bowl of kabocha lentil curry

Creamy Kabocha Lentil Curry

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This kabocha lentil curry is creamy, hearty, and so satisfying. Cashews add extra richness while the blend of spices makes it super flavorful!

bowl of creamy kabocha curry

Curries are one of my favorite foods and I make a variation of curry at least once a week, even more so in fall and winter as the weather gets cooler. Japanese curry is my ultimate favorite, but this kabocha lentil curry has been my go-to recently. The kabocha and cashews make it extra creamy while the veggies add textural variety. This curry is packed with healthy fats, fiber, and plant protein, making it a satisfying, well-balanced, and delicious plant-based meal!

overhead view of creamy lentil curry in a bowl with spoon

Kabocha Lentil Curry FAQ

How can I make it nut-free?
You can try using raw sunflower seeds in place of cashews, or use 1 cup coconut milk in place of the cashews and water.

Can I use other squashes?
I’ve only made this curry with kabocha, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work with other squashes. I’m sure it would be delicious with butternut squash, acorn squash, honeynut squash, or even sweet potato!

Tips for Success

Make a big batch for leftovers throughout the week! ⟶ Curry is one of those dishes that taste even better the longer it sits, as it allows more time for all the flavors from the spices to meld together. I love making a big batch of curry and eating leftovers all week!

Use your favorite veggies ⟶ At the very least, I recommend keeping in the onions, garlic, and ginger, but feel free to swap the other veggies out for ingredients like potatoes, roasted eggplant, baked tofu, spinach, bell peppers, etc.

Serve with rice or bread ⟶ Make this a complete, satisfying meal by serving the curry over rice (I prefer short grain Japanese rice but basmati would be good as well) or with naan, pita, sourdough, or another bread of choice.

big bowl of kabocha curry with small bowl in background

More Hearty Plant-Based Comfort Foods!

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White Bean Mac & Cheese
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Japanese Cabbage Rolls
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Japanese Curry with Red Lentils
Red Lentil Green Curry
hand holding a bowl of kabocha curry, other hand getting a spoonful of curry

If you try out this kabocha lentil curry, don’t forget to leave a comment/rating down below and tag me in your photos on instagram I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!

bowl of creamy kabocha curry

Creamy Kabocha Lentil Curry

This kabocha lentil curry is creamy, hearty, and so satisfying. Cashews add extra richness while the blend of spices makes it super flavorful!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Indian
Servings 4



  • 1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ¾ tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper

Kabocha Cream Sauce

  • ¼ kabocha
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • ¾ cup water


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • ½ tsp salt, or more to taste
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth**
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced


  • lemon/lime, juiced
  • cilantro, chopped


  • Make the kabocha cream sauce: Peel kabocha and chop into small pieces. Steam until fork tender (about 10 minutes on the stove, 5 minutes in the microwave). You can also steam the cashews with the kabocha to soften them. Add kabocha, cashews, and water to a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  • Mix spices: Add all the spices to a small bowl and mix. Set aside.
  • Saute onion, celery, and carrots: Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, celery, carrots, and a pinch of salt and cook until onions turn translucent (3-5 minutes).
  • Add garlic and ginger: Add garlic and ginger and stir until fragrant, 30-60 seconds.
  • Add spices: Add the spices and stir for 30 seconds.
  • Add tomatoes: Stir in tomatoes. Add a splash of water if needed to deglaze the bottom of the pot.
  • Add lentils and broth: Add lentils and salt and stir until well distributed and coated with spices, then stir in the broth.
  • Simmer: Cover and bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add remaining ingredients: Stir in zucchini, mushrooms, and the kabocha cream sauce. Simmer until zucchini is just tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Season: Turn off heat and stir in lemon/lime juice to taste (start with 1 tbsp). Add more salt if desired. Garnish with cilantro just before serving.


Spices: Feel free to play around with your favorite spices/whatever you have on hand. Sometimes I like to add curry powder/garam masala in place of some of the turmeric/coriander (respectively). 
Vegetable Broth: I use Better Than Bouillon.

*Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, but the price remains the same to you. Thank you for supporting Ellie Likes Cooking!

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