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:
4.85 from 58 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.

 

102 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Kenneth
    11.02.2020

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious dish! Just curious…where’s the curry in this curry?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.02.2020

      I’m glad you loved it! The spice blend is a curry spice blend.

      • Kenneth
        11.02.2020

        Gotcha! I didn’t know that curry was just a blend of spices. 🤦‍♂️
        Anyways, we are huge fans of all of your recipes that we have tried!

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          11.02.2020

          aw, yay, I’m so glad you’ve been loving the recipes!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. Jeanine Donofrio
    01.10.2020

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

  12. 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!!

  13. lori
    11.19.2019

    Can you cook it in a crockpot?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.21.2019

      You could!

  14. 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 🙂

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. Bodhi
    03.03.2019

    5 stars
    It tastes so simple

  18. 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!

  19. 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!

  20. 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!

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.