Butternut Squash and Yam Curry

Butternut Squash and Yam Curry  | www.theroastedroot.net

Do you ever think about what goes into the food you make? You’re looking at me like, “Julia, if I’m making the food, I had better think about what goes into it…else I set out to make chicken alfredo and end up with lamb burgers.” To which, I would respond with a sigh and say, “Nooo, my cheeky friend, I mean what goes into the food you make prior to it reaching your door stoop.”

And you’re all, “listen, smalls. This ain’t New York City. I don’t have a door stoop. I’m not Alex Hitchens, and I’m totally not going 90% so you can go the other 10%.” At which point, I would nod and say, “fair enough.”

What were we talking about? Oh yes, food. And where it comes from.

Butternut Squash and Yam Curry  | www.theroastedroot.net

While I cook, I like to visualize all the steps it took for the ingredients to get to my door stoop. The seeds that grow, the water and soil that feed and nurture, the hands that harvest, the transportation from farm to store to home, and finally, the tools that create finished product out of raw material. Even simple recipes, like this butternut squash and yam curry, have a back story.

In my head, the process is likely far more romantic than the reality. The way my story goes, each vegetable was handpicked by someone in love, because let’s face it: produce picked with love trumps produce picked with anger any damn day.

And the spices. The way it goes in my fantastical story, each spice is grown in a remote, exotic place where the only way in or out is via elephant or blue whale ride. Each sowed, harvested, dried, transported with…you guessed it…love. And in this way, I can transfer all the lovey dovey goodness into my food. This is what I think about while I am cooking. Sometimes. Sometimes I think about Snoop Dogg.

Butternut Squash and Yam Curry  | www.theroastedroot.net

Hey, you’re looking at a typical weeknight meal for me.  Veggie-filled, simple, lots of flavor, filling. The top three ways I like to prepare vegetables are as follows: salads, stir frys (fries?), and curries. Aren’t those the ONLY ways one can prepare vegetables? In my house, yes. I refuse to steam or microwave. Like a punked-out child who will not put her whole head under water at the swimming pool. Whoa, memories from childhood are coming flooding back.

If you’re into nuking veggies, HALT! Not that I have an opinion about microwaved canned green beans or anything. I totally don’t have one of those. You’re like, “Julia, I nuked a can of green beans last night. No one died.” To which I respond: “I’m sorry, but we can’t date anymore. Your broken heart will mend in time.”

Butternut Squash and Yam Curry  | www.theroastedroot.net

Anyway, butternut squash curry is the greatest thing that happened since the door stoop. Everyone knows that.

There is nothing like throwing vegetables in a wok or sauté pan and enjoying a delicious, filling meal after a long day. Adding animal protein is easy as pie. In fact, chicken would be great in this curry. If you scoff at vegetarian meals, shrug it off and just add chicken.

Have you entered my Blentec Giveaway yet? Go get it!

Butternut Squash and Yam Curry | www.theroastedroot.net

Butternut Squash & Yam Curry

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Author: Julia


  • 2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 1 cups large jewel yam chopped into ½” cubes (4 )
  • 1 cups small butternut squash peeled and chopped into ½” cubes (6 )
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger peeled and grated
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 14- ounce full-fat canned coconut milk*
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • Rice for serving


  1. In a large sauté pan, heat oil to medium.
  2. Add the onion and sauté about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the butternut squash, yam, and grated ginger. Stir and sauté about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and spices, and sauté another 3 minutes before adding the coconut milk and chicken broth. Stir to incorporate everything together.
  5. Cover the sauté pan and bring it to a full boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the sauté pan. Continue cooking until vegetables are cooked through, stirring periodically.
  6. If serving the curry with rice, prepare the rice while the curry is cooking.
  7. Serve with chopped basil, mint, or cilantro, and a dollop of plain yogurt.

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  1. Tieghan

    um…..I need to cook more like you! Generally, I have no idea what I am thinking about! LOL!
    I do love me some butternut and some curry and lots of rice! You know this is my kind of meal! Oh and I am not into nuking or steaming veggies either!

    1. Julia Post author

      Good luck, my dear! That’s a tough battle to win, but nevertheless, you could always throw some chicken in his side of the saute pan. Or bacon. Or both. Hell, add a burger in there while you’re at it. 😉

  2. Grace @ FoodFitnessFreshAir

    My kind of autumn curry here! As a former full-time summer farmer, or whatever you’d like to call it, I definitely find myself fantasizing about the roots of my ingredients. No longer in the farming world anymore, it’s so easy for me to slide back into romanticizing everything. It’s tough work, but a beautiful process for sure!

  3. Julie

    Yummy, yummy, in my tummy. True story: Most days, I don’t give a poop where my food came from. I just want it cooked and eaten and dishes finished. Oh, maybe that’s just Mondays and Tuesdays so I can watch the Voice. Carry on.

    1. Julia Post author

      GAH we need to watch The Voice together!

