Coconut Vegetable Curry

$5.80 recipe / $1.45 serving

I gotta give a big shout out to Neil, whose tweet inspired me to try again with a recipe that I completely failed with the first time around. Neil tweeted about an amazing vegetable and chickpea curry he had made with coconut milk and it just so happened to be exactly what I was craving, so I knew I was going to have to try it again. I approached the recipe with a bit more thought and planning this time and I’m happy to report that we now have a WINNER! Woo!

And by winner I mean I couldn’t stop sneaking spoonfuls of the sauce between photographs. It’s one of those dishes that just makes you say, “MORE!” Curries aren’t the prettiest of dishes, but their powerful flavor more than makes up for their lack in appearance. Using a pre-blended curry powder makes this dish a breeze. There’s no measuring out ten different spices, just one perfectly blended mix. I used a hot curry powder, but there are plenty of mild versions on the market. The beauty of a mild curry powder is that you can simply add some cayenne pepper to make it hot, or any heat level between.

I used another one of my favorite short cut items for this dish: frozen vegetables. I used a one pound bag of frozen cauliflower and broccoli. Not only was it a fraction of the price than if I had purchased them fresh, but I had exactly the amount I needed, the chopping was already done for me, and they are pre-blanched, so the cooking time was much shorter. Gotta love it.

The summary: This is a very easy, super flavorful, filling, and inexpensive dish that will help you use up leftover vegetables from your refrigerator or freezer. I made my vegetable choices based on what I had on hand, but you can feel free to experiment. For a little extra protein, try adding chickpeas, like Neil did!

Coconut Vegetable Curry

Coconut Vegetable Curry

4.4 from 30 reviews
Coconut Vegetable Curry
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serve this curry with warm jasmine rice or naan bread to soak up the delicious sauce.
Total Cost: $5.80
Cost Per Serving: $1.45
Serves: 4-6 (5 cups total)
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 inch fresh ginger $0.16
  • 2 Tbsp curry powder* $0.30
  • ½ lb. carrots (3-4 medium) $0.55
  • 1 small onion $0.52
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste $0.11
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes $0.75
  • 1 lb. frozen broccoli and cauliflower pieces $1.65
  • 1 (14 oz.) light coconut milk** $0.99
  • ½ tsp salt $0.02
  • ½ tsp sugar $0.02
  • Handful fresh cilantro, chopped $0.25
Instructions
  1. Peel the ginger using either a vegetable peeler or by scraping with the side of a spoon. Grate about one inch of the ginger on a small holed cheese grater. Mince the garlic. Sauté the garlic and ginger with olive oil in an extra large skillet or large pot over medium heat until softened (1-2 minutes). Add the curry powder and continue to sauté for one minute more.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and cut the carrots into rounds. Dice the onion. Add the carrots and onion to the skillet and continue to sauté until the onions are soft and transparent.
  3. Add the tomato paste and diced tomatoes (with juices) to the pot. Stir until the tomato paste has mixed in with the juices and created a thick sauce. Add the frozen broccoli and cauliflower pieces and stir to combine. Let the pot simmer over medium heat until the broccoli and cauliflower have heated through (5-10 minutes).
  4. Turn the heat down to low and add the coconut milk. Stir until the coconut milk is thoroughly mixed with the tomato sauce. Allow the curry to heat through over low heat (5 minutes). Stir the salt and sugar into the sauce. Taste and add more salt if desired. Top with a handful of fresh, chopped cilantro.
Notes
*Every curry powder blend is different, so start with a smaller amount and add more as needed. I used 2 Tbsp total.

*Full fat coconut milk can be used in place of light coconut milk, but you may need to add some water to thin the sauce. Full fat coconut milk has much less liquid than light coconut milk.

 

Coconut Vegetable Curry

 

Step by Step Photos

Garlic and Ginger

Begin by mincing 2 cloves of garlic and grating about one inch of ginger on a small holed cheese grater (remove the skin first, either with a vegetable peeler or by scraping with the side of a spoon). Sauté the garlic and ginger with 2 Tbsp olive oil in an extra large skillet or a large pot over medium heat. Sauté just until soft (about 2 minutes).

Curry Powder

Add 2 Tbsp of curry powder and continue to sauté over medium heat for about one minute. This will toast the spices and magnify their flavors. 2 Tbsp seems like a lot, but there will be a lot of vegetables to cover and the coconut milk really mellows things out quite a bit. That being said, every curry powder is different, so you may want to start with a smaller amount and work your way up. After you add the frozen vegetables is a good place to taste and determine if more is needed.

Onions and Carrots

Meanwhile (or before, if you need more time), dice one small onion and peel and chop 1/2 lb. of carrots (about 3-4 carrots).

