A simple and light Thai vegetable soup recipe, flavored with authentic herbs like galangal and lemongrass. Hearty vegetables, coconut milk, and tofu make this a filling meal on its own. This soup can easily be made vegan and gluten free.

A light Thai vegetable soup recipe, flavored with authentic herbs along with hearty vegetables, coconut milk, and tofu. It's vegan and gluten-free friendly.

If I had to pick just one type of comfort food to eat for the rest of my life, soup would be the winner, hands down. Although it has a reputation for being just a side dish, soup can be a fantastic meal in itself. All you have to do is choose a protein (such as tofu) and pack it with plenty of fibrous veggies and spices and herbs to create all kinds of addictive flavors. If you ask me, this Thai vegetable soup that I’m about to share with you is a shining example for a “main course soup” done right! This recipe was one of the Thai recipes that I learned in a cooking class in Chiang Mai, Thailand, so rest assured that it’s legit Thai.

Filling and Rich in Authentic Thai Flavor

Although this soup is considered light in terms of the texture, don’t be fooled. It’s rich in flavor and surprisingly satiating thanks to the healthy fats, fiber, and protein in the recipe. If you’d like to add a little more substance to this dish, feel free to serve it with a side of rice.

This soup uses a few simple and inexpensive ingredients that you may already have in your fridge—such as onion, tofu, broccoli, cilantro, carrots, and onions—as well as a base of creamy coconut milk mixed with pumpkin puree to brighten up the color and flavor. You can choose light coconut milk for your Thai soup if you want.

I used canned pumpkin puree for this recipe, but during the fall months, when pumpkin is in season, I highly recommend giving the fresh pumpkin a try. (Simply bake in the oven and puree in your blender.) Seasonal and local produce is always richer in nutrients.

Authentic Thai Vegetable Soup Ingredients

Whenever it comes to Thai cooking, there will always be a couple of special herbs you just can’t leave out—notably lemongrass and galangal, which looks like a fresh ginger root.

These ingredients are essential to make your Thai dishes taste authentic. In places like the US or Canada, you may find they have a higher price tag than most of your standard herbs at grocery stores. But if you go to any Asian markets, they are very affordable. Also, a small amount of these ingredients goes a long way and can make an entire pot of soup—enough for at least four servings—taste like pure heaven.

A light Thai vegetable soup recipe, flavored with authentic herbs along with hearty vegetables, coconut milk, and tofu. It's vegan and gluten-free friendly.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Options

This Thai soup recipe calls for fish sauce, but if you want to make it 100% vegan, simply swap the fish sauce for soy sauce or coconut aminos and substitute vegetable broth, vegetable stock, or water for the chicken broth as the soup base.

If you choose to use coconut aminos to make this recipe gluten-free and soy-free, you may want to omit the brown sugar, because it’s naturally a bit sweet.

There are many other ways you can customize this recipe. For example, don’t limit yourself to the veggies in the ingredient list! You can use green beans, cauliflower, red bell pepper, baby bok choy, or any other vegetables you have on hand. You can even throw in some rice noodles to make it a super hearty Thai veggie noodle soup bowl. If you’re not vegan, you could also swap the tofu for chicken or shrimp.

A light Thai vegetable soup recipe, flavored with authentic herbs along with hearty vegetables, coconut milk, and tofu. It's vegan and gluten-free friendly.

How else would you customize this Thai vegetable soup recipe? Let me know in the comments; I’d love to know what’s in your version! Now, let’s get to the recipe.

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Authentic Thai Vegetable Soup

A light Thai vegetable soup recipe, flavored with authentic herbs along with hearty vegetables, coconut milk, and tofu. It's vegan and gluten-free friendly.

A light Thai vegetable soup recipe, flavored with authentic herbs along with hearty vegetables, coconut milk, and tofu. It’s vegan and gluten-free friendly.

  • Author: Sharon Chen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Soup, Gluten Free, Vegetarian
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Thai

Ingredients

  • 1 can (13.66 fl oz) unsweetened coconut milk (I like Thai Kitchen brand.)
  • 2 cups chicken bone broth, or regular chicken broth, or vegetable broth or water if vegetarian
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée (optional, I like Farmer’s Market Organic Pumpkin)
  • 1/4 cup galangal, sliced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, sliced into 1-inch long pieces
  • 1/4 cup onion, sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrot, sliced
  • 1/2 cup firm tofu, sliced
  • 1 Roma tomato, sliced
  • 1 cup mushroom, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce, or coconut aminos if vegan 
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 stem spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnishing and lime wedges for serving

Instructions

  1. Mix coconut milk, broth or water, and pumpkin purée in a large pot. Stir and bring to a boil.
  2. Add galangal, lemongrass, onion, broccoli, and carrot into the saucepan; cook over high heat for 2 -3 minutes or until fragrant.
  3. Add tofu, tomato, and mushroom, bring to a boil again. Continuing cooking until vegetables are done.
  4. Season with fish sauce (soy sauce or coconut aminos), sugar, and a pinch of salt to taste.
  5. Turn off the heat. Discard the lemongrass and galangal. Stir in lime juice, spring onion, and crushed chilies.
  6. Dish and garnish with cilantro leaves. Enjoy!

Notes

Recipe adapted from The Chiang Mai Thai Farm Cooking School Recipe Book

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 201
  • Sugar: 2.9g
  • Sodium: 138.6mg
  • Fat: 14.8g
  • Saturated Fat: 11g
  • Carbohydrates: 10.7g
  • Fiber: 2.2g
  • Protein: 9.9g
  • Cholesterol: 2.5mg

*This post was originally published in April, 2014 and updated in November, 2018.

