Real Vegan Thai Green Curry With Gluten-Free Options

Thai green curry in a bowl on a wooden table
simonlong / Getty Images
  • 50 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 3 to 4 servings
Ratings (126)

Enjoy an authentic and delicious Thai green curry recipe for the vegetarian palate. It includes all of the authentic trimmings—lemongrass, coriander seeds, green chilies, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk—without the meat. Instead, it uses meat substitutes: wheat gluten or tofu, take your pick.

This recipe is vegan, and you can also choose to make it gluten-free. Any way you cook it, it is such a tasty meal, you'll tend to forget just how healthy it is.

What You'll Need

  • For the Green Curry Paste:
  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass (sliced finely and minced OR 3 tbsp. frozen or bottled lemongrass)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander (ground)
  • 2 teaspoon cumin (ground)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (use wheat-free for gluten-free diets)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 to 3 green chilies (sliced, to taste)
  • 1/4 cup shallot (or purple onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 to 2 inches fresh ginger (grated)
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (fresh or frozen, snipped into thin strips with scissors or substitute 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice)
  • 1 loose cup cilantro (chopped fresh coriander leaves and stems)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Handful fresh basil
  • For the Stir-Fry:
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup vegetable stock (or faux-chicken stock)
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (or substitute 2-3 bay leaves)
  • 1 1/2 cups tofu (medium-firm sliced into cubes, or another protein source e.g. chickpeas)
  • 1 small sweet potato (cubed)
  • 1 small zucchini (sliced)
  • Handful snow peas
  • Garnish: fresh basil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons oil (for frying)

How to Make It

  1. Place all of the "green curry paste" ingredients in a food processor or blender. Add 1/3 can coconut milk (or enough to blend the ingredients) and process well.
  2. Heat a wok or deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle in oil and add the processed paste. Stir-fry until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
  3. Add stock along with the lime or bay leaves.
  4. When the sauce comes to a gentle boil, reduce heat to medium-low or just until you get a nice simmer.
  1. Add sweet potato plus tofu or wheat gluten.
  2. Simmer 7 to 10 minutes, or until the sweet potato is soft enough to pierce with a fork.
  3. Add bell pepper and zucchini.
  4. Stir and continue cooking for 5 more minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked but still retain their color and form.
  5. Reduce heat to low and add about 1/4 cup more coconut milk. Stir to dissolve and do a taste-test. If it's not salty enough, add more soy sauce or salt. If it's too salty, add a little fresh lime or lemon juice. If it's too spicy, add more coconut milk until you reach the desired taste.
  6. To serve, transfer to a large serving bowl or individual bowls. Sprinkle generously with fresh basil. Accompany with Thai jasmine-scented rice or this easy Thai coconut rice.

Alternative Sauces for Green Curry

Fish sauce is normally used to flavor green curry. If you eat fish, using fish sauce instead of soy sauce will give you a greener-looking curry paste. If not, Thai Golden Mountain Sauce is an excellent vegan substitute for fish sauce. For a nice rich flavor, try using equal parts soy sauce and Golden Mountain sauce to equal a total of 3 to 3 1/2 tablespoons.

Try These Vegetables, Too

The vegetables listed in the recipe are not your only options. Other vegetables that will work include broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, chopped spinach, green beans, eggplant, squash, and zucchini. This should give you plenty of options to take advantage of the season's best produce, no matter what time of year it is.

Gluten-Free Options

It's easy to ensure that this dish does not include gluten; you just have to choose a few ingredients wisely.

The biggest culprit is the soy sauce, so be sure to look for a brand that is wheat-free.

You do also have to be careful about the stock. In general, the majority of vegetable stock is going to be gluten-free, but some may include a wheat-based yeast extract. Faux chicken stock may contain gluten as well. Check the packaging on any new brand of broth you try. It's also easy to make your own vegetable stock, which will give you peace of mind because you know what's in it.

Keep in mind that some flavored tofus may include ingredients that contain gluten. In most cases, plain tofu should be gluten-free. Tempeh is an alternative to tofu, but you need to read the labels as some include wheat.

Chickpeas are another safe protein source for gluten-free diets and a fantastic choice for this dish. Just remember to soak dried chickpeas overnight first.

Other gluten-free and vegan "meats" are available. Explore your local stores to see what's available. Who knows, you might just find a new favorite protein.