Saute Onion and Carrots

Add the onions and carrots to the skillet (or pot) and continue to sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and transparent. 

Tomatoes

Next add 2 Tbsp tomato paste and one 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes (with the juices). Stir until the tomato paste has mixed in with the juices.

Frozen Vegetables

Check the freezer aisle for a one pound bag of frozen broccoli and cauliflower. This one was disguised as “Winter Blend” and has a picture of a red bell pepper on it, but when I flipped the bag over and looked at the ingredients, sure enough, it was JUST broccoli and cauliflower. :D

Heat Through

Stir one pound of frozen broccoli and cauliflower pieces into the tomato mixture and let it heat through.

Coconut Milk

I used this can of coconut milk that I had scored at Trader Joe’s the last time I was in Baton Rouge (99 cents! Woot!). You can certainly use full fat coconut milk, but you may need to add some water to make it more saucy. Full fat coconut milk has much less liquid than light coconut milk. Oh, and no, “coconut beverage” (the kind meant as a dairy milk substitute) will not work here. It’s too diluted.

Finished Vegetable Coconut Curry

Turn the heat down to low and then stir in the 14-ounce can of light coconut milk. Allow the sauce to heat through, then stir in 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of sugar. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if desired. Top with a handful of fresh, chopped cilantro. 

Coconut Vegetable Curry

You’ll definitely want to serve the curry with either rice or naan to soak up all of the delicious sauce!

 

67 Comments

  1. Not the worst curry I’ve had but far from the best… Not a big fan of the tomatoes. If you were to make this recipe I’d personally try it without the tomatoes first to see if you like it or else you’ll be stuck with a ton of salty tomato curry that you only eat because you’re too stubborn/cheap to throw it out. Going try it without the tomatoes next pay day and see how that goes.

  2. Oooh I bet the coconut milk makes it awesome. I have included your recipe in my March Real Food Meal Plan. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Allie says:

    This was the first recipe I made from this site, and it turned out really well! It was just as good as all the homemade curries I’ve spent hours making and was much simpler and cheaper. We added a bit more paste to thicken the sauce and added a squeeze of lime juice. I will definitely be trying more recipes from this site! I

  4. Claire says:

    Mine turned out pretty good! I did have to add more oil than listed in the recipe. But that’s just how I like my curries :)

  5. Maryam says:

    I thought this was fantastic! I actually ended up not using curry powder (I thought I had it but turns out I didn’t), and ended up using ground coriander, turmeric, cumin, and ground mustard.

    I also just did the frozen carrot, cauliflower, broccoli blend and that turned out just fine.

    Still turned out great to me! I may consider throwing shrimp or chicken next time for protein.

  6. Christian Hofmann says:

    I made this last night and it was delicious and easy to make! I didn’t have any broccoli so I added butternut squash and mushrooms. I will be having the leftovers for dinner tonight. Thank you for the recipe!

  7. Alexis says:

    Delicious !!!!! Creamy filling and yummy

  8. Unfortunately this turned out bland for me, which is most likely due to the curry powder I used. Next time, I’ll try a different one and see how the results are.

  9. Lindsay says:

    I only have half a can of coconut milk left in my freezer. Can I just use that instead of buying another can?

  10. Danni says:

    Love the recipe, I added more salt to my recipe. I also thickened my sauce, this was my first try at a curry recipe and it came out awesome. At least I think it is awesome, lol. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  11. Beth says:

    Great recipe! I fried my onions garlic and ginger in coconut oil, used two TBs fresh curry powder and fresh tomato puree instead of canned paste. As for veggies…yellow summer squash,carrots and a can of chickpeas. It was awesome. I left out the sugar at the end. I added one crushed dried Japanese chili for heat and served with Jasmine rice. Will certainly make again. Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks.

  12. Amanda says:

    Oh my goodness. This is the first time I’ve ever made a recipe from your site and all I can say is that if all your recipes are this delicious I’m going to have a very happy tummy for a long time.

    This was amazing! I used chickpeas, carrot, and sweet potato for the veg, and threw in a lonely chicken breast that was languishing in the freezer. It required all of my self control not to go back for seconds (on the upside, I know what my lunch is tomorrow). Thanks for the great recipe!

  13. Kat C. says:

    I made this tonight- wow, it was good! I used chickpeas and summer squash for the veggies, which is what I had around. It turned out great! Also added a teaspoon of garam masala, for more depth of flavor and added spice. My husband and I inhaled it! Also, I wanted to say thank you for having so many simple yet vegan-friendly recipes. I am a big fan. :)

  14. sarah says:

    Found this on a random search… its our first curry dish & we are blown away!

  15. I made this tonight and love the veggies with the mild curry. We had fresh cauliflower so we just used that, and I added a bit of cumin and cayenne pepper as our curry powder isn’t particularly spicy. Served with basmati rice and it’s delicious!

