Easy Coconut Curry

This is my go-to vegetable curry recipe. It's easy to make, but it packs a punch of flavor from turmeric, ginger, more delicious spices & fresh chiles.

Curry Recipe

This coconut curry recipe is everything I want on a weeknight. Scratch that – it’s everything I want… any time. I’ve been eating it as leftovers for lunch, dinner… I even ate a bowlful for breakfast the other day.

The recipe is particularly Monday night-friendly because it’s quick to make yet packs a punch of flavor. It’s filled with cozy, nourishing vegetables that will help you recover from a weekend of maybe… I dunno… too much pumpkin cake?

Vegetable Curry recipe ingredients

The ingredient shot above makes this recipe look more complicated than it actually is. Once you’ve chopped the vegetables and measured the spices, you’re only about 20 (mostly hands-off) minutes from a creamy, delicious hot curry dinner on the table.

I find this recipe really fun and soothing to make. There’s nothing better than this moment when the coconut milk and spices hit the vegetables. Of course, this moment will happen on the stove and not on the countertop, I just had to move my pot near the window to show you:

How to make vegetable curry spices in a pot with vegetables and coconut milk

The ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom… it all smells so good! You’re going to have to take my word on it unless you can smell through your screen.

vegetables in coconut milk with peas and spinach

How to Make Coconut Curry

Most of the steps of this recipe are actually pictured above – it’s really that simple. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Heat coconut oil in a medium pot over medium heat, add a chopped onion and cook until it softens.
  2. Stir in the butternut squash (or sweet potato) and chiles, and cook for 5 minutes more.
  3. Add the cauliflower, coconut milk, and spices, and simmer until the veggies are tender.
  4. During the last five or so minutes, stir in the green things and add squeezes of lemon and lime to brighten everything up.

So healthy!

Coconut Curry Recipe with rice in bowls

Vegetable Curry Recipe Variations

This butternut and cauliflower curry recipe is very flexible, so I encourage you to use it as a template. Here are some ideas to change it up:

  • Use different veggies. If you don’t have butternut squash, use sweet potatoes. If you don’t have cauliflower, then use broccoli. Green beans, carrots, bell peppers, and potatoes would be great here as well.
  • If you want more heat, spice it up. Add extra chiles or more turmeric, ginger, cardamom, cayenne, or red pepper flakes.
  • Vary how you serve it. You can serve this curry with basmati rice, brown rice, cauliflower rice, or even quinoa. You can also customize it with any type of protein that you like in your curry, or you can just make the recipe exactly as it’s written, a.k.a. my favorite version 🙂

Vegetable Curry Recipe in bowls

If you love this vegetable curry recipe…

Then be sure to try my Curried Red Lentil Dip, Curried Cauliflower Soup, or Curried Lentil Soup!

Easy Coconut Curry

rate this recipe:
5 from 27 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Serves 4
This is my go-to healthy vegetable curry recipe. It's easy to make, yet packs a punch of flavor from the turmeric, ginger, and other delicious spices.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 3 red Thai chiles, or 1 serrano, or ½ jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen peas
  • Freshly ground black pepper

for serving:

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and well-browned, about 10 minutes, reducing the heat to low halfway through.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, and salt. Set aside.
  • Add the butternut squash and chiles to the pot, stir, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the cauliflower and then add the coconut milk and the spice mixture. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  • Add the lemon juice, lime juice, spinach, peas, and stir. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding additional lime juice, salt, and pepper, as desired.
  • Serve the curry over the rice with fresh basil, naan bread, if desired, and lime wedges on the side.

 

75 comments

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  1. Susan
    10.15.2018

    I can see why you would like this so much – it sounds wonderful. I would definitely add protein to this, simply because I can’t survive on high carb/low protein meals. I’m looking forward to trying it.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.15.2018

      Hi Susan, I hope you enjoy it! It’s so flexible, any protein you like would work here.

  2. CINDY L LITTLE
    10.15.2018

    This look delicious but agree with Susan, may need some protein such as tofu or cashews. Looking forward to making soon!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.15.2018

      It’s a super flexible recipe – any of those things would be delish!

  3. amy
    10.15.2018

    do you use raw butternut squash or do you cook it beforehand?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.15.2018

      Hi Amy,

      Start with raw squash – it cooks in the recipe for 25 minutes (on the stove). I just moved the pot near the window for the photo because my stove area is a little dark.

  4. Gaby Dalkin
    10.15.2018

    Mmmm, this curry is so cozy!!

    • Dominique
      03.01.2020

      5 stars
      Super yum, great winter soup!

  5. Danielle
    10.15.2018

    5 stars
    Any ideas on how to sub out the coconut milk if I don’t have it on hand?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.15.2018

      Hi Danielle, it’s the base of this recipe so I’d just wait to make it until you can get a can of coconut milk, there isn’t a sub 🙂

      • Donna
        04.22.2019

        I used whole cow’s milk just fine!

    • Becca
      07.13.2020

      5 stars
      This recipe is amazing! My friend is allergic to coconut so I subbed vegetable broth for cooking the vegetables in and then added a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream at the end. Love!!!!

