No Effort Vegan Coconut Curry
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You’d think I’d be bored of talking about curry by now. But I’m really, absolutely, definitely not.
In my humble opinion, curry is one of the greatest dishes this world has ever seen – with varieties so wildly different you could eat a new one every day and never sample them all.
This vegan coconut curry is one to add to the ‘must eat’ list.
A LOT of recipes get tried and tested for this website, and many get discarded or fall by the wayside in favour of something bigger, or bolder, or generally more exciting.
Taste alone isn’t always enough to guarantee a spot on the site (although it really helps) – a recipe needs to stand out in other ways.
What makes this vegan coconut curry so special?
The joy of this recipe is its simplicity. So rarely have we had do to do so little cooking to get such a great result.
After a little prepping at the beginning, the ingredients hit the frying pan – and that’s it! They’ll fry along happily while the sauce pretty much cooks itself.
It doesn’t get any easier when it comes to effort vs quality ratio.
This is one recipe I’ve taken to cooking over and over; it gives me my curry fix with such ease I just can’t get enough.
Know your paste!
Most curries are made in one of two ways – with curry spices (often in the form of powder, at least in the Western world) or with a curry paste.
Typically, Indian-style curries use spices or powder, and Thai-type recipes use paste, although not exclusively so.
Curry powders generally contain spices and ingredients like cumin, coriander, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, pepper and chili powders (check out this article for a more extensive list.)
Pastes are usually made from fresh ingredients like chillies, lemongrass, garlic and ginger, as well as the addition of some of the spices above. They’re often mixed with oil too.
Curry paste tends to be the stronger of the two, however that can vary as well. Usually yellow curry pastes are the mildest in flavour, red is next, and green is the hottest.
Vegans and vegetarians should watch out – many curry pastes contain fish derivatives and it’s always worth checking the label first.
With curry powders, the lighter, yellowy colours denote a mild dish, while dark or even brown colours mean a much more spicy kick.
Curry spices are great for giving that Indian-esque taste to every bite; curry pastes are excellent to mix with coconut milk. This vegan coconut curry uses both.
By doing this we get an Indian-feel recipe and flavour with a more creamy, rich, and slightly sweet sauce. It’s the best of both worlds.
Enjoy this stress-free curry with ease – just thank these two wonderful cuisines for their collaboration!
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup broccoli (or use green beans)
- 1 spring onions
- 1 sweet potato
- 2 carrot
- ½ zucchini
- 2 sticks lemongrass
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp yellow curry paste (or red for hotter, green for hottest!)
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 can chickpeas (15 oz = 435g, drained and rinsed)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 lemon (juiced; lime works too!)
- ½ cup cashews (roasted; or use peanuts)
- If serving with rice, get that cooking now according to package instructions.
- Grate the sweet potato and the carrots.
- Chop the spring onion, broccoli, and zucchini.
- Add the olive oil to a large pan and fry all the veg on a medium heat. This needs about 5-7 minutes.
- Next, add the curry powder and curry paste, and the beaten (smack it with a heavy spoon a few times to let out the flavour) lemongrass.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
- Stir and fry for another couple of minutes then add the coconut milk, chickpeas, lemon juice, maple syrup and salt. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Alright, that's it. Take out the lemongrass. Serve with rice and top with roasted cashews or peanuts. Easy. Awesome.
Thank for the recipe! Just made it ! It was my first time making curry and I think it turned out well!
Just a few questions:
1. When do you add the maple syrup and salt ?
2. Do you add the lemon grass as sticks or is it better to grate or chop them ?
3. Do you remove the lemon grass after cooking ? (If you left them as sticks?)
So cool to hear the curry turned out well, congratz 😀
Great questions right there, I’ve updated the post, but will also give you the answers here quickly:
1. I add maple syrup and salt along with the coconut milk and chickpeas (It’s clearer now in the recipe, thanks!)
2. Nah, just give the a few good smacks and chuck them into the curry as sticks. Before serving remove them if you prefer. They’re definitely not nice to eat. As far as I know it’s possible to eat lemongrass, but it needs to simmer for a long time so they won’t have a stringy mouth feel.
Thanks a lot for trying out our dish, Nicole! 😀
Tried it tonight. Delicious.
For my taste, I would just use half a lemon juice instead of 1 entire lemmon. I might also have grated the sweet potatoe and the carrots too small. Will try bigger chunks next time.
Just made this for hubby and I who is normally not a fan of curries. He loved this one and told me to make it again 🙂 I didn’t have any broccoli or zucchini lying around so used spinach instead. Tasted Awesome. Great meal for a cooler day.
Very cool to hear, Samantha! I’m glad the curry converted him. I could eat it every day :D. Yes, awesome idea with the spinach, it absolutely fits well well in curry (as you found out!).
I made this over the weekend. SUPER easy recipe for great tasting food. But, I made the mistake of using reduced fat coconut milk. The absense of fat didn’t balance the spice, acid, and sugar as I’d imagine a full fat coconut milk would do. Gonna try it again! Cheers Logan!
