Delicata Squash & Chickpea Curry
Introducing a very simple, vegetable and chickpea packed, hearty, warming, and spicy curry to take you through your coldest and darkest fall days. Note, this is a vegukate take on a curry, and therefore there is absolutely nothing traditional about it – with the exception of the curry paste and curry powder. Truth be told, I have very limited experience making curry of my own. In fact, the only time I’ve made curry was in Thailand at a cooking school on an organic farm in Chiang Mai. There, we pounded the life out of some Thai herbs, chilies, and spices to make a fragrant and deep dark red paste, which was added with other herbs and vegetables to create a warming dish.
In this instance, I completely cheated and purchased a good quality red curry paste from a local Portland company, but by all means – pound your own! The time saving abilities of having your own curry paste, powder, and other spices, however, is a great way to make a hearty meal in about an hour’s time. In fact, having these few pantry and spice staples on hand makes the other ingredients of this curry very versatile and almost interchangeable.
Starting with the winter squash. This gorgeous veg is a delicta squash, and an ingredient that should be well stocked in your kitchen all season long. Unlike other extremely-hard-to-cut-in-half (butternut – I’m looking at you!) squash, the delicata is soft and easy to manipulate and slice. In fact, when cooked its texture is more similar to a sweet potato than any other winter squash. Its taste is similarly as sweet and delicious as a sweet potato! Speaking of that curry versatility, you can swap out the delicata for any other variety of winter squash or pumpkin, or even sweet potatoes as well.
All About that Squash.
Like other winter squash varieties, the delicata shows up just when we need it the most. As the days start to get shorter and colder, we begin to cook our food longer and hotter – both to cook the veg and to warm up our cold kitchens. Winter squash, like delicata, is also filled with essential vitamins like Vitamin A and C. The former plays an important role in bone growth, skin health, properly functioning vision, as well as being an essential component in immune system health. The later, as everyone and their mother knows, is an essential Vitamin during cold and flu season, as Vitamin C helps protect cells from oxidative stress while helping to boost the immune system. Delicata squash is also filled with fiber for an optimally functioning gastrointestinal system, iron, manganese, folate, some B Vitamins, and calcium too.
The best part about this curry is that the squash, along with other goodies like eggplant, cook themselves while happily bubbling away on the stove. It’s a simple, one pot meal that will warm your bones and have you loving on the delicata all season long.
Vitamin filled delicata winter squash + hearty eggplant + fiber rich chickpeas + spicy delicious curry flavors + creamy coconut milk + antioxidant lovin’ garlic + bright cilantro = A squash loving curry that will fill you up and warm your bones!
Delicata Squash & Chickpea Curry
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 heaped Tablespoons red curry paste
½ Tablespoon curry powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon cayenne
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can coconut milk
1 medium delicata squash, seeds scraped out and cubed*
1 medium eggplant, cubed
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
A handful of cilantro (to garnish)
Cooked brown rice or quinoa (to serve)
Add olive oil, garlic, curry paste, and spices to a large pot over medium heat. Sauté spice and oil mixture for 5 minutes until warm and fragrant. Add in tomatoes, coconut milk, cubed squash, cubed eggplant, and sea salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, cover with the lid ajar, reduce to a low-simmer and cook for 40 minutes, stirring every now and then.
Add in chickpeas, stir well, and cook for another 10 or so minutes. Curry is done when squash is tender and soft when pierced with a fork. Spoon curry into bowls, garnish with fresh cilantro, and serve with brown rice or quinoa if desired. Enjoy!
-*To cut the delicata squash: cut in half lengthways and scoop out seeds. (You can save and roast these for a delicious snack!) With each half, cut squash into half moon pieces and into cubes for the curry.
-Although I used delicata squash, you can easily swap with a small butternut squash or even 2-3 small sweet potatoes.
-No need to peel delicata squash, just give a good rinse before cutting.