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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Print
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.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
- Category: Soup, Gluten Free, Vegetarian
- Method: Stove
- Cuisine: Thai
- 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
- Mix coconut milk, broth or water, and pumpkin purée in a large pot. Stir and bring to a boil.
- Add galangal, lemongrass, onion, broccoli, and carrot into the saucepan; cook over high heat for 2 -3 minutes or until fragrant.
- Add tofu, tomato, and mushroom, bring to a boil again. Continuing cooking until vegetables are done.
- Season with fish sauce (soy sauce or coconut aminos), sugar, and a pinch of salt to taste.
- Turn off the heat. Discard the lemongrass and galangal. Stir in lime juice, spring onion, and crushed chilies.
- Dish and garnish with cilantro leaves. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from The Chiang Mai Thai Farm Cooking School Recipe Book
- 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.