A light Thai vegetable soup recipe, flavored with authentic herbs along with hearty vegetables, coconut milk, and tofu. It's vegan and gluten-free friendly.9.9g

35 thoughts on “Authentic Thai Vegetable Soup”

  1. I am in love with this recipe! Thai flavors are my favorite, so intense and delicious. I agree with you on the pumpkin, fresh is the way to go and its so easy. I just make batches of it when it comes in season and freeze. it. Soup is truly the ultimate comfort food, I’ll eat it as a meal any time!

    1. Great idea of making pumpkin puree in batches and freeze it. I can always use some pumpkin in my soups. Glad that you like the recipe! 🙂

  2. I absolutely love Thai soup, and it’s so handy that it’s so easy to turn it into a gluten-free / vegan meal. I haven’t heard of galangal before though.

  3. Hi! I’m so keen to make this for my family. If using fresh pumpkin then what would the quantity be? And also the lime juice is it from a bottle or fresh lime juice?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Zayaan! If using fresh pumpkin, I would recommend you make your own puree and then follow the recipe. As long as you can have 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin, it should be fine. A bit more or less is not going to be a deal breaker. I always use fresh lime juice when cooking. 🙂 Hope your family will enjoy this soup!

    1. Hi John! You are right. If you use fish sauce, it’s not vegan. I should have been more clear on the options in the post. Now it’s updated. Thanks for your comment.

  4. OMG!! Thank you so much for the Super G information. I go to a farmers market and Indian store to get veggies. Now can get them all here. Just like you I dream of the day I don’t have to go to 5 stores to get everything I need!!

  5. Thank you for this recipe, my picky 12 year old even loved it 🙂 i think maybe Ill add potatoes next time, like the thai restaurant here does. Thanks again!

    1. Awesome! So glad to hear it. Adding potatoes is a good idea. I’ve never thought about it. Maybe I will try that next time too. 🙂

  6. Sharon Chen~

    This is one of the few Thai recipes that has worked-out for us on the very first try – so YOU deserve a ton of credit!

    We were able to source our galangal and lemongrass at our (awesome) Asian market, and it was well worth the short-drive. We cubed an entire brick of tofu and pan fried it in a splash of sesame oil.

    We devoured the entire meal in one sitting, and our five year old requested that we make this more often (!).

    Suffice to say, we will bookmark your site and return often.

    1. Hi Todd and Susan! Thank you so much for leaving this thoughtful comment and letting me know how this recipe worked out for you. Glad to hear that you were able to find galangal and lemongrass. These two ingredients do make a big difference in this soup. Thanks for trying my recipe again! You did put a big smile on my face today. 🙂

  7. I’ve made this soup twice. The first time we used ginger instead of galangal. We couldn’t find spring onion so we used green onion (both times) and made it with shrimp the first time. It was AMAZING!!! My family put it in the have once a week category. We did run into a problem with the lemongrass being unedible-like wood, so we picked it out.
    The second time I made it I found the galangal and made it with that and tofu. The soup was not as delightful to my family but my brother still went in for seconds. I cooked the galangal and lemongrass for awhile together (maybe 15-20 min) in the liquid before adding the other vegetables in hopes that it would soften them up more so we wouldn’t have to pick them out. They were edible this time, though not soft. Any advice on cooking the lemongrass so it is soft like the other vegetables? My other thought is to cook it in a removable bag of some sort so we can pull it out when the soup is done cooking but I’d rather be able to keep it in. I think this soup (the ginger version) will remain a family favorite. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Alyse! Thanks for sharing your experience making the soup. I am glad that you enjoy the ginger version. I might try that next time. 🙂 I should have mentioned this before. We use lemongrass and galangal to infuse the soup. They are not really edible. It’s like bay leaves. You discard them after the soup is done. I am sorry for the confusion. Going to update the recipe now. Thanks again for your feedback.

  8. Thank you so much for such a fantastic recipe!
    I love this soup and so does my husband :). Whole house smells gorgeous!
    I used harrisa paste instead of pepper flakes and fresh jalapeños.
    I didn’t add sugar and substituted cilantro with parsley.
    Thanks for sharing, what a inspiration for my cooking.

    1. Hi Kasik! Great to hear that you and your husband enjoyed this soup. Nicely modified. I have never tried harrisa paste, which I am very interested in now. Thanks for sharing your cooking tips!

  9. Generally, one can use ginger instead of galangal.
    Coconut milk is the primary flavor basic.
    Also, I don’t keep brown sugar in the house but I do have agave syrup which is a great substitute and I often use it in soups and Italian sauces.
    I suspect a yellow curry was used in this soup. Am I correct?

    1. Hi, thanks so much for your input regarding the potential substitutions for this recipe. No yellow curry was used in this soup. The yellow color comes from the combination of coconut milk and pumpkin puree.

  10. I made this (without the pumpkin) and it was DELICIOUS. I seriously appreciate a good recipe I find online, one whose pictures do the actual recipe justice!! So thank you (: The one thing I would mention is that when I make a recipe I prefer the ingredients to be in *order of appearance*, which I don’t think this one head necessarily BUT I am soo happy with how it turned out! (: (:

    1. Hey Shaina! I am so glad that you liked this recipe. Ingredients to be in order of appearance is a fantastic idea. I can’t believe that I’ve never thought about it before! It makes so much sense. I will do that in my future recipes from now on! Thanks so much for your comment. I really really appreciate it!

  11. I posted a similar recipe recently 🙂
    Tom kha gai is one of my all-time favorite soups and I really wanted to make it at home but could not find galangal nor lemongrass. I ended up using a Thai red curry paste which had galangal in it and it turned tasting pretty damn authentic.

    1. I remember your soup by your nice photos. I am going to try with red curry paste next time! Such a great find, Sasha! This soup is really bomb!

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