This One Pot Butternut Squash Chicken Curry with coconut milk, veggies, chickpeas and rice is protein-filled comfort food at its best!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Olive oil – or any other neutral cooking oil like canola or grapeseed oil.
- Chicken breasts – you can leave the chicken out or use another protein option like tofu or shrimp.
- Butternut squash – acorn squash or sweet potatoes are a great substitute for butternut squash.
- Carrots – parsnips, daikon or turnips would all be good in this curry.
- Garlic – fresh minced garlic is best but the jarred variety will work as well.
- Ginger – if you don’t have any fresh ginger, you can use ground ginger.
- Chicken stock – vegetable stock will work or you can double up on the coconut milk instead of using chicken stock.
- Full fat coconut milk – you can try using low-fat coconut milk but it won’t have the same flavour as the full fat version.
- Curry powder – use a blend of cumin, coriander, turmeric and ginger to make your own curry powder.
- Turmeric – use more curry powder if you don’t have any turmeric on hand.
- Chickpeas – lentils are a great substitute and are still high in protein.
- Red pepper – or any other colour bell pepper of your choice.
- Spinach – feel free to use another dark leafy green like kale or Swiss chard.
- Cilantro – leave this out altogether if you don’t like cilantro.
- Basmati rice – use any type of rice you want like Jasmine rice or brown rice.
- Butter – try using a bit of margarine or olive oil instead.
- Salt – to taste.
How to make butternut squash curry
- Sauté the chicken until browned.
- Add in the veggies and cook until tender.
- Make the rice.
- Mix in the curry sauce ingredients and simmer.
- Stir in the chickpeas and pepper.
- Add in the spinach.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve.
How to make it in the Instant Pot and slow cooker
This recipe is so easy to make in the Instant Pot! Just dump everything in the order that it's listed (with the exception of spinach, cilantro and rice) and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Do a quick release of the pressure, then stir in spinach. Serve with rice, garnish with cilantro and you're good to go!
You can also make it in the crock pot. Dump all the ingredients in the slow cooker except for the spinach, cilantro and rice, and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Stir in the spinach right before serving then serve with rice and top with cilantro.
Frequently Asked Questions
I like serving this curry with rice but you can also serve it with rice noodles, salad, roasted broccoli, crusty bread, naan or roti.
This recipe is super healthy with lots of fresh veggies and lean protein. It’s low in calories with just 396 calories per serving and is super filling thanks to the chicken and chickpeas. Plus, the turmeric has plenty of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits!
You’ll definitely get some spice in this dish from the curry powder, but it’s not overwhelmingly spicy. The level of spice also depends on the curry powder you use. If you want less spice, look for one that has more ginger and black pepper; if you want more spice, look for chile peppers in the list of ingredients.
I love the combination of the curry powder and turmeric with the slightly sweet and nutty taste of the butternut squash. If you don’t have any curry powder, you can use cumin, coriander, turmeric and ginger.
Storing and reheating
You can store this curry in the fridge for up to 5 days. I recommend storing the rice and curry separately in individual glass meal prep containers so the rice doesn’t get mushy. Reheat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, then garnish with fresh cilantro and dig in!
Freezing butternut squash curry
YoYou can freeze this curry up to 3 months. To reheat, sprinkle some water overtop and microwave for 6-7 minutes right from frozen, stirring halfway through. The texture may be slightly different, but overall, this is a good freezer meal to have on hand!
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More butternut squash recipes
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Risotto
- Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells
- Butternut Squash Ravioli Bake
- Peanut Chicken Curry
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning this recipe into your weekly lunches.
- I get all my free-range chicken breasts from Butcher Box.
- Stock up on coconut milk here.
One Pot Butternut Squash Chicken Curry
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 chicken breasts, diced
- 1 small butternut squash, chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp ginger, minced
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 (400mL) can full fat coconut milk
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 can chickpeas, drained
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 2 cups spinach, chopped
- 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 cups basmati rice
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 pinch salt
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over med-high heat in a large, deep pot. Add chicken and saute until browned, about 5-6 min. Remove chicken. Add remaining tbsp of olive oil, butternut squash, carrots, garlic and ginger, cooking for 4-5 min until veggies start to get tender.
- Meanwhile, make rice according to package directions on the stove or in a rice cooker.
- Add stock, coconut milk, curry powder, turmeric and salt, bringing to a boil and then let simmer for 15 minutes. Add chicken back in, along with chickpeas and red pepper, and cook another 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in spinach and serve in large bowls alongside basmati rice. Garnish with cilantro and serve!
- ALTERNATIVE SLOW COOKER METHOD: Dump all ingredients in the slow cooker except spinach, cilantro and rice, and cook on low for 8 hours. Stir in spinach right before serving, and serve with rice, topping with cilantro.