICS: Stir in garlic and ginger and cook for a minute. Add seasonings, including salt and pepper to preference (I add 1½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper). Stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

  • PUMPKIN AND CHICKPEAS: Pour in coconut milk, pumpkin puree, and chickpeas. Mix well. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce heat to low. Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should thicken and be very fragrant.

  • FINISHING: Remove from heat. Mix in cilantro and lime juice. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve over rice with warmed naan on the side and a scoop of raita (optional).

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Coconut milk: Full-fat coconut milk is recommended for rich flavor and creamy texture. It also helps balance the dish’s spiciness. Lite milk won’t thicken the same. 
Note 2: Pumpkin: Ensure you’re using canned pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling– which has added sugars and spices.
Note 3: Serving suggestions: Warm the naan: Char the naan over the stovetop, warm it in the microwave, or toast naan minis. For a charred effect, lightly spray the naan with olive oil and grill on an open flame (medium heat) for about 10-15 seconds on each side. 
Optional raita yogurt sauce: For a cooling contrast, try this raita recipe:

  • ½ cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup finely chopped English cucumber (or Persian/salad cucumbers)
  • 2 tablespoons each: fresh cilantro and green onions (or just cilantro)
  • ¼ teaspoon each: ground cumin, ground coriander, fine sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and serve with the curry.
Note 4: Garam masala: This spice blend can vary by brand in taste and heat. If you find your curry too sweet, consider adding more garam masala or red pepper flakes. If it’s too spicy, try adding 1 to 1½ tsp white sugar.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 482kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 25g | Sodium: 40mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 11g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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