      • Jeanine Donofrio
        07.18.2020

        Hi Becca, I’m so glad you both loved it!

  6. Richie
    10.15.2018

    This dish looks amazing, I’m going to try this out tomorrow night!

  7. Gil
    10.15.2018

    Cooked it tonight and served with bastami rice. Added roasted cashews. So delicious. A+ keeper. Thank you.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.17.2018

      Hi Gil, so glad you loved it!

  8. Sandie
    10.16.2018

    Do you think this would freeze well?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.17.2018

      Hi Sandie, yes it freezes very well!

  9. This is great! I love curries and as a coincidence, I have all the ingredients in my fridge! Except the butternut, but I’ll use sweet potatoes! Many thanks for this, will make it on Friday eve, but already loving it right now! 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.17.2018

      I hope you love it!

      • Michaela from 1001voyagesgourmands
        10.22.2018

        We did love it, it’s delicious! 🙂 Thanks so much for the recipe!!

  10. Susie
    10.19.2018

    5 stars
    Made this last night. It was astoundingly good. No Thai chiles in my market. Used one Serrano and one Fresno chile. Thank you so much for a perfect meal.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.19.2018

      Hi Suzie! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed it so much!

  11. Vickie
    10.19.2018

    5 stars
    You’ve out done yourself with this one, Jeanine! I made this tonite with the squash, Serrano pepper, broccoli, carrots and spinach, then tossed in some shredded chicken=EPIC!! Anticipating it will be good for tomorrow’s lunch as well. So good. Keep it up!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.21.2018

      Hi Vickie! Ha, yay, I’m so glad it was such a hit! I really love this spice combination together! I hope you had a terrific lunch the following day 🙂

  12. Cathy
    10.20.2018

    5 stars
    I made this tonight, just as written with the jalapeno chili. So, so, good! I will be making this for all of my fall pot luck dinners. Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.21.2018

      Hi Cathy – I’m so glad it was a hit! 💛💛

  13. Alexandra Phillips
    10.22.2018

    Thanks for this tasty recipe….

  14. Fran
    10.23.2018

    5 stars
    ❤️❤️❤️ I made this recently and it was delish!! I added mushrooms, cashews and .5 cup of veggie stock. Will definitely make it again. Thank you!! 😊

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.24.2018

      Hi Fran – I’m glad you loved it! ❤️❤️

  15. kate
    10.23.2018

    made this tonight and had leftover yellow raisins from another recipe. Threw them in and they were a really tasty burst of sweetness that perfectly complemented the other flavors.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.24.2018

      Ooh, I love the pop of sweetness – glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  16. KIm
    10.24.2018

    I have cardamon pods, not ground spice so not sure how to use them….? Help pls!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.24.2018

      Hi Kim, open up 3 or 4 of them, crush/chop up the little seeds inside (discard the pods), and add them with the butternut squash in step 3. Hope that helps!

  17. Ruth Kennedy
    10.25.2018

    5 stars
    I rarely leave comments on recipes but I made this two days ago (sans butternut squash, since I discovered at the last minute that I apparently had already used it for something else, so used some baby carrots instead). I just ate leftovers over basmati rice and they were *so freaking delicious*–even better than when freshly made!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.26.2018

      Hi Ruth! Thank you for commenting, I love hearing the feedback – I’m so glad you loved the recipe and it’s leftovers!

  18. Naomi
    11.02.2018

    5 stars
    I made this for lunches this week and it was super delicious, I will definitely be adding it to my regular meals list. I added white beans to it for protein and served it with buckwheat which worked really well. This combination of spices is my favourite! Thanks you 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.04.2018

      Hi Naomi, I’m so glad you loved it!

  19. Susan
    11.15.2018

    5 stars
    I made this for dinner last night and it was fantastic! Perfect dish for a chilly fall night. I loved how colorful it was. I found a beautiful dark yellow cauliflower at the farmer’s market that went great with the turmeric and the orange squash. I liked that it was very flavorful but not heavy. I ate the leftovers for lunch today and it was just as good the second time!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.17.2018

      Hi Susan, I’m so glad you loved it as much as I do!

  20. Katie K
    12.04.2018

    I have made this 3 times since you put it on your blog. It is a new fall/winter staple! THANK YOU!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.04.2018

      Yay, I’m so so happy to hear that! So sweet of you to come back to let me know!

  21. Stacey
    12.07.2018

    5 stars
    Amazing recipe! I substituted a chopped sweet potato for the butternut squash and skipped serving with rice. I also added kale for extra greens. Delicious and warmed the soul!

  22. Kimberly Medland
    01.20.2019

    5 stars
    Another favorite! Thank you for sharing!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.22.2019

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  23. andrea
    02.24.2019

    This dish is amazing ! so yummy… Thanks

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.01.2019

      Hi Andrea, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  24. Bodhi
    03.03.2019

    5 stars
    It tastes so simple

  25. Donna from instagram
    04.22.2019

    5 stars
    I made this TWICE so far. Definitely added to my go-to list of dinners. The butternut squash in this is delicious! Perfect timing on the cooking, just before falling apart but still maintaining shape and melty tenderness.