  16. Emily H. says:

    Just had this (with a few changes, since I had no ginger, not light coconut milk, and used a different veggie blend) and I thought it was great!! Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Rachel says:

    We love this recipe (and many others on your site)! We added green beans and my husband said that cashews would also be a great addition next time.

  18. Ginger says:

    Would this freeze well?

  19. Question about ginger

    How do you store yours? I always cut off what I need, but just leave the raw part (the area I just cut from) open to the elements – I store it on my counter bowl w/onions & garlic). Should I be Saran wrapping the cut end? I just slice off the now dried end (from the last time I cut a hunk off) & it’s still fresh.

    How do you store yours?

    Love your site – I made the oven fajitas last night again (they are delicious with cubed fish added 1/2 way through the cooking time).

    • Hi Jo, I usually wrap mine in plastic and keep it in the fridge, but you can also keep it in the freezer. Check out my post on how to cook with ginger for all the details. :)

    • Teri says:

      I use ginger in my smoothies everyday and often in sauces, soups, etc. After I buy it, I peel it cut in into single serving pieces, put it in a storage container and freeze it. Works great!

  20. jolley900 says:

    Very easy and quick which was great since I was short on time and didn’t really feel like cooking anyway LOL. Over all, it was OK. Not great but not bad. Better next day I think. served with rice and naan. I like cooking Indian food and this was more of a can and bag week day recipe for me versus anything authentic. Husband liked it but he agreed it was better the next day. good to throw together in a pinch but not something I would make for company or add to my “must make” rotation.

    All that being said, I love this site and can’t wait to try another recipe!

  21. Jessica says:

    I made this five days ago and I’ve had it every day for lunch ever since — and far from getting tired of it, I’ve been looking forward to lunch every day and finding excuses to eat early :) I finished it today, and I will be making it again! Combined with rice, it made a total of six meals, was Incredibly easy, and allowed me to use up tons of leftovers, including some red cabbage I didn’t know what else to do with. The only curry powder I had on hand was a store brand variety at least two years old. As warned, it was a little bland, so I added more, and threw in some red pepper flakes, and that’s all it took! Thank you for this coconut curry recipe!

  22. Jennifer says:

    This is one of the only recipes of yours I haven’t liked (and I’ve been cooking primarily from your site for about 6 months). I don’t know if it was the curry powder I used, or the IMO unnecessary tomato paste that I used anyway, but mine came out really bland. I’m really big on eating leftovers for lunch at work, and not wasting food, but after a couple of days I had to throw it out because I couldn’t stand to eat any more.
    I’ll keep trying other recipes though :)

    • Yep, I have a feeling that the curry powder will make a big difference. :/ I guess some brands are just not as good as others.

  23. Megan says:

    Should I make any changes if I want to add potato? How much should I add?

    • I would use one regular baking potato or two small red potatoes, cut them into small one-inch pieces and saute them in the beginning with the carrots and onions until soft. Then proceed as written.

  24. Awesome recipe! I love trying anything new with coconut, thanks!

  25. marilyn says:

    I made this the other night, along with naan and your Indian-spiced creamed spinach. What a feast! I had some fresh broccoli and cauliflower on hand, so I used that instead of frozen, just steaming it a bit before adding to the pot. I also added in a can of rinsed/drained chickpeas for protein, and a pinch of cayenne to suit our tastes. Simple, easy to make, and absolutely delicious!

  26. Heather K says:

    I’m making this tomorrow night – it will be my family’s first time having Indian curry! (We’ve had Thai curry before.) I am sure I will love it, and crossing my fingers that my 3 year old will try it, lol.

    • Heather K says:

      We all loved it, even my three year old! He kept stealing more from my plate :)

  27. This is lovely! I added red lentils for extra protein and a few left over boiled potato pieces. Definitely a keeper, served with your naan bread, which is always a winner :-)

  28. I used your recipe plus some chicken and peanut butter to make dinner the other night for 5 people. Ever plate when empty looked like it had just come out of the dishwasher. There was nothing left.

    I’ve never really cooked with curry before. Now I’m trying to figure out what else I can make. :)

    Thanks!

  29. Shannon says:

    I made so many changes based on what I had that I can hardly really say I made your recipe but I’m really glad for the inspiration. This was the best curry I have ever made (or had) and was really well balanced. I used coconut cream with some water added to it, because I didn’t have light coconut milk. I used ketchup instead of tomato paste when I realized that it really needed more tomato flavor but I didn’t have tomato paste. I expected this to be gross, but actually the vinegar in the ketchup and the sugar added a nice sweetness and acidity. Lastly, I had no curry powder so I threw in like almost twenty spices and kept adjusting until I got what I wanted. My recipe was a bit different but I would have never thought to make something like this. Keep the great recipes coming.

