Dairy Free,  Gluten Free,  Main Course,  Recipe,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

Lightened-Up Butternut Squash Curry + Forbidden Black Rice


Is there still time to cram in a few more healthy January recipes?

Good, because I’ve got one today that I’m hoping you’l love. I don’t make Indian food nearly as often as I should. I thoroughly enjoy all the flavors involved in curries but the reason I don’t add these recipes to the menu too often is because not everyone in my house likes them like I do.

Hey, that’s fine with me by the way, as a foodie I’ve accepting taking the teasing I sometimes get from my family about some of the strange foods I love. For example, I love brussels sprouts. I know it’s not everyone’s favorite, but I don’t care. I’ll just be over here shamelessly chowing on my sprouts and the haters can go eat a biscuit. Haha, I’m kidding (mostly).

Anyway, this was one of the rare times when I just really needed to make a curry so I went for it. I also decided to serve it with some of my beloved black rice. Would you believe me if I told you this black rice is from the same very small bag I used the last time I shared a recipe using black rice?

I’m guessing it must seem like if it’s made its way onto the blog I must make it a lot, but honestly it’s not very common for me. I just happen to love how it looks and whenever I do cook it I can’t help adding it to a photo of something. Although, I do love the taste and texture as well. It’s a very nutty rice with a great bite to it. If you haven’t tried it I’d recommend it.

If you’re familiar with Thai and Indian cuisine at all you might know that they use quite a bit of coconut milk and sometimes nut butters. While I absolutely will not be giving up these things anytime ever, I realize they’re not exactly on the light side so I thought it would be nice to make a lighter version to show how it can be done without sacrificing flavor.

Oh, and lastly, I was keeping this pretty much as light as possible by using powdered peanut butter, but it can easily be substituted with regular peanut butter if you prefer a creamier curry.

Lightened-Up Butternut Squash Curry + Forbidden Black Rice

Need a light and healthy curry in a hurry? This recipe has both a vegan and non-vegan version and comes together in 45 minutes or less!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil divided
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger minced
  • 2 1/2 cups 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced into cubes
  • 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons powdered peanut butter *see note
  • 1 14 ounce can light coconut milk (**see note)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 4 servings forbidden black rice cooked according to package instructions
  • steamed vegetables for serving such as broccolini (optional)


  1. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large, high-sided skillet and cook chopped onions, garlic, ginger, and cilantro over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes until softened.
  2. When the onions are tender add the curry paste, squash, turmeric, and garam masala, coconut milk, water, chickpeas, and salt and pepper to taste. Increase heat until it comes to a boil then reduce to simmer and cook for 20 - 25 minutes covered, stirring often and adding a few splashes of water if it gets too dry during this time.
  3. After it has simmered, remove lid and simmer a few minutes longer until thickened. Lastly, stir in the powdered (or regular) peanut butter.
  4. Serve hot with warm black rice and hot broccolini if desired.

Recipe Notes

*For the lightest version of the recipe you can purchase powdered peanut butter online or possibly at your local grocery or health store. However if you prefer a slightly creamier curry I recommend using real peanut butter here. **You can also purchase lite coconut milk online or in stores but, again, for a creamier curry use full-fat.

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