    I used kale/collards instead of spinach for more textyre. I used cayenne/red pepper instead of serrano that I used the first time (forgot to buy for second time). Both worked.

    Topped generously with chopped cilantro and jemon juice worked too. Don’t forget to add some black pepper! That makes the tumeric more bioavailable (along with that coconut oil).

    I used cow’s milk instead of coconut because I had a lot on hand, and it worked well, though I’m sure canned coconut milk would be excellent. To make up for it I added virgin coconut oil (instead of refined) for that coconut flavor.

    Upped the peas to a cup and a whole onion because I especially like those. Served with quinoa for that protein rich meal. Thanks!

  26. Sarah from theyogacowgirl.com
    05.30.2019

    5 stars
    I made this on Monday night for a friend and it was so good. I will now use this recipe to use up CSA veggies. This was the first time I ever made a yellow curry.

    Since it is already HOT in Nashville I made it in the Instant Pot – 1 minute and then we let it do a natural release while we were in the pool.

    The rice was made the night before (Instant Pot.) I subbed sweet potato for the butternut squash and poured a can of veggie broth over the veggies to cook. Did step 4 as directed.

    I will be using this for lots of variations on the summer. Just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed this recipe and to let you know you are not blogging in vain.

  27. Joan
    10.04.2019

    Soo delicious and quick! This is a great way to get maximum veggie in my kids and husband. I added a can of chickpeas at the end to make this a complete meal.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.06.2019

      Hi Joan, I’m so glad you loved it so much! It’s my favorite go-to curry 🙂

  28. lori
    11.19.2019

    Can you cook it in a crockpot?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.21.2019

      You could!

  29. Shelly
    01.05.2020

    5 stars
    Making this right now. Adding shrimp to put in my kids bowls. It smells divine! And I have to say also I purchased Everyday and it’s the most beautiful cookbook I’ve had in a long while. I look forward to cooking it all!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.05.2020

      Hi Shelly, I hope you love the curry and the cookbook! Thank you!!

  30. Jeanine Donofrio
    01.10.2020

    Hi Christian, I’m so glad you loved it!

  31. robin
    01.24.2020

    I’m new to using coconut milk so I’m trying to get familiar with the differences, specifically the viscosity of various canned coconut milks.
    The full fat version I see is a big clump, like butter, over top of the liquid under.
    If discarding the liquid or using for smoothies, I’m wondering what’s the point of even canning it that way, but that’s a different question.
    Your photo that shows pouring the coconut milk it appears like, well, like a regular liquid ‘milk’, but your recipe calls for full fat, so did you blend the clump of coconut milk fat with the liquid to use the entire can, what we see you’re pouring is the (softened fat) blended altogether?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.24.2020

      Hi Robin, cans of coconut milk can vary in terms of how much the fats solidify (usually based on the temperature the can is stored at). Not to worry, add the whole can to this recipe – the solid clump and liquids. As you stir it in, it will melt together and become smooth. Hope that helps!

  32. Alison
    02.17.2020

    5 stars
    Delicious! I left out the peppers because I gave to my kids but it came out so good I will make more again soon! Thanks for sharing!

  33. Sara
    04.04.2020

    Hi Jeanine!

    Sooooo I’m at my parent’s house and am also super new at cooking so don’t judge me too harshly but…

    I got all the veggies and spices prepared and realized my parents don’t have a Dutch oven!! I was hoping you might be able to suggest an alternative? We have soup pots, skillets, and a crock pot. Thanks!!

    Sara

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.04.2020

      Hi Sara,

      No judgement! A large soup pot will be totally fine!

  34. Stephie
    04.27.2020

    5 stars
    This was great! Light, flavorful, healthy. We added some tofu and it made a great dinner. Also subbed kale because I did not have spinach and that was great too. Definitely making again!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.03.2020

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  35. Ann Stockwell
    05.11.2020

    5 stars
    This is delicious! I have tried many curry recipes and this curry has the best flavor. I doubled the garlic and also used extra onions.
    Thank you!! Will make again and again!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.15.2020

      Hi Ann, I’m so glad you loved it!

  36. K
    07.01.2020

    At what point of the process would I be best to freeze this? Excited to make it for my future self as a easy to heat and eat option. 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.01.2020

      Hi K,

      Cook it from start to finish, then let it cool to room temp and transfer to freezer-safe storage containers and freeze. To reheat, I thaw (microwave-safe) containers in the microwave, or you could transfer to a pot on the stove and heat until just warmed through. I hope you enjoy!

  37. Irritated cook
    08.06.2020

    It’d be nice to know what size can of coconut milk you use…

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.06.2020

      13.5 ounce

  38. Liz
    09.04.2020

    5 stars
    Made this last night and it was SO good!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.12.2020

      Hi Liz, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  39. Tabitha
    09.22.2020

    Is it THAT much of a problem to use light coconut milk? Full-fat would break the bank for my diet.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.22.2020

      Hi Tabitha, you can use light if you like, it’ll just be a thinner curry which is why we prefer regular coconut milk.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.