This vegetarian Thai soup is a hearty dish brimming with vegetables, rice noodles and herbs in a sweet, savoury and spicy coconut broth. It’s easy to make with a vegan store-bought curry paste and you won’t need any exotic ingredients to get this delicious soup on the table in just 20 minutes!
So my original intention with this soup was to make a vegan khao soi soup; a soup from northern Thailand that usually is comprised of egg noodles and chicken. However, I think this has morphed into something too different to be called khao soi. In replacing the egg noodles with rice noodles, it’s really missing the crispy fried egg noodles you’d often find on a non-veg khao soi.
I also took a shortcut and used a store-bought yellow curry paste, so the flavour profile of the spices might not be right on the money for a real deal khao soi. However, despite my digressions, this vegetarian Thai soup is one tasty bowl of goodness!
Just like with my vegetarian tom yum soup, this vegetarian Thai soup comes together in a jiffy. Simply soften some sweet potatoes for a couple minutes in a pan; fry some shallots, garlic and ginger; add the ready-made curry paste; finally the coconut milk, stock, seasonings and veggies go into the pan to simmer until they’re tender. Serve over rice vermicelli and top with fresh cilantro (or Thai basil) and a lime slice. Very easy.
Although I really like coconut-based curries like this vegan green curry with winter vegetables, sometimes I find them too rich, especially in the summer, and Thai soups that are a combination of the sweet, creaminess of coconut milk lightened up with some water or vegetable stock are much easier to digest.
You can change up any of the vegetables in this soup to your taste. Broccoli or kale, bean sprouts, squash, baby corn, mushrooms, carrots or tofu would all be great additions. Feel free to make your own interpretation of this vegetarian Thai soup and I promise to work on a better version of vegan khao soi soup soon!
This vegetarian Thai soup is a hearty dish brimming with vegetables, rice noodles and herbs in a sweet, savoury and spicy coconut curry broth.
5 minPrep Time
15 minCook Time
20 minTotal Time
- 80 grams (2.8 oz) rice noodles
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and small diced
- 3 small shallots, one minced and two finely sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 2 green cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground
- 2 tablespoons yellow curry paste (can sub with red curry paste and 1 teaspoon turmeric)
- 1 cup (240 ml) coconut milk
- 2 cups (480 ml) vegetable stock
- 15 snow peas, cut in half
- Half a red pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tablespoons brown or palm sugar
- 1 lime, half for the juice, half sliced for serving
- A small bunch of cilantro
- Sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
- 1 red chili pepper, sliced, for garnish
- 1 green onion, sliced, for garnish
- Prepare the rice noodles according to the package directions. Always be sure to run them under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
- Heat a large saucepan or wok over medium-high heat and add about a quarter of a cup (60 ml) of water and the sweet potato. Cook until they’re about halfway done, adding more water if necessary. Push the sweet potato to one side of the pan and add the one minced shallot, garlic, ginger and cardamom. Add a couple tablespoons of water (or oil if you prefer) if necessary and cook until they’re soft and fragrant. Add the curry paste and cook for a couple of minutes until it darkens slightly in colour and is very fragrant.
- Add the coconut milk and stock and lower the heat to medium to bring to a gentle simmer. Add the snow peas, red pepper, soy sauce, sugar and lime juice and simmer until the vegetables are done to your liking. I like the sweet potato soft and the peas and pepper still crisp-tender. