|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 23g||30%|
|Saturated Fat 14g||72%|
|Total Carbohydrate 47g||17%|
|Dietary Fiber 10g||36%|
|*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.|
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 vegetable stock (good-quality)
- 1 to 2 stalks lemongrass (minced)
- 3 whole makrut lime leaves
- 1 to 2 red chilies (sliced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 thumb-size piece galangal (or ginger; sliced into thin matchsticks)
- 1 cup fresh mushrooms (such as shiitake; sliced)
- 2 cups baby bok choy (leaves separated or chopped if large)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- Optional: 1/2 can coconut milk (good-quality)
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 to 2 cups soft tofu (cubed)
- Garnish: 1/2 cup fresh basil (roughly chopped)
- Garnish: 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves (roughly chopped)
Gather the ingredients.
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.
Add the mushrooms. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft.
Add the bok choy and cherry tomatoes. Gently simmer 1 to 2 more minutes (the bok choy should remain on the crisp side).
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.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with fresh basil and coriander. Serve and enjoy.
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.
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.
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
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Coconut Milk; 1097553. Food Data Central. 2018.