Savory Pumpkin Recipe: Pumpkin Chickpea Cauliflower Curry with Cashew Cream Sauce

We just enjoyed our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday. The best part? The pumpkin pie! I am transforming the mix for my Pumpkin Custards into a thicker, larger batch for a pumpkin pie filling, along with a homemade oat-and-nut crust. The first trial was fabulous, so I will be finalizing that recipe for you soon (hopefully in time for your U.S. Thanksgiving!) But for now, something savory with pumpkin

Pumpkin Cauliflower Chickpea Curry with Fresh Cream Sauce. From 'Let Them Eat Vegan' by Dreena Burton.

See, since making that pie, I want more pumpkin! We often eat pumpkin in sweet recipes… pie (need.more.pie.), cake, custard, muffins (and snackles), smoothies, puddings, cookies, and on. Then, we often see pumpkin in soup, like a winter squash soup. But, savory uses of pumpkin are not as common as sweet. That’s okay, I love my sweet pumpkin goodies as much as the next pumpkin-obsessed mama. But, let’s carve out a new savory twist for pumpkin! (did you get that? carve? – I’ll keep my day job.)

This Pumpkin Cauliflower Curry with Fresh Cream Sauce from LTEV is the answer. It combines chickpeas, cauliflower, and zucchini in a thick, pumpkin-curried sauce base. Then, a mellow, cooling, fresh cashew cream sauce is drizzled over top. Yes! Oh my. It is a meal in a bowl, though you could certainly pair it with a salad and over whole grains like quinoa or brown rice. Or with a crusty whole-grain bread.

Since this recipe is one of my personal favorites – and since I feel like some mad pumpkin kitchen scientist right now, let’s get this recipe started, shall we?! One of my blogging friends, The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado has graciously shared her photos of my recipe with you all. Thank you, Maggie!

Pumpkin Cauliflower Curry with Fresh Cream Sauce from 'Let Them Eat Vegan' by Dreena Burton

photo credit: vegan cookbook aficionado

Pumpkin Chickpea Cauliflower Curry RECIpage link

Pumpkin is so often used in desserts yet sometimes overlooked for savory recipes. This stew highlights pumpkin, along with vegetables and beans, in a curry that is flavorful without being too hot-spicy. Topped with the ‘Fresh Cream Sauce’, this is one of my favorite autumnal dishes.

1 – 2 tbsp water

1 ½ – 2 cups onions, chopped

1 tbsp curry powder

1 1/4 tsp sea salt

1 tsp brown or yellow mustard seeds

1 tsp garam masala

2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp turmeric

Couple pinches crushed red pepper flakes (to desired heat)

2-3 cloves garlic, grated or minced

2 cups cauliflower, cut in florets (see note on timing)

2 cups zucchini, cut in small chunks (see note on timing)

3 ½ – 4 cups cooked chickpeas (or combination of chickpeas and kidney beans)

1 – 15 oz. can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) (see note)

1 cup water

1 ½ – 2 tbsp ginger, grated

1 ½ – 2 tbsp lemon juice

Lemon wedges for serving

Fresh Cream Sauce for serving, below (and see note)

In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the water, onion, curry powder, salt, mustard seeds, garam masala, coriander, cumin seeds, turmeric, and crushed red pepper. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, covered, and then lower the heat to medium and add the garlic. Stir, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, adding a splash of water if needed to prevent the garlic from sticking or burning.  Add the cauliflower and zucchini, and toss, followed by the beans, pumpkin, and water. Bring the heat up to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cauliflower and zucchini have become tender (if you want more texture in the veggies, hold off adding them until the last 10 minutes or so of simmering). Add the ginger, lemon juice, and stir.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Serve drizzled with Fresh Cream Sauce, with lemon wedges on the side for extra squeezing! Serves 4-6.

Ingredients 411:

Canned pumpkin varies in moisture and consistency. I use just 1 cup of water in this curry, using the Farmer’s Market brand of organic canned pumpkin. It makes for a fairly thick curry, with the veggies also releasing some moisture during simmering. You may want to add more water, depending on whether you substitute other vegetables, and also depending on the consistency of the canned pumpkin.

Savvy Subs and Adds:

1) Other veggies you can use in place of the zukes and cauliflower include chopped red pepper and green beans cut into bite-size pieces.

