This Vegetarian Green Thai Curry Recipe is really easy to make; you just need to get ready for an avalanche of flavor and grab those forgotten veggies in your fridge. Plus a couple of queues!
I have been making Thai curries and Thai food in general for more than 15 years now. It is my true comfort food and also my comfort zone. I know our dinner will be rich, delicious, easy, and fast, and I always make it with a few kitchen staples.
Of course, I have my preferences, such as making it with coconut milk, pairing it with Jasmine rice, or topping it with crispy tofu, peanuts, and/or sprouted soybeans. But I never let the lack of any of these ingredients keep me from making this one-pot dish.
🤔 Origins of Thai Curry
The Tamil word "kari" refers to any kind of sauce or stew, and the English word curry derives from it. As a result, the term "curry" is very inclusive and may be used to refer to any type of meal, stew, or sauce.
The British introduced curry to Thailand by Thai people who traveled through India and had curry while traveling there. The Thai people changed the Indian version of curry into something more like what it is today.
The first curry restaurant that sold Thai curry was in Thailand, and it was opened by Thais. The curry restaurant still exists today and is called " khao phat nam phrik Narok" which means fried rice with Thai chili paste.
Curry has many different names in Thailand, with each province its own variation of curry sauce. The national dish of Thailand is curry. Thus, it is extremely popular.
Also, the Curry in Thailand is made with ingredients not often used in other Indian or Thai curry types, such as potatoes, peanuts, pineapple, and herbs that are more common in Thailand.
I will cover the basics for making a vegan green curry, the flavor deliverers, and options (including a link to our post on How to make Vegan Thai Green Curry Paste.
The curry paste is gluten-free and doesn't have any fish sauce or shrimp paste); the vegetables for a Vegan Thai Green Curry, followed by my preferred vegan plant-based toppings such as Crispy Tofu and finishing with the perfect side for a Thai Green Curry, perfectly cooked Jasmine rice (steamed rice).
At the very minimum, you need to have a green curry paste and some vegetables (I like using about three). In addition, I would strongly recommend having a can of coconut milk in your kitchen.
Green curry paste
Curry paste lasts forever (even without any preservatives) and canned coconut milk, so keeping these two Thai cuisine staples in your kitchen will allow you to make curry whenever you want.
I have also made curry without coconut milk, but it is just not as creamy. So it’s a different story, a yummy and lighter one, but different. You can try it if you want to make a lighter dish.
I like making my own Authentic Thai Green Curry paste Recipe. But you can also easily find good quality on Amazon. Since it has far fewer ingredients, it won’t taste as authentic, but it is a good option.
I have used it countless times until I decided to start making my own Thai Green Curry Paste.
Here I will hit you with ideas for flavors, veggie suggestions, toppings, and sides and how to use them. I will also let you know which are my preferred ones.
You get the basics and work with what you might already have in your kitchen.
- Curry paste is a must (use 1 to 3 tablespoons depending on the heat you can take).
- If you can get a hold of Thai Basil, go for it. Fresh basil adds a delicious and distinctive aroma, which you usually find in Thai recipes, especially green curry sauce.
- My Suggested stir-frying oils are peanut oil, sesame oil, or coconut oil. Of course, you can also use any other vegetable oil, but these add some nice Thai notes.
- That is a big plus if you have some fresh Ginger or Galangal (also known as Thai or Siamese Ginger). Two tablespoons are enough, and a third adds an extra fragrant punch. Ginger has a fresh, sweet-yet-spicy taste, while galangal’s flavor is sharper, spicier, and slightly peppery.
- I pick a mix of the Allium family veggies: garlic, spring onions, shallots, and white, yellow, or red onions. I usually go for shallots and spring onions. But you can use a mix of any other onions and garlic.
- Tamarind paste (completely optional, extra sweet and sour taste, you don’t need more than 1 tablespoon).
- Freshly grated Lemongrass roots or paste (also optional) are easy to find in some countries. Lemongrass is already part of the curry paste. But when available, I like adding an extra tablespoon as it has an enjoyable aromatic note that I find delightful.