I really do love the ease of this one! Yes, the low fat milks are a problem. I used to use them all the time and wondered what my cooking method problem was. The full fat milks really do make a difference!
Fantastic recipe. Very tasty and easy although grating veggies can take a bit of time. I part boiled the broccoli and added in at the last minute to avoid it going mushy. The family loved this dish. Will make again for sure.
Hi Emma, really cool you liked this recipe 🙂
Yep, grating can take a little time, I agree. Alternatively little cubes would work. Great idea regarding the broccoli!!
Hi, quick question. Can the sweet potato be substituted with more carrot or with something else? I’m currently in Ecuador and don’t have access to sweet potatoes.
Absolutely, Rachel. I’m constantly switching out veggies in curries for what I do and don’t have. Carrot would be great, I’m sure. Or carrots and regular potatoes, if you have them 🙂
While I’m not sold on this as much as I am the chickpea curry; my partner loved it and it reheats so damn well! If you’re doing lunch planning definitely add this to the rotation. Also add extra cashew – they’re great in this.
Thanks Kat! Haha it does indeed seem that the chickpea curry is the queen of curries :D. Love the cashew idea!!
This recipe was ok. We’re huge fans of avial, so were really looking forward to it. The recipe came out more like thoran. I used dried coconut with a Vitamix. Even after adding extra water and letting it sit, I couldn’t get it to blend up smooth. I added it anyway and flavorwise it is good, just not the creamy avial we are used to.
Last week we made your Turkish lentil soup though and it was amazing.
Thank you for your feedback! You just taught me two new words. I will look into it asap. Glad you liked the Turkish Lentil Salad last week. It’s one of my favourites. So easy to make, and so tasty 😀
Hi, I made this for my work lunches and it was delicious, I am looking to make the vegan chickpea curry for next weeks lunches , however, i did notice that the saturated fat content for this recipe is a whopping 21.8g (109% RDA) where as the vegan chickpea curry one is only 4g (20% RDA) I originally though that the coconut milk was to blame, but both recipes use the exact same amount so i was wondering what makes this recipe have so much more saturated fat? your response would be greatly appreciated and thanks again for the great recipes 🙂
Hi Jermain, and thanks for writing. I’ve had a look ‘behind the scenes’ and you are indeed correct, it was the coconut milk making the difference. Our nutritional data analyser had pulled up a coconut cream instead of coconut milk in this curry recipe. If you’re watching the saturated fat, I would recommend staying away from the creams, and even going towards a ‘light’ coconut milk (though the dish tends to be slightly ‘thinner’. I hope this helps, and thanks for pointing it out 🙂
I love curry dishes. I don’t know if it is the brand (I have tried various brands) but coconut milk has a soapy taste to me. Any idea why? Can you suggest an alternative type of milk?
Hi Debi! Hmm, well if you’ve tried various brands then I’d guess it’s more the product itself than the brand. Do you find the same with other coconut ingredients – flakes or shavings for example?
I have to say, this was simply fantastic! A bit on the expensive side but still reasonable and well worth it. I particularly enjoyed the nice change from the usual tomato-based curries I tend to make. Will definitely cook again, thank you for sharing the recipe 🙂
Glad you enjoyed it, Tony! Yes it’s a real nice change. Oh, I hope it wasn’t too expensive – hopefully you have a few things that can be used for further meals (the pastes and powders and so on) to keep costs down a little 🙂
I love this curry so much! Can it be frozen?
Hi, and yes, definitely! Really glad you like it 🙂
So yum! Made this for dinner tonight and everyone loved it. Didn’t have lemongrass or curry paste (just powder) – I added fresh garlic and ginger and it was delicious. Those that wanted more heat added some hot sauce. Thanks for a great recipe!
Such a good curry! I had to make a few adjustments to it as I like my curries a bit more spicier. Added garlic, ginger, chilli, cumin and a bit of nutmeg. Looking forward to making it more often 🙂
Glad you enjoyed, Anthea! Haha yes, spice is definitely a personal thing. I always put mine up a notch, too 😀
Can this be made ahead of time and re-heated?
Yes, for sure! Just make sure it’s steaming when reheated (especially the rice). You could also freeze it and reheat if you wanted to make it more than a day or so ahead of time 🙂
Nice one, I haven’t tried grating veggies into curries before and it worked really well to bulk it up, so will be trying out variations on this in future. I love sour flavours so added tamarind paste in addition to lemon, fish sauce (sorry I’m neither vegan nor veggie) and left out the maple syrup as the coconut milk seemed sweet enough.
Hey Alan, glad you enjoyed! Haha no apologies needed, and it sounds like it was really successful anyway. Enjoy your future versions too!
Just made this today! So yummy and creamy with a nice heat! I used Kolhapuri Jaggery in place of maple sugar and potatoes instead of sweet potatoes. It’s what I had on hand along with fresh ginger and some citrus from squeezed lemon limes!
