This Thai red curry with vegetables is the healthy and delicious dinner you’ve been searching for! It’s creamy, slightly spicy, and full of Southeast Asian flavors you will love! With endless customizations, this meal never disappoints.
What is Thai red curry?
Thai red curry with vegetables is a dish from Thailand that fuses red curry paste, coconut milk, and vegetables together. Often, proteins like meat or tofu are added in as well. The end result is a soupy curry that pairs beautifully with steamed rice.
Since there are so many variations of Thai curries, it’s always fun mixing in new flavor combinations. Have fun experimenting with ingredients that best suit your taste preferences.
This recipe is the perfect blend of sweet, sour, spicy, and salty, making it an unforgettable eating experience.
Red Curry vs Yellow Curry
While Thai red curry and yellow curry may seem similar, there are a few notable differences between the two:
Red curry: Red chilis, both fresh and dried, and tomatoes provide the signature color of red curry paste (kreung gaeng phet daeng). Coconut milk is usually paired with red curry paste to tame some of the heat.
Yellow curry: Yellow curry paste (nam prik gaeng karee) incorporates strong flavors such as turmeric and curry powder, which also provide its golden hue. Tamarind water is a typical option for the sour element in yellow curry, and it is often thickened with potatoes.
Is Thai curry vegan?
Since Thailand is a Buddhist country, many of the dishes there are vegetarian and vegan-friendly. However, Thai curries typically incorporate fish sauce or shrimp paste, rendering them unsuitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Nowadays, it’s relatively easy to find curry paste without those ingredients. Two of the most popular choices are Aroy-D and Thai Kitchen.
Ingredients & substitutions
- Sesame oil: I love the flavor that toasted sesame oil adds to this curry. If you don’t have sesame oil, replace it with coconut oil, avocado oil, or sunflower oil.
- Thai curry paste: Use vegan Thai red curry paste, making sure to check the ingredients for fish sauce or shrimp paste.
- Garlic & ginger: Fresh garlic and ginger work in conjunction with the curry paste to boost the flavors. I would not recommend replacing fresh with powdered in this recipe.
- Lemon & vinegar: Lemon juice and rice vinegar make up the tang element, balancing out the other tastes. You can also use lime juice and coconut vinegar.
- Tamari: To replace the savory, umami element that fish sauce provides. I prefer tamari or low-sodium soy sauce, but you can also use liquid aminos or coconut aminos.
- Maple syrup: Balances the tang, spice, and savoriness. Maple syrup is my first choice, but agave or coconut sugar are great options as well.
- Vegetables: For this recipe, I’m adding shiitake mushrooms, carrots, red and yellow bell peppers, onions, snow peas, and baby bok choy. Some more options include broccoli or broccolini, kabocha squash, green beans, and eggplant.
- Coconut milk: Make sure to use full-fat coconut milk from a can for a rich, creamy, full-bodied texture and flavor.
- Basil: To garnish the curry, use fresh sweet basil.
- Salt: To enhance the other flavors. Season to taste.
- Step 1: Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet with deep sides. Add vegan Thai red curry paste, garlic, and ginger. Cook on low-medium heat until fragrant, which takes about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Step 2: Season by adding soy sauce, maple syrup, lemon juice, and rice vinegar. Then add carrots and cook until fork-tender.
- Step 3: Add mushrooms, bell peppers, and onions. Continue cooking until the onions are translucent.
- Step 4: Pour in the coconut milk, season with a pinch of salt, and bring the curry to a gentle simmer. At this point, add the snow peas and bok choy.
- Step 5: Remove the curry from the heat, then garnish with sweet basil leaves.
What to serve with Thai red curry?
Once you’ve crafted the perfect vegan Thai red curry, make it an even more complete meal with some of these delicious sides and garnishes:
- Jasmine rice
- Brown rice
- Rice vermicelli
- Cucumber salad
- Tofu or tempeh
- Fried shallots
- Thai red chilis
- Chopped peanuts
Storage & Reheating
Thai curries are perfect for meal prep since they store so well. Follow these simple storage tips:
- Fridge: Leftover curry will last in the fridge for up to 6 days in an airtight container.
- Freezer: Once completely cooled, transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months.
- Thaw: Thaw the curry in the fridge overnight when you're ready to eat it again.
- Reheating: Heat your desired serving in a pot over medium until completely warmed.
- Add protein: Try adding plant-based protein sources like tofu, tempeh, or jackfruit.
- Different vegetables: Switch up the vegetables based on what you have available. Try bamboo shoots, squash, pumpkin, snake beans, baby corn, or cabbage.
- Add fruit: To help balance out the heat, add a few pieces of pineapple or grapes.
- Make it spicy: Even though Thai red curry is supposed to be fairly mild, you can add extra spice with some Thai chilis.
- Lite coconut milk: For fewer calories, replace the full-fat coconut milk with lite coconut milk. Although it won't achieve the same creamy texture, it’s still delicious.
- Taste as you go: To achieve the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, salty, and sour flavors, I recommend tasting and adjusting the seasonings as you go.
- Choose quality coconut milk: The flavor and consistency of the coconut milk make a huge difference, so purchase high-quality Thai brands whenever possible.
- Don’t overcook the veggies: The vegetables should be tender but have a slight crunch to them still.
- Use good quality curry paste: Since curry paste provides the majority of flavor in this dish, opt for the best quality you can find.
Thai red curry paste generally consists of red chili peppers, tomatoes (sometimes), garlic, sea salt, lemongrass, and shrimp paste. As noted above, there are plenty of vegan-friendly brands that don’t contain any fish ingredients.
Thai red curry is not as spicy as Thai green curry, but it still has some heat. The spice comes from the curry paste in this recipe, so I suggest trying some on its own to determine the spice level. If the finished dish comes out too spicy, add more maple syrup or sugar to tone it down.
Be sure to use tamari and not soy sauce if you are sensitive to gluten.
More Lunch & Dinner Recipes
If you enjoyed this Thai red curry with vegetables, check out a few more healthy and delicious lunch and dinner recipes:
- Vegan ramen noodles: A flavorful bowl of ramen with a zesty lemongrass broth.
- Asparagus soup: Roasted asparagus and pineapple blended together for a healthy lunch or dinner.
- Moong masoor dal: A delicious, flavorsome, and toddler-approved favorite.
Thai Red Curry With Vegetables
- 2 tablespoon sesame oil toasted
- 4 tablespoon Thai Curry Paste
- 2 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger minced/grated
- 2 tablespoon tamari soy sauce low sodium
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 ½ cups shiitake mushrooms chopped
- 1 cup carrots chopped (diagonally)
- ½ cup red bell pepper julienne cut
- ½ cup yellow bell pepper julienne cut
- ½ cup onions finely chopped
- ½ cup snow peas
- 6 oz baby bok choy roughly chopped
- 27 oz coconut milk ( full fat
- 1 teaspoon salt or per taste
- 1 tablespoon sweet basil leafs garnish
- In a large skillet with deep sides, heat sesame oil. Then add Thai Curry Paste, garlic, and ginger. Cook till fragrant (about 4 to 5 mins) on low to medium heat.
- Season by adding soy sauce, maple syrup, lemon juice, and rice vinegar. Then add carrots and cook until fork-tender.
- Add mushrooms, bell-peppers, and onions. Cook and keep stirring until onions are translucent.
- Pour in coconut milk, sprinkle with salt and bring curry to a gentle simmer. Then add the snow peas and bok choy.
- Remove curry from the heat and garnish with sweet basil leaves.
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