Thai Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp and Bok Choy

Thai Pumpkin Curry Recipe with Shrimp and Bok Choy | Spicy Pumpkin Red Curry Sauce | Gluten-Free! One of the fun things about teaching is that it often reintroduces me to my own long-forgotten creations. And if it hadn’t been for my class at the Institute of Culinary Education in September, the inspiration for this Thai pumpkin curry recipe would have never meandered into my stomach.

A few weeks ago I had the OMG honor of meeting Gretchen Rubin, one of my personal wellness heroes and the original gangster of happiness who inspired my project. When I got home from her talk, I paged back through her latest book about finding better ways to arm wrestle our habits into submission.

Bok Choy for my Thai Pumpkin Red Curry Recipe Stir-Fried Shrimp ready for my Thai Pumpkin Red Curry Recipe Stir-Fried Bok Choy prepped for my Thai Pumpkin Curry Recipe One of the dichotomies that caught my eye was that some of us are naturally creatures of familiarity, and others are slaves to novelty. If you’re a familiarity lover, you might be prone to re-reading the same book or, say, re-making the same recipe over and over again. Novelty lovers on the other hand are driven by an inner compulsion to never do the same thing in the same, boring way. (You can read more in this blog post).

Though my takeout orders may be the only thing that doesn’t reflect this (thanks to my old friend, Mr. chicken pad Thai), I am a tried and true novelty gal. On the surface, my career as a blogger is fueled by this impulse; I get to constantly be coming up with new, creative ideas to feed you wonderful folks on this site. But on the flip side of that food coin, is all the development that sometimes goes into certain recipes, which can mean testing the same dish over and over, and then subsequently eating that same damn dish for weeks.

When these recipe relay periods are over and done with, I often go into a novelty overdrive that can last months. Or, in the case of this vegan pumpkin soup recipe, years.

Thai Pumpkin Curry Recipe with Shrimp and Bok Choy | Spicy Pumpkin Red Curry Sauce | Gluten-Free! Two Octobers ago, I took on a recipe development project for Food & Wine’s website that involved creating ten pumpkin recipes, half of which ended up being variations on this soup. I’m pretty sure that some of the fruits of this labor are still in quart containers dying a slow death in my freezer.

Though dairy-free pumpkin soup made thick and creamy with coconut milk, spiced with diced jalapeno, and jazzed up with fresh ginger, is one of the easiest and tastiest fall meals around, after October 2013, I never wanted to see its smug orange face again.

Unfortunately, as someone with a healthy appetite for newness, I’ve had to learn the hard way that teaching a professional cooking class is not the time or place to let novelty man the gear shift. So when I was putting together my menu for a new Super Food Feasts class at ICE, I knew that my vegan pumpkin soup would be a perfect addition. Considering the pounds of it that sloshed around my kitchen in October 2013, it better be pretty close to foolproof. Thai Pumpkin Curry Recipe with Shrimp and Bok Choy | Spicy Pumpkin Red Curry Sauce | Gluten-Free! When I taught the class this past March, my students raved over the soup. But I couldn’t bring myself to have more than a sip of the finished product (instead, I inhaled this and this). In September though, as the weather was just starting to turn, I was tempted to see if pumpkin soup and I could get over our petty beef. And sure enough, time healed those old, tongue-scalding wounds, and I fell back in love with this old, familiar meal.

Soon thereafter, Sara of Cake Over Steak reached out about participating in her virtual pumpkin party. As I was brainstorming things to make, my cravings kicked in, and despite all my better pumpkin pancake-loving judgment, I wanted to recreate all the flavors of that soup in sauce form.

Pumpkin Red Curry with Thai Spices, Shrimp, Bok Choy and Ginger | Healthy! Instead of throwing in chunks of pumpkin or butternut squash, like most Thai pumpkin curries do, I decided to use pumpkin puree to add a silky thickness to the usual base of coconut milk, red curry paste, and ginger. I always get annoyed when my Thai curry takeout requires a spoon, or a vat of rice, in order to suck down all that spicy, vibrant broth. (Probably why I opt for noodles every time).

This Thai pumpkin curry recipe solves that problem, and I love how the thick sauce coats every last shrimp and layer of bok choy. More importantly, this dish reconciled both the novelty and familiarity lover in me. Which is a huge relief, since recommitting to my healthy pumpkin habit was on the to-do list for fall. If you want more inspiration to fuel yours, check out the other great recipes from the #virtualpumpkinparty below!

Eat up!


Shrimp Thai Red Curry with Pumpkin and Bok Choy Recipe | Gluten-Free, Quick and Healthy

Thai Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp and Bok Choy

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Thai Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp and Bok Choy

This quick, easy Thai Pumpkin Curry Recipe with shrimp and bok choy is the perfect weeknight meal instead of take-out!


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • ¾ pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Thai yellow, Penang, or red curry paste
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • One 15-ounce can unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • One 15-ounce can coconut milk
  • ½ pound Chinese long beans or French green beans, Cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Thai basil, mint or cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup peanuts


  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil over a high flame. Rinse the shrimp and pat dry. Stir-fry the shrimp until pink and curled, 2 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add the bok choy to the pot and cook until lightly browned and the greens are wilted, 5 minutes. Remove to the plate with the shrimp.
  3. Heat the remaining oil and sauté the shallot, ginger, garlic, red curry paste, turmeric, and 1 teaspoon sea salt until very fragrant, 2 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin, coconut milk, and green beans. Bring to gentle simmer and cook over medium-low heat until the beans are tender and the sauce has thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the herbs, lime juice, bok choy, and shrimp.
  4. Ladle the Thai pumpkin curry into bowls, garnish with peanuts, herbs, and lime wedges, and serve alongside brown rice.

instagram  If you make this, share a photo and tag me @PhoebeLapine #feedmephoebe - I would love to see it!

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22 Responses to Thai Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp and Bok Choy

  1. Pingback: pumpkin pie martini with coconut cream + homemade pumpkin spice syrup | holly & flora

  2. Pumpkin and curry are like a match made in culinary heaven! Love the addition of the sweet shrimp and the bok choy – what a fantastic combination! Pinning for later!

  3. This looks like another great way for us to start appreciating the US style (orange) pumpkins!:) Plus, we never had a pumpkin curry before and we’d love to try one!
    The photos are stunning and the combo with shrimp and bok choy sounds amazing!
    Thanx so much dear Phoebe!

  4. Happy Pumpkin Party!! I love that you made a thai curry, that’s so creative! Pumpkin is such an underrated vegetable, I feel, it can be used for so many more things than for lattes 😉

  5. Frankie says:

    I hate bok choy. Is there another vegetable you think would work as well?

  6. Oh wow that bok choy looks incredible! Love the flavor combos going on here too! Pinning!

  7. Such a creative use of pumpkin! I’ve made a curry with butternut squash before, so I could totally see this working out reeeeeaaal nice.

  8. This creation is pure genius!! I would have never thought of using pumpkin and shrimp in the same recipe, but it sounds amazing!!!

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  11. Sounds so delicious! I’m definitely a creature of familiarity, although recipe testing can put that into overdrive where you don’t want to eat that thing again for a LONG time. I can only imagine how you must have felt about pumpkin after that recipe testing frenzy!!! I’m glad you came out of hiding for this recipe, though. My favorite curry recipe I ever made was a pumpkin curry, so this gets 5 stars from me. Thanks for being a part of this!

    • hooray Sara! Thanks for including me in such a fun virtual event! I hope you were please with it. I’m surprised the internet didn’t break. Sending lots of holiday love to your table! xoxo

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