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!

Butternut squash and yam curry recipe with brown rice and garbanzo beans in two white bowls on a wood background with a red napkin to the side.

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!

Butternut Squash and Yam Curry on top of brown rice in a white bowl.

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.

Recipe Adaptations:

  • 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.
Skillet with butternut squash and yam curry. Finished and ready to serve.

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. 

In a large skillet or large thick-bottomed pot (I recommend a 12-inch skillet with a deep lip or a Dutch oven), heat the oil over medium heat.

Add the sliced onion and sauté for about 2 to 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened. 

Onions stir frying in a large skillet

Stir in the chopped butternut squash, chopped yam, and grated ginger. Sauté vegetables for about 3 minutes to allow them to soften up. 

Chopped butternut squash, onion, and yams cooking in a skillet.

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.

Butternut squash curry ingredients in a skillet, needing to be stirred.
Butternut squash curry with chickpeas added on top, ready to be mixed in.

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!

Finished butternut squash curry in a skillet.

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!

Butternut Squash and Yam Curry in a white bowl with a wood inlay fork and a red napkin to the side.

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:

Carb-loaded curry for life!

Butternut Squash and Yam Curry in a white bowl with a wood inlay fork and a red napkin to the side.

Butternut Squash and Yam Curry

5 from 1 vote
A delicious vegan curry recipe with butternut squash, yams, and chickpeas is so cozy and comforting during the fall and winter months! Serve it up with steamed brown rice for a healthy meal!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8 servings


  • 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

For Serving:

  • 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.


*Use two cans of coconut milk if you like a lot of sauce in your curries. If you go this route, you may consider adding extra spices, like another tablespoon of curry powder.
You can replace all of the individual spices with a total of 2 to 3 tablespoons of curry powder. Curry powder is a blend of ground cumin, coriander, garlic powder, turmeric, and cayenne pepper and sometimes cardamom, so replacing them with curry powder yields the same result. 


Serving: 1Serving (of 3) · Calories: 630kcal · Carbohydrates: 77g · Protein: 15g · Fat: 32g · Saturated Fat: 26g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g · Cholesterol: 1mg · Sodium: 890mg · Fiber: 15g · Sugar: 20g
Author: Julia
Course: Main Dishes, Meatless Main Dishes
Cuisine: American, Thai
Keyword: butternut squash and yam curry, butternut squash curry, curry, gluten free, healthy dinner recipes, healthy vegan dinner recipe, sweet potato curry, Thai curry recipe, vegan, vegetarian, vegetarian dinner recipes
Did You Make This Recipe?I want to see it! Tag @the.roasted.root on social media!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

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.

Julia Mueller
Meet the Author

Julia Mueller

Julia Mueller is a recipe developer, cookbook author, and founder of The Roasted Root. She has authored three bestselling cookbooks, – Paleo Power Powers, Delicious Probiotic Drinks, and The Quintessential Kale Cookbook. Her recipes have been featured in several national publications such as BuzzFeed, Self, Tasty, Country Living, Brit.co, etc.

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Questions and Reviews

  1. 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!

  2. You crack me up! I love how your brain works. This big bowl of squash and yams looks delicious. Now, if only I can convince my husband that he doesn’t need meat at every meal. Wish me luck! Pinned.

    1. 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. 😉

  3. 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!

  4. 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. 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. 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.

        1. I’ll accept your off-key complaints if you’ll accept my “why the hell did you pick her, Blake?!!” commentary 😉

  5. 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. 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.

  6. haha! Yes, produce picked with love is better than produce picked wit anger! Great post, delicious recipe!

  7. I’m going to start reading labels more carefully. If my spices don’t say “Hand-picked by someone in love who takes a daily elephant ride to work” I’m OUT!.

  8. 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!

  9. OMG I am so excited to make this. Adding this to this weeks dinner plan!! It’s so cold here, so this seriously looks DIVINE. Thanks for all the great recipes, Julia! Also, we nominated you for a blog award on our site. 🙂

  10. This sounds wonderful. I love curry and I have a huge butternut squash sitting on my counter just begging for a home in something delicious!

  11. 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. 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!

  12. 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. 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!

  13. 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. 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. 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! 🙂

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. This was a very good, simple dish!! I did add chicken to the dish and used the 2 cans of coconut milk. So good! Thank you!!