Vegetarian Thai Red Curry is an easy dinner loaded with the best aromatic Asian spices, plenty of nutritious good-for-you veggies and is true comfort food made in one pot.
Beautifully fragrant, creamy, and mildly spicy (or not!), and can be eaten on its own with Thai shrimp chips (prawn crackers).
Red curry is such a comforting easy sauce that goes with everything.
There are so many of you, different readers, here at the Yummy Bowl - some of you like to get straight to the recipe ingredients and instructions, and some of you love reading the full information with tips and tricks that I provide for the recipe.
There is a skip to recipe button in the top left corner along with a clickable table of contents list (just below) that will quickly take you to the part you are more interested in. Enjoy!
My few comments on the ingredients + don't forget to read the Tips section!
The full recipe and ingredients can be found in the recipe card below this post.
- Red Thai curry paste - is easily found in local Asian markets. This is a key ingredient, but If you don't have this, you can use massaman paste or simple tomato paste instead (just add some hot spices for bold flavors!). However, it will not give the same flavor but sure will help with the overall flavors. If using tomato paste, you'll be missing the heat in the dish. Taste the curry for spiciness during the whole process. To fix this, you'll want to add some red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or chili powder. This easy chickpea curry is creamy and relatively mild, but does have a little spicy kick in it!
- Coconut milk - low or full-fat coconut milk, for creamier texture lite coconut milk, will not be the best. However, it should be unsweetened coconut milk without any additives.
- Fresh Lime juice - a generously heaping tablespoon to balance all the flavors is essential. However, if you haven't cooked many curry dishes, leave it for your guests to drizzle over individual serving plates as much as they would like.
- Ginger - I have added a generous spoonful of fresh ginger. Ginger gives a bit of zing to the sauce as well as a spicy kick. The more you add the spicier it will get.
- Garlic - I have written two medium garlic cloves for the recipe. This is important, as garlic in season and out of season greatly varies in terms of its shape and flavor. Sometimes only 2 garlic cloves are more than enough if it is a ''stronger'' garlic. For example, in Europe compared to the US you'll not find large garlic heads that often. If any at all and just at the end of summer. Use your best judgment and experience!
- Optional add-ons. For more flavor, you can also add some fish sauce (1-2 teaspoons), lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, and hot peppers.
- I also like to cook some tofu on the side and add it to the curry later. My favorite recipe for crispy tofu.
In a heavy bottom skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat add oil. Once the oil is hot saute the onion until softened.
Follow with garlic and ginger, salt, black pepper, veggies (except broccoli, kale, peas), red curry paste, and turmeric.
Saute until veggies are slightly softened.
Stir in coconut milk, vegetable broth, soy sauce and sugar, and reduce the heat to medium-low.
Coconut sugar adds beautiful flavor if you can add it instead of brown sugar!
Here you can also add lemon grass or kaffir leaves if used.
Take it to a gentle simmer and cook until red curry sauce starts to thicken.
Stir in broccoli (you can add broccoli along with the veggies in the beginning.
I personally, like my broccoli with a little crunch to it and with bright green color!), kale and snow peas, drizzle with lime juice.
Simmer until kale is reduced in size. Taste for seasonings once more.
The curry will start to thicken even more once it’s cooled. To reheat add a little vegetable broth or coconut milk.
Serve this curry with more lime juice, fresh Thai basil leaves (or regular basil), scallions, cilantro, coconut shavings, over cauliflower rice, jasmine rice (or any long grain rice), noodles or simply with bread and shrimp crackers.
- Ginger - keep a bunch in your freezer and grate it! Frozen ginger is actually easier to peel and grate than fresh, there's no need to thaw it first.
- Mushrooms - Several types of mushrooms are used in Thai cuisine such as straw mushrooms, shiitake, and white jelly fungus. In our grocery stores, the most common is shiitake but you can definitely find more options in Asian supermarkets. Cremini and portobello are perfectly fine to use here too.
- Curry will thicken even more once cooked and refrigerated. Add more vegetable broth, coconut milk, milk, or warm water once ready to reheat.
- Don't simmer for too long or boil once you add the coconut milk. It will start curdling and will separate.
- Coconut milk vs lite coconut milk - Basically coconut milk is pulverized coconut flesh mixed with water. Before opening the can of coconut milk, shake it well so the coconut cream and milk are nicely combined (it just makes it so much easier to scoop out of the can!). Basically, any regular coconut milk is good here, other types of coconut milk such as Lite coconut milk are less natural and thinner. The thicker, the better.
What to serve with curry?
As most of you know, curry is served with rice (I like to use brown rice for a healthier option) and homemade GF naan bread.
