This Butternut Squash Black Bean Curry is a hearty vegan comfort food dish that is made 'from scratch' - without the need for curry paste. It is delicious served with steamed rice.
This recipe was of our staple dishes during the 3 months we spent in Vietnam earlier this year. We had it (or a variation of it) at least twice a week.
Having lived in Thailand for 8 months prior, I had gotten quite used to the ease of quick curry dishes. Who could blame me with all the freshly made curry paste varieties available at Thai markets.
Finding curry paste in Vietnam, at least in the small town of Hoi An, turned out to be not so easy. It didn't take long for me to go through the red curry paste I had brought along, but my curry cravings were far from over.
I then remembered that using paste is just one way of making curry - the Thai way. As far as I know, Indian curries only use ground spices. Actually, one of the most popular curry dishes on this blog doesn't use curry paste either.
So I used that Cauliflower Ground Beef Curry as a base for developing today's recipe. I had most of the ground spices on hand, but there were two reasons why I couldn't just make that same recipe in Vietnam.
Firstly, cauliflower isn't exactly local produce in the tropics. Butternut squashes on the other hand were plentiful with great prices. One squash (~2 lbs) set me back a whole 50 cents!
And secondly, we didn't cook meat while in Vietnam. We still had it when eating out, but at home we were vegetarian. Reason being, I never made it to the market first thing in the morning, and I just wasn't comfortable buying unrefrigerated meat from an open air market during the hottest hours of the day. You get my sentiment.
So we were big on legumes to satisfy our need for protein. I thought black beans would go really nice with butternut squash. Canned black beans work here, but if you have a pressure cooker I highly recommend making black beans from scratch and freezing them in 1.5 cup portions. That amount equals about 1 can.
To balance the meal even more, I also throw in a bunch of leafy greens with the beans. In Vietnam I used morning glory (water spinach), but regular spinach, chard or even (baby) kale work just as well.
More Curry Recipes You'll Love:
- Coconut Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry
- Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry
- Chickpea and Spinach Curry (Chana Palak)
- Curry Chicken Bake
Butternut Squash Black Bean Curry
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 3 medium tomatoes diced
- 1 tablespoon mild curry powder
- 1-½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups vegetable broth or chicken
- 2 pounds butternut squash peeled and cubed
- 1 can black beans (14 oz) drained and rinsed
- 1 bunch leafy greens like baby spinach, Swiss chard etc.
- chopped cilantro
- Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened (5 minutes). Add tomatoes and simmer until softened as well (5 minutes).
- Stir in all the spices, then add the broth and butternut squash. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low and cover the skillet. Simmer until the butternut squash has softened (about 20 minutes). Should the pan dry out too much, add some more hot broth.
- Stir in the rinsed black beans and leafy greens and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, until the beans are heated through and the greens are wilting.
- Serve with steamed red rice. Top with chopped cilantro.
Products used in this recipe:
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Yes, you can substitute black beans with kidney beans, pinto beans, or any other beans of your choice.
If butternut squash is not available, you can use other types of squash such as acorn squash or pumpkin as a substitute.
You can adjust the level of spiciness by adding more chili powder, cayenne pepper, or fresh chopped chili peppers according to your taste preferences.
Yes, adding coconut milk is a great way to make the curry creamier. You can add it during the cooking process to enhance the texture and flavor.