Top tip: a little fresh lime juice adds a nice touch of acidity; just squeeze the lime wedges directly into your plate.
Vegetables for a Vegan Thai Green Curry
My favorites are a mix of starchy and fresh veggies. I love making eggplant green curry, but my other favorite vegetables are pumpkin, squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes, and green beans. Although they are not traditionally part of a veg Thai green curry, red bell peppers, green bell pepper, and yellow bell pepper also work.
Optional veggies for this great recipe are carrots, potatoes, and… less Thai, but they work perfectly: peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Bok Choy or spinach. Added at the end. Just one minute before turning off the heat. They offer extra texture and freshness.
At this point, you can add 1 to 2 handfuls of spinach if you want to add extra creaminess. The spinach will melt in and make the preparation thicker.
We love adding snow peas just right before serving the green curry. Pour a bunch on top, and close the lid. Five minutes of steam will make them ready to eat.
I like using full-fat coconut milk since creamy coconut milk undoubtedly results in a creamier curry, but when I want to make sure the calories are low, I use light coconut milk (or low-fat coconut milk).
Top tip: when choosing coconut milk for my Thai Green Curry, I always choose brands that are clearly Thai or Brazilian, as they tend to be richer.
Toppings and garnishing
I like adding some toppings to make it beautiful and add some texture.
Nuts and seeds
Cashews, peanuts, or toasted sesame seeds.
Extra crunch and flavor
Soybean sprouts, green ends of spring onions, or cilantro leaves.
Just as in any Thai restaurant, they offer to pair your curry with your choice of chicken or shrimp. I like my Thai green curry with Crispy tofu and/or green beans. This is easily made in the oven while you wait for your curry to be ready.
For the texture, I add peanuts or cashews along with some soybean sprouts for nice crunchy notes. Snap peas and snow peas are also delicious addition. Also, add the remaining crispy tofu dice if using them.
For the appearance, I use toasted sesame seeds and some coriander leaves. I also like adding chopped green onions' upper parts (these also provide some extra flavor kick).
Sides for this vegetable green Thai Green Curry
Aim for steamed or boiled aromatic Jasmine rice. It is the indisputable and traditional companion of a Curry sauce, just as Basmati Rice is the classic pairing for Indian Curries. But, again, use any other rice, such as whole bran or even aromatic basmati rice.
To make this eggplant green curry recipe, I will describe the method using my preferred veggies and toppings while offering the substitutions and when to add them.
- Stir-fry the shallots, sesame oil, and cashews (or peanuts) for 1-2 minutes on high heat until slightly browned.
- Add green curry paste, ginger, and shallots (or chopped onion), and stir for another minute. If using tamarind paste, add it at any point from now.
- Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil on medium-high heat.
- Add the “sturdy/hard” vegetables such as diced sweet potato (or potatoes) and carrots, plus eggplants which require a little more cooking time.
- After 5 minutes, pinch the veggies. Add the water (or vegetable stock) and some cilantro leaves when they are slightly soft. Next, add the “soft” veggies, such as diced zucchini, and let them boil for another 10 minutes.
- Halfway through these last 10 minutes, I like to taste for flavor. Add some salt if you want to. You can add a teaspoon of Thai green curry paste or grated ginger for extra flavor.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach and/or Bok Choy and Green Beans.
- At this point, I also add half of the crispy baked tofu. This way, it can absorb some curry juices without losing their crispiness.
- Cover with a lid on and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Serve with any of the suggested toppings. I like to add them all.
This homemade eggplant green curry tastes even better the day after, so I recommend you make a lot! 🙂
Top tip: add vegetable broth while boiling to make it more liquid. If you need to thicken it up, you can dilute one tablespoon of corn starch in half-cup water and add it to the eggplant green curry while boiling. It should thicken up after a minute.
🥢 How to serve
Serve this Vegan Thai Green Curry recipe with freshly steamed Jasmin Rice.
