Vegetarian Thai Green Coconut Curry

Vegetarian Thai Green Coconut Curry Recipe

The Spruce

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 18 mins
Total: 38 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1454 Calories
63g Fat
195g Carbs
58g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 1454
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 63g 80%
Saturated Fat 52g 260%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1334mg 58%
Total Carbohydrate 195g 71%
Dietary Fiber 54g 193%
Protein 58g
Calcium 1120mg 86%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This vegetarian Thai green curry recipe is very simple to make from scratch, you don't even need any premade curry paste. Once you make this yourself, it will be hard to go back to anything packaged, as this green curry tastes like a green curry should—very fresh and zinging with taste, thanks to many ingredients, including lemongrass. The coconut milk lends a creaminess without making the curry too rich.

It includes tofu or chickpeas (your choice) for protein, plus lots of healthy vegetables for an excellent vegetarian or vegan curry you'll want to serve both family and friends. It's very aromatic and flavorful, and easy to love. If you've never worked with lemongrass before, you can find it in many supermarkets fresh, or sometimes the stalks are available frozen. As with many curries, this one's pretty adaptable, so feel free to experiment with other vegetables, such as chopped yam, squash, snow peas, eggplant, broccoli, and bok choy, among others. And of course, curry is especially great served with rice; it sops up some of that great flavor, and also provides a starchy balance to the curry's heat.


  • For the Green Curry Paste:
  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass (thinly sliced, or 3 tablespoons frozen)
  • 1/4 can coconut milk
  • 1 to 3 Thai green chilies (or jalapeño)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro (packed, leaves & stems)
  • 1 shallot (chopped)
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 to 2-inch piece galangal (or ginger, sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (fresh)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander (ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper (ground)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For the Remainder of the Dish:
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups tofu (firm, cubed, or canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup vegetable stock (or water)
  • Optional: 2 to 3 makrut lime leaves (fresh or frozen)
  • 3/4 can coconut milk
  • 1 green bell pepper (chopped into bite-size pieces)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups asparagus (or green beans, chopped)
  • 1 large handful cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil (or sweet basil)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for vegetarian Thai green coconut curry recipe

    The Spruce

  2. Place all green curry paste ingredients in a food processor or blender and blitz to create a fragrant green curry paste; you may need to add more coconut milk if using a blender.

    To make the sauce by hand: Mince and stir all sauce ingredients together in a bowl, or use a mortar and pestle to mash dry ingredients followed by liquid ingredients. Set aside.

    Green curry paste ingredients processed together

    The Spruce

  3. Place a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons oil and swirl around, then add the green curry paste. Stir-fry for 1 minute to release the fragrance.

    Green coconut curry paste in a wok with a wooden spoon
     The Spruce
  4. Add the tofu or chickpeas and stir until all ingredients are covered well with sauce.

    Tofu and chickpeas (if using) added to green curry paste

    The Spruce

  5. Add the stock plus lime leaves (if using). Stir and reduce heat to medium-low. Gently simmer 5 minutes.

    Stock and lime leave added to tofu and green curry

    The Spruce

  6. Add the coconut milk and the vegetables, and simmer 5 to 7 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened.

    Green curry simmering with coconut milk and veggies added

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  7. Remove curry from heat and taste for salt and spice.

    Green Thai curry removed from the heat
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  8. Serve directly out of the wok, or transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle over the fresh basil (gently tear larger leaves into shreds). Sliced red chile peppers can also be used as a topping, one that adds more heat.

    Vegetarian Thai Green Coconut Curry Recipe
     The Spruce
  9. Serve with plenty of Thai jasmine rice, and enjoy!

    Vegetarian Thai Green Coconut Curry Recipe
     The Spruce

How Do You Thicken a Thai Green Curry?

As much as curry is about flavor, it's also so much about texture—the sauce isn't too thin, but nor is it too thick. If you're finding you're making this dish and it's not thin enough for you, cook the curry paste down a little longer to reduce it. You can also combine a couple of teaspoons of cornstarch mixed with enough water to make a slurry (2 teaspoons per cup of liquid in the curry is a good rule of thumb), and mix it in toward the end of cooking.


When you remove the curry from the stove and are seasoning it, you may need to tweak the taste if it feels bland, or if one flavor is more predominant than another. Here are some suggestions.

  • If it's not salty enough, add a sprinkle more salt.
  • If it's too salty for your taste, add another squeeze of lime juice.
  • If it's too spicy, add more coconut milk.
  • If you'd like it sweeter, add a little more sugar.