Fragrant, comforting, and yet very fresh, this soup is likely to become one of your year-round go-tos. Our all-vegetarian take on Thai Yellow Curry soup calls for the addition of mushrooms, for a hearty umami boost. We use canned coconut milk for a rich, silky texture. If you prefer a lighter soup, feel free to use lite canned coconut milk instead. We recommend serving this vegetarian soup for lunch, or as a light dinner entrée.
Don’t be intimidated by Thai flavors. Whether you’ve cooked a traditional Thai or Thai-inspired dish before, this soup recipe is do-able for all cooking levels and comes together in under an hour. Streamlined and simple, each ingredient we call for is available at well-stocked mainstream grocery stores. That said, we offer up substitution ideas below if you can’t find—or don’t care for—some of the ingredients.
Another benefit to this soup—it’s nutritious! Garlic, ginger, and the spices in the curry paste all contain disease-fighting compounds. Note that the heat level in curry pastes may vary, so we recommended testing out your curry and adding more coconut milk to mellow the spice if needed. Onions, mushrooms, and bell pepper add fiber and other key vitamins. Fighting a cold? This soup is a tasty way to help you stay hydrated, and also its broth-y and warm nature can get your sinuses running, which may help to clear them out.
Looking for a little extra protein? Truth is, most vegetarians get enough protein in their daily diet. That said, you can pump up the protein in this soup by adding some tofu, boosting the peanut amount, or, if you eat seafood, topping your soup with a few cooked shrimp.
Lastly, don’t skip the final mix-ins and chopped peanut garnish. Adding a squeeze of lime juice at the end brightens up the soup, as do the raw scallion and fresh herbs. Want to punch up the color of your soup? Look for purple basil instead of green. And the chopped, salted peanuts add crunch and a nice toasty nuttiness.
Now, before you launch into the recipe, here are a few pro prep tips:
- Prep all of your ingredients first. Slice, dice, and mince, and also portion out your spices and seasonings. The prep is actually the most time-consuming part of this recipe. This soup comes together quickly once you start cooking. While your soup simmers, get a head start on the clean up so there’s less to tackle after you eat.
- Don’t over simmer. Yes, a long, low simmer can deepen flavor. But with this soup, extending your simmer time may cook off too much liquid and the noodles absorb a surprising amount of broth. If you have too little broth, once you add the noodles, you’re more likely to end up with soupy noodles than you are noodles in your soup.
- Separate leftovers. This soup keeps for a couple days, but you’ll want to divide the different soup elements for the tastiest leftovers. If you know you’re going to put up a serving or two of soup, don’t mix the scallions or herbs into the soup pot. Instead, add those to the individual bowls and store the extra in the refrigerator in an airtight container and add to your leftovers once you’ve reheated them. Then, using tongs or a slotted spoon (or even a combination of the two depending on how slippery your noodles are), pull the noodles as best you can out of the soup and place them in their own container. Then transfer the broth and vegetable mixture to another re-sealable container. When it’s time to reheat, start with the broth and vegetable mixture—warming it on the stovetop or in the microwave. Then mix in your noodles. If you need more liquid at this stage, whisk together a little vegetable broth and coconut milk and then add to the pot or bowl. Before you dig in, stir in your herbs, scallions, peanuts, and a little more lime, if desired.
- Get creative! The joy of this soup—and most soups, actually—is that the recipe can simply be an outline. Use the portions and proportions as a guide and mix-up some of your ingredients. For example, switch up the flavor and use red curry instead of yellow; swap out the mushrooms for cubed firm tofu; add sliced Bok choy for extra veggies, etc.
Vegetarian Thai Yellow Curry Soup
- 8 ounces Shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 large yellow or orange bell pepper, sliced into strips (about ¾ cup)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 3 tbsp. yellow curry paste
- 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 (13.5 oz.) can coconut milk
- 2 tsp. soy sauce
- 2 tsp. brown sugar
- 3 - 4 ounces angel hair rice noodles (about half of a package)
- 1/2 cup green onion, thinly sliced (1 to 2 stalks)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
- Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or until tender.
- Add bell pepper and garlic and cook about 3 minutes or until tender.
- Stir in curry paste and ginger. Cook 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Stir in broth and coconut milk, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Stir in soy sauce and brown sugar and remove from heat. .
- Add noodles and let them soften. Then, stir in green onions, cilantro, basil and lime juice. Divide soup evenly among 4 bowls and top each bowl with peanuts. Serve immediately.