Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup

Vegetarian Tom Yum soup in two bowls

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
223 Calories
8g Fat
26g Carbs
19g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 223
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1928mg 84%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 9%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 19g
Vitamin C 58mg 292%
Calcium 527mg 41%
Iron 9mg 48%
Potassium 1337mg 28%
*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.)

Tom Yum Thai soup is the most popular recipe of all Thai soups, and it's famous worldwide. It usually includes shrimp (known as Tom Yum Goong), but a vegetarian version is just as satisfying. The hot and sour soup is filled with aromatic ingredients that combine for a healthy dish. You'll love how it warms and energizes!

The authentic Tom Yum recipe does not include coconut milk. However, some people prefer it with this ingredient (technically making it Tom Khaa soup) because it creates a thicker, richer tasting soup. In this recipe, coconut milk is an optional ingredient—if you decide to omit it, add a little more stock. In Thailand, they often use evaporated milk, which is a good option for vegetarians, while vegans will prefer to use coconut milk.

This vegetarian/vegan version uses soft tofu as the protein. It is quick and easy to make, and just as healthy than the traditional recipe. It works well as an appetizer, for lunch, or as part of a nutritionally complete dinner.


Click Play to See This Easy Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup Recipe Come Together


  • 5 to 6 cups good-quality vegetable stock

  • 1 to 2 stalks lemongrass, minced

  • 3 whole makrut lime leaves

  • 1 to 2 red chiles, sliced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal (or ginger), sliced into thin matchsticks

  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, such as shiitakes, sliced

  • 2 cups baby bok choy, leaves separated and chopped if large

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes

  • 1/2 can good-quality coconut milk, optional

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

  • 1 to 2 cups cubed soft tofu

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped, garnish

  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup Recipe ingredients gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Pour the stock into a soup pot. Add the prepared lemongrass, plus the lime leaves, chili, garlic, and galangal or ginger. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes, or until the broth is very fragrant.

    Stock in a pot with lemongrass and lime leaf

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Add the mushrooms. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft.

     Mushrooms and stock in a large pot

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Add the bok choy and cherry tomatoes. Gently simmer 1 to 2 more minutes (the bok choy should remain on the crisp side).

    Bok choy and cherry tomatoes added to the soup in the pot

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Reduce the heat to low and add the coconut milk (if using), sugar, soy sauce, and lime juice. Add the soft tofu and gently stir. Taste-test and adjust as needed.

    Coconut milk and tofu added to soup pot

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with fresh basil and coriander. Serve and enjoy.

    Vegetarian Tom Yum soup in a pot with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

How to Adjust the Soup to Taste

When taste-testing, use the recipe's ingredients to make adjustments:

  • Add more chili or chili sauce if it's not spicy enough.
  • If it's not salty enough, add a little more soy sauce, stock, or salt.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of sugar if the soup is too sour.
  • When it's too salty or sweet, add another squeeze of lime juice.


  • Lemongrass, makrut lime leaves, galangal, and bok choy are available at Asian food markets.
  • When making the stock from cubes or powder, make it strong (if it tastes good on its own, it will make a better soup).
  • Tom Yum broth cubes are available and easiest to find at Asian markets. They include a few of the flavoring ingredients—typically chile, soy sauce, lemongrass, and citrus leaf, though they often also contain MSG. These make a nice stock base but it's still best to at least add the lime leaves, chilies, and galangal to flavor the soup.
  • For a gluten-free diet, look for wheat-free soy sauce.

Recipe Variations

The nice thing about this soup is that many of the ingredients can be substituted:

  • Use or faux chicken stock instead of vegetable.
  • Substitute minced lemongrass with 3 to 4 tablespoons of frozen prepared lemongrass.
  • Instead of red chilies, use 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chili or 1 to 2 teaspoons chili sauce.
  • Baby bok choy can be replaced with chopped broccoli or bell pepper.

Is Tom Yum Soup Healthy?

In general, Thai cuisine is considered some of the healthiest food you can eat. Tom Yum soup is often touted as one of the best and it is commonly eaten for cold and flu relief. Nutritionally, the soup is low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates. Each individual ingredient brings its own benefits to the mix as well. For instance, tofu is an excellent vegetarian source of protein and lemongrass has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, makrut lime leaves and galangal are good for digestion, and chili peppers can help with inflammation and improve immunity. While coconut milk will increase the soup's saturated fats, it is also filled with nutrients like calcium and protein.

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Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Putadechakum S, Phanachet P, Pakpeankitwattana V, Klangjareonchai T, Roongpisuthipong C. Effect of daily egg ingestion with thai food on serum lipids in hyperlipidemic adults. ISRN Nutrition. 2013;2013:1-5. doi:10.5402/2013/580213

  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Coconut Milk; 1097553. Food Data Central. 2018.