Awesome Lisa! Sounds like great substitutes, it’s definitely a solid recipe 🙂
I absolutely loved this recipe and how easy it was! I added a bit of red pepper to the veggie mix and it seems like most veggies would work. It did turn out a bit watery (still tasted great) and I’m not sure how to prevent that from happening again!
I’m really pleased you enjoyed it, Annie! I would say the watery element is probably beacuse of the coconut milk. I would suggest trying one of two things. 1) a different coconut milk – one that is a bit thicker and creamier. 2) simmer the curry for a few minutes longer to let the sauce reduce. This should definitely help it get a bit thicker and less watery. Guten Appetit!
What a fantastic recipe… saving this one to my regular rotation. Next time I’ll use a bigger frying pan as I didn’t realise just how much 2 grated carrots and a grated sweet potato would amount to. Never had cashews in a meal before, not really a big fan of them, but in this they were delicious… also used the zest and juice of a lime, as I couldn’t get lemongrass… definitely making this again soon.
Thank you! Really glad you enjoyed it. Haha yes, they can be deceptive indeed :D. I find the second time making a recipe is usually easier/better – your version already sounds great anyway. See you around 🙂
About how much is a serving? 1 cup? 1.5 cups? Tried this. It’s delicious and want to make it for my friends
Hi Octavia! Really glad you enjoyed it. If you look at the recipe card, there is a little button you can press to make the recipe suitable for more or less people. This recipes make enough for about 4 people as default (with one cup of rice). I hope that helps!
This recipe was flavorful. I had to use additional curry powder as I couldn’t find paste locally. I think this may have reduced the amount of sauce we had. I used green onions in lieu of spring onion as I could not locate that either. I like the ideas others have mentioned of adding garlic and reducing the lemon to spice things up. Overall, thumbs and forks up!
Thanks for the detailed review, Jennifer! I think a paste deffo makes a noticable difference in comparison to powder. Glad you liked the curry 🙂
So good, I’ve been looking for a good veggie curry that was also easy to make. It was a big hit with the family. I added a little cinnamon and it came out so good.
Niceee, really glad you and your family enjoyed this one, Jon!!
Hi, I am interested in making this soon. I feel like I would prefer to have diced sweet potato instead of them being grated. Would that work or should I bake the sweet potatoes a bit before I add them into make sure they get soft enough?
Hi Claudia, sorry for the slow reply, I was on a camping trip.
It’s deffo fine to just dice and add them to the curry. A lid helps, so everything cooks through more properly. if you haven’t yet, check out our video. Dave just dices the sweet potatoes. I hope everything turns out tasty!
I have been reluctant to try many of your recipes because of the nutritional information which lists very high fat content. For example, this recipe lists 35 grams of fat. Can some of these recipes be altered to reduce fat content?
Hi Lois, you could decrease the fat content by using reduced fat products. For the curry you could use a lite coconut milk, which would reduce the amount of fat in the dish significantly. Same with dairy containing recipes 🙂
Also, you could reduce the amount of oil in our recipes. I do it frequently and they are still tasty!
The process felt a little silly at step 4. When you’re just, like, frying a bunch of grated veggies? By the end, it all comes together though! Absolutely great flavor. I recommend the optional cashews, because I think it’d be a bit mushy without.
Really glad it turned out tasty, Andrew!! I agree with adding cashews
I didn’t grate the sweet potato I chopped into chunks, added portobello mushrooms for my hubby who loves mushroom and ended up using 2 cans of coconut milk and used green curry paste. I’ve made this before so I know my husband loves it. It’s not really keto for us but. Cheat day with good veggies is okay for me. Used jasmine rice too insted 1
Nice Juliette! That sounds amazing, thanks for sharing your tips. Glad you’re enjoying it
This was very delicious!..I added ginger and garlic..
Chopped the sweet potatoes and carrots into cubes instead of grating..
Took another writers’ advice and blanched the broccoli, and the zucchini really quickly.
Used thai green curry and omitted the curry powder and lemon grass.
This was awesome ..
How big is a serving size?..1 cup?..
Hi! Thanks for the lovely comment, really glad you enjoyed it! I bet ginger and garlic were great too. The serving size – roughly a bowl like we used in the photos (including rice) 🙂
SO delicious and SO easy!
Thank you, glad you enjoyed it!
Capital YUM!!!!! So many wonderful, healthy ingredients…mega comfort food!!
I will definitely make this recipe again!!
I do love its comfort too! So glad you enjoyed it Maureen!
This recipe is sooooo good. And so easy.
I added a few sprinkles of cayenne for a balanced kick. Sadly I was out of cashews but I’ll try those next time.
I really appreciated the video too.
Thanks Sarah, really glad you enjoyed it! And I’m glad the video helped. Haha cool, then you’ve still got the cashews to look forward to next time!