Thursday, April 14, 2022

Pumpkin Lentil Curry

Central Indiana food pantries have seen a dramatic increase in demand over the last few months due to skyrocketing grocery prices, general inflation, and the recent spike in gas prices. Nearly 1 million Hoosiers are food insecure, meaning they don’t have consistent access to nutritious and affordable food, and one in six Indiana residents goes to bed hungry every night.

Each year, FOX59 and CBS4 team up with Midwest Food Bank and Gleaners Food Bank for an initiative called "Pack the Pantries." They are requesting financial donations, rather than food donations, because Gleaners and Midwest can buy in bulk at wholesale prices, which allows them to stretch the dollar much further.

A donation of just $1 provides about 5 meals. A $10 gift provides 50 meals and $25 covers 125 meals. Find out more information about how to donate here.

This pumpkin lentil curry recipe is one of two recipes I developed for the Pack the Pantries initiative. I spoke with representatives from Gleaners about which items they have trouble moving off their shelves. Gleaners told me they have an abundance of canned pumpkin, lentils, and frozen carrots because shoppers don’t always know how to prepare these ingredients.

Many people associate canned pumpkin with Thanksgiving, but it's important to note that it's a squash with many health benefits. It's high in fiber, potassium, and beta carotene. It's a great thickener in many recipes, and it also adds a little sweetness. You can generally replace sweet potatoes or butternut squash in recipes with canned pumpkin.

This recipe also uses lentils, which are a great source of fiber, folic acid, and potassium. Lentils are high in protein and low in fat, which makes them a healthy and affordable meat substitute. Often with recipes that use dried lentils, you have to soak the lentils first. But that isn’t the case with the Pumpkin Lentil Curry recipe because the lentils will cook as the curry simmers. You can serve this curry with rice, additional vegetables, naan, or just by itself.

I also want to point out that you can make this curry on a hot plate if you don't have access to a stove in a kitchen.

Pumpkin Lentil Curry

Yield: 8 cups

Time: 45 minutes


  • 2 Tablespoons oil (I prefer coconut oil)
  • 1 large yellow onion (6 ounces), small dice
  • 1 cup carrots, small dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 14 ounces pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 4 cup vegetable stock
  • 14 ounces canned coconut milk (optional)


  1. Heat oil in large pot. Sweat onion and carrots over medium low heat until soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and ginger and saute 2 minutes or until garlic and ginger are fragrant.
  3. Add curry powder and salt and saute another minute.
  4. Add pumpkin puree and lentils and stir to ensure they’re coated in seasonings.
  5. Pour in vegetable stock, bring curry to boil, reduce to simmer, cover curry and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove lid and stir in coconut milk.
  7. Adjust seasonings and serve.


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