2) The cream sauce really is superb drizzled over this curry. It adds a color contrast, and a creamy texture against a spicy dish. If you don’t make the sauce, consider adding about 1⁄2 cup of raw cashews to the curry when adding the zucchini and cauliflower. They will soften with cooking and bring more interest to every bite.


photo credit: vegan cookbook aficionado

Fresh Cream Sauce RECIpage link

Sometimes you want a sauce that is creamy and smooth, but without any pronounced flavors such as garlic or spices. This sauce is it. It is creamy and cooling, and great for pairing with spicy dishes—but also many other things!

1 cup soaked cashews, drained

½ cup + 2-3 tbsp water

¼ tsp (rounded) sea salt (or measure ¼ + 1/8 tsp)

2 ½ – 3 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/8 tsp agave nectar or pure maple syrup

Using a standing blender or an immersion blender and deep cup or jar, puree all the ingredients (starting with 1⁄2 cup + 2 tablespoons of the water) until very, very smooth. (A high-powered blender works best to give a very silky consistency.) Add extra water, if needed, to thin the sauce, and season to taste with additional salt, if desired. Serve swirled over spicy stews or burritos, or drizzled on pizza; or use as a salad dressing or as a condiment for sandwiches, baked spuds, sautéed greens . . . so many options.  Makes 3/4 – 1 cup.

Pumpkin Cauliflower Chickpea Curry from Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton

photo credit: Vegan Cookbook Aficionado

Do YOU have a favorite SAVORY pumpkin recipe? What is it?


  1. Lauren says

    I have been making lots of your recipes over the years and am never disappointed with meals from your books. Just made this for dinner tonigh. So delicious!! Hubby loved it too, was heaps better than the last few Indian meals we have had in restraunts. Also made the troll cookies and of course they were amazing as well. Love your work Dreena!!

  2. Anna Vaschina says

    Dear Dreena, what other nuts would work (my youngest has allergy to cashews, pecan, macadamia & pistachio…sadly)?

  3. says

    Creamy, savoury and pumpkin-y [that should be a word!]? Totally up my alley. Funny how you mention savoury uses of pumpkin to be less common – it’s the complete other way around over here. We hardly use pumpkin in sweet recipes and I guess most people would need some time to get used to the idea of pumpkin desserts.
    Anyway, I eat a lot of savoury pumpkin dishes – yours will be added to my to-make list – and enjoy trying new recipes or coming up with my own. Some of my favourites so far include kabocha squash stew with chickpeas, pumpkin chestnut casserole with caramelized onions and spicy Thai peanut-roasted kabocha.

  4. Julie says

    This looks amazing! Thank you Dreena for the most fabulously rich but healthy meal option!

    PS I am really, really, really looking forward to the new pumpkin pie and oat-nut recipe crust that you have hinted at…!

  5. says

    How do I keep missing this recipes in LTEV? I swear I have read the book from cover to cover a hundred times! I have loved all the recipes I’ve made from it, so am sure this will be great as well. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Curry and pumpkin are two of my fave flavors, I’m certain they are fabulous together as well.
    Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} recently posted..Readers Top 10 Favorite RecipesMy Profile

    • Dreena says

      Anna, it’s because I should have had photos for EACH and EVERY recipe! I’ve learned my lesson. 😉 Next book there are photos for them all, I’m so stoked! Thanks for your note, that’s why I post some of these recipes from LTEV (and my other books). There are so many that get “lost” in a book of 200 recipes. They come to life with food photos, that’s for sure. Many thanks! :)

    • Dreena says

      Thanks Christine! I’ve just made a pumpkin lentil soup for tonight, can’t wait to have it… as much as I’m now thinking about pumpkin chili. 😉

  6. says

    First Dreena, you are adorable. I love your made up words (snackles?!)–you have a knack for naming recipes that is so…Dreena. That’s why we love you!

    Favorite savory pumpkin recipe…? I like pumpkin in any kind of soup. I haven’t eaten it savory really any other way. Do pumpkin seeds count? I love savory pumpkin seeds too.
    janae @ bring joy recently posted..pumpkin filled gingerbread bundt cake + warm vanilla syrup | vegan, gluten & refined sugar-freeMy Profile

    • Dreena says

      You should hear the stuff I come up with and don’t publish, Janae! 😉 I’m a kook at heart. Thanks so much for your sweetness. Pumpkin seeds count in my books – we love ’em too. In fact, I’m off to bake up some of my Pumpkin Seed Choc Chip Oatmeal Bars right now!

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