You can have lime juice and soy sauce on the table if you want to bring additional acidity or umami flavor to your plate.
We also like adding red pepper flakes and baby corn as garnishing.
Although the curry flavors are fresh, they are also spicy, making it an excellent fall curry recipe.
👨🏻🍳 How to pair eggplant green curry
Green and red curry are both popular types of Thai curries, but there are actually quite a few differences between them. The most noticeable difference is the type of chili peppers used to make each one. Green curry typically uses green chilies like jalapeños or Serranos, while red curry usually uses dried red chilies such as cayenne pepper and dried Thai peppers. This means that green curry is generally milder than red curry as the chilies in green curry tend to have a lower Scoville rating—the measure of how spicy something is.
In terms of flavor, red curry tends to be more complex due to the longer cooking process and different spices used in its preparation. Red curries often include ingredients like garlic, ginger root, lemongrass, coriander seed, cumin seeds and galangal which all create distinct flavors. On the other hand, green curries can vary greatly depending on individual recipes but they tend to rely mainly on lemon grass for its distinctive citrusy taste along with other herbs and spices like white pepper or turmeric for depth of flavor plus coconut milk for creaminess and sweetness.
This dish is traditionally made with a combination of spices such as lemongrass, ginger, turmeric, garlic and cumin. Coconut milk and palm sugar are added for sweetness and to balance out flavors. This gives the dish its delicious creamy texture without adding too much fat or calories. All these ingredients provide vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C from lemongrass, B-vitamins from ginger root and turmeric, selenium from garlic cloves plus much more!
In addition to being low-calorie, green curry also contains essential fatty acids that help your body absorb essential vitamins like A, D and E as well as aids in weight loss when eaten in moderation due to its high fiber content.
The vegetables used in this dish may include carrots, peppers and eggplant all packed with antioxidants that help protect against diseases like cancer. The protein usually comes from tofu or shrimp which both provide important amino acids vital for cell growth and repair while maintaining muscle strength; they are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids too!
All-in-all it’s clear that Thai green curry is a nutritious meal choice providing many health benefits! Just remember it should be enjoyed occasionally rather than on a regular basis so you don’t overindulge on unhealthy fats found within coconut milk or proteins found within particular seafood or meats typically included in this popular dish.
🇹🇭 More Thai curry recipes
We love this chickpea coconut curry made with Massaman Curry.
Vegan and Homemade Curry paste
⭐ If you try this recipe, let us know! 💬 Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag us @ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
How to Make Thai Green Curry
- 10 oz sweet potato diced
- 1 eggplant medium, diced
- 3 shallots
- 1 oz peanuts a handful
- 8 oz coconut milk add more if want it creamier
- 2 tablespoons green curry paste
- 2 tablespoons ginger freshly grated
- 1 cup coriander leaves, about a bunch, chop only half
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil optional, omit if following a WFPB diet
- 3 cups water or vegetable stock
- Stir-fry the shallots along with sesame oil and cashews (or peanuts) for 1-2 minutes on high heat until slightly browned.
- Add the curry paste, ginger, and stir fry for another minute. If using tamarind paste, add at any point from now.
- Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil.
- Stir in the veggies. Add the “hard” vegetables such as diced sweet potato (or potatoes), plus eggplants which require a little more cooking time.
- Pinch veggies. After 5 minutes, pinch the veggies. When they are slightly soft, add 3 cups of water and some cilantro leaves. Next, add the “soft” veggies, such as diced zucchini, and let them boil for another 10 minutes.
- Adjust. Halfway through these last 10 minutes, I like to taste for flavor. Add some salt if you want to. You can also choose to add an extra teaspoon of curry paste or grated ginger for extra flavor.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach and/or Bok Choy and Green Beans.
- Add tofu. At this point, I also add half of the crispy tofu. This way so it can absorb some of the curry juices without losing their crispiness.
- Cover. Place the lid on and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Serve with any of the suggested toppings. I like to add them all.
🌡️ Food safety
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with a high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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