  30. Beth says:

    This was super tasty!! I love curries but always thought it would be too complicated/time-consuming/use way too many ingredients I don’t already have… And this was none of those things!
    I also added chicken, and I recommend the pre-chopped ginger that comes in a tube. Probably not budget-y, but it’s so convenient.

  31. Jennifer says:

    I think I need a better curry powder. My curry turned out kind of bland. Do you have any suggestions for specific brands?

    • Hmm, I don’t. I’ve only tried one brand that I just picked up at the grocery store with real no thought ahead of time. :)

  32. Samantha says:

    Yummy curry in my tummy! This was dinner today, over a bed of jasmine rice. I used fresh broccoli and cauliflower because my grocery store had it pre-washed and chopped for super cheap! I added a 15oz can of chickpeas around the same time as the tomato stuff. I also used full-fat coconut milk and still found it to be plenty saucy. A warning, though: she wasn’t kidding when she said an EXTRA LARGE skillet. Stirring all that together was very hazardous!!!

  33. I made this and it seems to be missing something. It was a little bitter. My curry powder is only a couple months old… Can you suggest anything remedy for this? Thanks, K.

    • Hmm, maybe it needs a touch of sugar or honey to balance that bitterness.

    • Shannon says:

      You may have also burned some of your spices on accident. I overcooked my garlic and ginger just a bit and this happened to me.

    • l.lee says:

      To sweeten up the curry flavor I add a small amount of lemongrass (to taste) before simmering. Smells amazing and adds a light sweetness without added sugars. You can purchase it in tubes now in some fresh produce or asian markets.

  34. Kristen says:

    I may use white beans, because I believe I have those on hand. When would you suggest adding the chickpeas or white beans?

  35. naureen says:

    Do you think white beans work instead of chickpeas??

  36. Thom says:

    This is just an amazingly tasty recipe. I can’t wait to try it with a spicier curry powder!

  37. I used the advice up above and stir fried chicken strips in the pan first and then started the meal from there, adding the chicken back in at the very end. Everything else was kept the same.

    I made this last night and the whole house smelled amazing! As the saying goes “broccoli on the side gets denied” We have been trying to make meals with the veggies built right in and this was right up our alley.

    The wife and I liked it and it was easy, the kids ate a decent amount. I would consider this an easy weekday meal, probably not good enough for company but worth the minimal effort for a healthy weekday meal with the fam.

  38. Janelle says:

    I was rushing through a busy Trader Joe’s picking up ingredients for this recipe. While they were out of light coconut milk, I accidentally picked up coconut cream. Needless to say I only realized after I added it, but the dish turned out great! My version is probably super creamy, but it sure it yummy! I added a bit of red pepper flakes for more kick, I’ll definitely prepare this recipe again…maybe next time with coconut milk ;)

    • Shannon says:

      Wow I did the same thing. I wouldn’t make it any other way after trying it with the coconut cream.

  39. Sonia says:

    Making this now and my kids can’t believe how great the house smells. The curry powder I got must be a spicy one because it has a kick to it. Either way easy recipe and great meal!

  40. Dane says:

    Im going to use this recipe to impress people it was that good.

  41. delicious and so easy! thank you!

  42. steve says:

    to shorten prep time, you can also buy ginger/garlic paste from any Indian store. i find that useful, and handy when i don’t have fresh. tastes fine.

    thanks for the recipe.

  43. Cindy says:

    Made it for lunch today. Really delicious. I left out the broccoli and added chickpeas for more protein. Can’t wait to have leftovers tomorrow.

  44. Myles Yazell says:

    If I wanted to cook chicken into this how could I go about it?

    • Stephanie says:

      In my opinion I would use a bit of sesame oil and quickly stir fry small strips of chicken and add them at the very end. If you were to add them raw during the cooking process you’d end up with boiled curry chicken.

  45. Stephanie says:

    I usually love every single recipe you put on here. I meal plan my weeks with your website. Perhaps it is my taste in curries, but this did not strike my fancy. I also found that it needed to be cooked much longer in order for the carrots to cook properly. On to the next!

    • Stephanie says:

      Okay… I might have to take it back. It might have been my mood because I dropped off this curry at my brother’s house and his reply was, “That curry was awesome.” I STILL think the carrots need more cooking time though :) So five stars because my brother is super hard to please.

  46. susanne says:

    wow! this looks delicious, and just what i’ve been craving on these chilly days. thanks for making it easy, and not a major project.

  47. I love how simple and delicious this looks. Pinned!

  48. Barbara says:

    Oh my gosh — so easy and soooo good! I’ve tried many curry recipes that were just so-so, but this one was fabulous. I can tell this will become one of my “go to” recipes. Thank you so much for posting this.

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