      The whole “sometimes I think about Snoop Dogg thing” is a way more accurate description of my actual thoughts while cooking. It’s probably about 95% Snoop Dogg or whatever else is playing on pandora radio at the time. Come to think of it, my thinking has become pretty freaking shallow since my tween years. Whatever happened to contemplating the meaning of life and yadda yadda? Now it’s just “derr, I think I’ll go for a jog and then eat a burrito.” Is it because my mind has digressed over the years, or is it because the actual meaning of life = jogs + burritos? Whoa, look who’s getting existential now!

      . . . And with that, I think I’ve met my depthful-thinking quota for the entire day 😉

      1. Julie

        Actual meaning of life=burritos. That’s all. And yes, we need to watch the Voice together, as long as you don’t mind me complaining when they are off key. And with that, I’m done thinking, too. May be nap time. One never knows.

  4. Abby

    I’m obsessed with canned peas…like could eat them every day forever. 🙂 But I will fully admit that should a fresh pea waltz in to my kitchen (now there’s an image for you!) it would probably knock the socks off my canned pea…who’s the equivalent of say, the chicken dance. Anyways, I love that you think about Snoop Dogg haha, my mind on my curry and my curry on my mind.

    1. Julia Post author

      Oh I forgot about peas. I’ll give you peas, because where the hell do you find them fresh? Nowhere. Canned peas are unparalleled. It’s either canned or frozen, and the whole thawing thing just requires too much patience. We could totally open a can of peas and drink some gin n juice. That would be acceptable.

  5. Ruthy @ Omeletta

    Strangely enough, I’ve thought about Snoop Dogg while cooking before, too. Like, “Why ‘Snoop Lion’ these days? what not Snoop Tiger, if we’re really going for it?”
    And I promisepromise, I will never nuke a can of green beans in the microwave. I prefer my life chemical-leached free, thanks!

  6. Pamela Joy

    This looks so good. I picked up some of the things to make this on the way home from the library tonight, I had the butternut squash and basil and onion and oil and spices at home 🙂 I am making red quinoa on the side. It started raining here in south Florida while I was in the library so I felt ‘ cold’ so this is perfect , it was perfect before but even more so now. I love curry and coconut milk and everything you have listed so my mouth has been watering ever since I read this recipe this morning. I cook like you do, I don’t own a steamer or a microwave and I am working on eating more vegan than vegetarian these days. You make me smile when I read your blog. Thank you for the great idea and recipe. I am adding some broccoli rabe on the side , love the bitter greens next to the sweet orange butternut squash and yam , not in the dish but as a side. Thank you.

    1. Julia Post author

      I’m so glad you’re trying it! Love the idea of having broccoli rabe to go along with the meal. Curry is definitely one of my favorites to throw together – seems like I’m making it every week now that it’s chilly out. Hope you enjoy!

  7. Pamela Joy

    JULIA!!!! I just sat down to my dinner ! I made this, well it is almost just like what you wrote, I made it with light coconut milk, they didn’t have the full fat coconut milk at my market I stopped at and when I tasted it when I was about to serve it to myself , I thought hmm needs a bit of depth so I cut up a few baby bella mushrooms and that worked . You know what song was in my head as I was making it and I had to improvise ‘ I CAN’T DRIVE 55’ 😉 I was sitting here eating my delicious dinner and thought , I have to put this down and write Julia and tell her thank you again, I have been going mmm mmmm mmmm for the last 10 minutes , so this note gave me a few minutes to breathe and let my taste buds remember what they are tasting. YUM. LOVE IT!

    1. Julia Post author

      Yippyyyyy! I’m so glad you like it! You’re making me want to make another batch of it (mine got devoured days and days ago:( ). It’s so simple and yet filling and delicious. Amazing what we can do with so few ingredients…plus a little Snoop Dogg…plus a little Sammy Hagar 😉 Thanks for the note, and enjoy the rest of your evening, my dear!

  8. Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out

    This post proves that you spend approximately 900x more time out in nature than I do. Mostly because I could get dirty out there, and lord knows I wouldn’t want dirt under my fingernails. (I’m not kidding. Ask my momma.)

    Speaking along the lines of Snoop Dogg…I heard on the radio the other day that Puff Daddy is going to go back to being called P.Diddy because he feels it gives him more “artistic somethingorother” (ok, I wasn’t listening very closely, mostly rolling my eyes).

    That was a truly horrible story.

    1. Julia Post author

      Here I was thinking P.Diddy was P.Diddy this WHOLE time. When did he switch back?? Pick a freaking name, people! And maybe let’s leave it our real name so that we don’t have to go re-branding ourselves every 5 years. Sheesh!

      Dirt under fingernails blows. That’s that.

    1. Julia Post author

      haha! I have to admit, I TOTALLY use curry powder when I’m feeling ultra lazy. But I do love coming up with my own flavor profiles. Thanks for the note! 🙂

  9. Kari@Loaves n Dishes

    I love that you blended your own spice mix instead of buying a generic jar of “curry”. It adds so much more personality to the dish! And I’m 100% with you on the microwave thing, although I do microwave corn on the cob in the husk.

  10. Gina

    Guess what we are having for dinner tonight? Yes, this curry. Can’t wait to try it. My hubby always says my curry is bland bet he won’t say that tonight. Will let you know how it goes.

  11. Pingback: 60 favourite vegan recipes – Easy Cheesy Vegetarian

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