You can serve with regular bread (gluten-free if used), rice, quinoa, potatoes, or any grain that has a gluten-free label if this is a concern for you. I have also served this as a thicker soup, with bread on the side.
Don't forget the toppings! Mango chutney, yogurt on the side, bean sprouts, shredded coconut, toasted nuts, green onions, chives, chopped red onion, cilantro, basil, and parsley. All these toppings are a great addition and give lots of flavor to this curry.
Freezing And Storing Instructions
Like with all the curries, you can freeze this one too.
Let it cool completely, place the curry in glass airtight container, refrigerate and consume within 2-3 days. Or freeze for 2-3 months.
After thawing, however, the texture will change slightly which is very common with cream sauce, ‘’milk’’ based recipes.
To restore its first look (as much as we can after thawing), and make it more creamy stir in fresh coconut milk or heavy cream when reheating.
The bottom line, some foods just don't freeze well. Avoid freezing creamy recipes unless you really need to freeze the leftovers.
Consume the curry within 2-3 days.
(By the way, the best time to freeze the curry or any dish is on the same day it was prepared. This way it will remain fresh for longer and retain its nutritional value)
Read more about the safe freezing, storing, and thawing process USDA website.
Red curry paste is commonly found at most grocery stores. The flavor, red color, and texture vary from one brand to another. The best choice is to get it from your local Asian/Thai store, just to be sure yo uare getting the good stuff! Red curry paste is known as ‘’spicy curry’’ and it draws its color from the excessive amounts of red chilis used, which are crushed with shallots, garlic, blue ginger, and lemongrass. Traditionally it is made with a mortar and pestal.
It is basically the same thing. Coconut cream has less part of water than coconut milk. Both of these can be used interchangeably in most recipes that call for coconut milk or cream. (curries, soups, stews). Depending on what consistency you are going after if you want richer, and creamier texture, opt for coconut cream and vice versa. Things may get slightly complicated when you are dealing with baking recipes. Bu tas far as this Thai vegetable curry goes, you can use either or.
As much as I love coconut milk, I know that not everyone likess the taste of it. However to mask coconut taste, try adding a bit more spices to your curry dish or use an alternative substitute like:
light coconut milk
Heavy cooking cream - perfect for curries!
Plant-based or regular milk
Easy Curry Recipes
- Slow Cooker Beef Massaman Curry
- Chickpea, Cauliflower and Coconut Curry
- Thai Red Curry Chicken Noodles
- One Pot Curry Coconut Noodles
- Turmeric Coconut Chicken Curry
- Potato, Pumpkin and Spinach in Creamy Sauce
I hope you'll enjoy this recipe, please leave a rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo of your food and tag me on Instagram @theyummy_bowl. I love seeing your creations!
Thank you for reading,
Vegetarian Thai Red Curry
- 1 ½ cup vegetable broth
- ½ cup snow peas or snap peas, green beans, fresh or frozen
- ½ cup broccoli florets cut into bite-size pieces (sub with spinach)
- 1 cups kale washed and rinsed
- 1 cup yellow and red bell pepper cut into chunks/cubes
- 1 medium brown onion
- 1 knob ginger grated, about 1 inch
- 3 garlic cloves minced 9substitute with 1-2 teaspoon garlic powder)
- ½ teaspoon ground Turmeric or a small knob of root turmeric, grated
- 1 tablespoon lime juice freshly squeezed, or a small stalk of lemongrass
- 2 kaffir lime leaves optional
- 2-3 tablespoons red curry paste add more depending on how spicy you want
- 1 15 oz can full-fat coconut milk coconut cream
- ½ cups mushrooms cremini, portobello, shiitake
- 1 tablespoon low sodium gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoon avocado oil coconut oil, or good quality olive oil
- lost of cilantro
- In a heavy bottom skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat add oil and once hot saute onion until softened. Follow with garlic and ginger, salt, black pepper, veggies (except broccoli), red curry paste, and turmeric. Saute until veggies are slightly softened.
- Stir in coconut milk, vegetable broth, and sugar, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Here you can add lemon grass or kaffir leaves if using.
- Take it to a gentle simmer and cook until the sauce starts to thicken. Stir in broccoli (you can add broccoli along with the veggies in the beginning but I like my broccoli with a little crunch to it and bright green colored, personal preference!), kale, and snow peas, drizzle with lime juice, soy sauce.
- Simmer until kale is reduced in size. Taste for seasonings once more.
- The curry will start to thicken even more once it’s cooled. To reheat add a little vegetable broth or coconut milk.
- Serve this curry with more lime juice, fresh Thai basil leaves (or regular basil) or cilantro, coconut shavings over cauliflower rice, jasmine rice (or any long grain rice), noodles, or simply with bread and shrimp crackers.