Celia is always thinking ahead about food she can make for her friends. Cooking is the best way she’s found to express herself and tackle her ennui, though she discounts her efforts as something anyone can do. In that way, she’s right! Anyone who wants to can learn to cook complex meals, and they’re not actually that hard.

As a gluten free author, I let Celia make gluten free meals. These are the dishes I cook myself, and I know them best. In chapter 7, Celia cooks a butternut squash curry. It’s unfamiliar to León, who comes up from the pool house to beg a bowl, but he finds himself pleasantly surprised by the dish.

The sweet squash and spicy curry come together to create a symphony of flavors and textures. The star of the show is the butternut squash, roasted to caramelized perfection, its natural sweetness beautifully balanced by the hot, creamy curry. The addition of tender greens adds a touch of earthiness, while the lime juice lends a tangy brightness that cuts through the richness. Served over rice and topped with fresh herbs, it’s a dish that’s as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate.

Most of us don’t immediately think of making a vegetarian curry for dinner, but sometimes novelty just hits the spot. Why not give it a try? You might find that it’s the perfect antidote to your everyday fare, and there’s no denying that this one is delicious!

Celia’s Butternut Squash Curry

  • 4 tbsp neutral oil (I use peanut)
  • 1 small butternut squash, about 1 lb, peeled, seeded, and cut into large chunks
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch grated ginger
  • kale or chard leaves, chopped
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground fenugreek (optional but great!)
  • 2 crushed cloves
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cayenne
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Cooked basmati rice
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. In a large bowl, mix squash with half of the oil and salt well. On a rimmed baking sheet, spread squash evenly, then roast in the oven until they’ve softened and taken on a golden brown hue, around 35 to 40 minutes.
  2. As your squash is roasting, warm the remaining oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Saute the onion until translucent but still firm. Add garlic, ginger, and spices and saute for 2 minutes more. If you don’t have the individual spices listed, you can use 1.5 tbsp of garam masala or curry powder.
  3. Add coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add chopped kale or chard and stir occasionally until the greens have wilted. Turn off heat until your squash has finished roasting.
  5. When squash is ready, add it to the dutch over along with the juice of one lime. Stir until well combined and bring to a simmer briefly.
  6. Add salt to taste. Add a pinch more cayenne if you like heat!
  7. Serve over basmati rice, sprinkled with fresh parsley.