This dish is a lighter take on the classic Thai panang curry, using powdered peanut butter and reduced fat coconut milk! This chickpea and butternut squash panang curry will please even the pickiest of eaters, with the butternut squash naturally sweetening the dish and making it incredibly creamy without full-fat coconut milk. It is also a simple weeknight dish, coming together in just under 30 minutes! It makes a deliciously healthy dish for dinner parties; no one would guess it was so simple to make and low in fat.
Ever since I was a child, I loved the sweet and spicy flavors of Thai cuisine. It was my family’s absolute favorite cuisine to try when we went out to eat, or to order in on busy nights. We loved to order family style, so that everyone could try an array of different curries, but panang was always my favorite. I loved how the rich flavors of peanut and lime were incorporated into a sweet, mild curry.
Panang curry is traditionally rich and relatively high in fat if full-fat coconut milk is used, but this recipe cuts down on that. With the way that the reduced fat coconut milk and butternut squash work together, the curry is super creamy and rich. If you have not yet tried powdered peanut butter (such as PB2, available online or for a great deal at Costco!), it has become my latest obsession. It has the concentrated flavor of peanut butter with 85% less fat and calories than regular peanut butter! It adds the perfect amount of peanut butter flavor to this panang curry, but it can also be used in place of regular peanut butter in just about anything.
The butternut squash naturally sweetens the dish, and the chickpeas add a satisfying crunch, along with extra protein! I served this dish alongside cauliflower rice and topped it with freshly chopped cilantro.
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do! Comment below if you try it or share it with me on Instagram @zenandzaatar, I would love to see your recreations!
- 2½ tbsp red curry paste
- 2 tbsp PB2 (or regular peanut butter if unavailable)
- 1 14 oz. can reduced fat coconut milk*
- ½ cup water
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp ginger, minced
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar (optional)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (optional)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large pot, sauté minced garlic and ginger in 2 tbsp coconut oil for about 2 minutes.** Add turmeric and red curry paste, and sauté spices for about 2 more minutes.
- Add the peeled and diced squash, and toss to coat in spices. Brown for 5 minutes.***
- Once squash is browned, add coconut milk, water, and chickpeas. Bring to a simmer and turn down the heat to medium low. Cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes, until squash can be pierced with a fork. Add more water as needed if you would like a thinner consistency.
- Taste and add the 1 tbsp coconut sugar if it is not already sweet enough from the squash. Add powdered peanut butter, stir, and cook for 2-5 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from heat, stir in cilantro and lime juice. Serve immediately alongside rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice!
**For oil-free method, just sauté the garlic and ginger in 2 tbsp of water, until softened and fragrant.
***For oil-free method, just toss the squash in spices and immediately proceed to the next step (adding liquid). No need to wait for the squash to brown.