Vegetarian Thai Green Coconut Curry

Vegetarian Thai Green Coconut Curry

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 22 mins
Total: 42 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
852 Calories
67g Fat
50g Carbs
32g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 852
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 67g 86%
Saturated Fat 41g 206%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1290mg 56%
Total Carbohydrate 50g 18%
Dietary Fiber 10g 35%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 32g
Vitamin C 132mg 659%
Calcium 718mg 55%
Iron 18mg 98%
Potassium 1949mg 41%
*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 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.

"Homemade green curry paste is so much more flavorful than premade. It's really easy to make. I keep it on hand in the freezer for a quick weeknight dinner or to use up random bits of vegetables in the fridge. This curry has the right amount of spice and freshness for happy tastebuds and tummies." —Renae E. Wilson

Vegetarian Thai Green Coconut Curry Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


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 chiles (or jalapeño)

  • 1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves and stems

  • 1 shallot, chopped

  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic

  • 1 (1- to 2-inch) piece galangal (or ginger), sliced

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Remainder of the Dish:

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 1/2 cups cubed firm tofu (or canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained)

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup vegetable stock or water

  • 2 to 3 fresh or frozen makrut lime leaves

  • 3/4 can coconut milk

  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped into bite-size pieces

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped asparagus (or green beans)

  • 1 large handful cherry tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil (or sweet basil)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Vegetarian Thai Green Coconut Curry ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  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.

    Place all green curry paste ingredients in a food processor

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  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 / Diana Chistruga

  4. Add the tofu or chickpeas and stir until all ingredients are covered well with sauce.

    Tofu added to green curry paste in the wok

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Add the stock plus lime leaves (if using). Stir and reduce heat to medium-low. Gently simmer 5 to 7 minutes.

    Stock and lime leave added to tofu and green curry in the wok

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Add the coconut milk and the vegetables, and simmer 10 to 13 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened.

    Green curry simmering with coconut milk and veggies added

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

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

    Green Thai curry removed from the heat

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  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 in a wok

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga


When you remove the curry from the stove and are seasoning it, you may need to tweak the taste if it seems bland, or if one flavor is more dominant 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.

For a firmer texture, press the tofu first before dicing it and adding it to the curry.

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 thick 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.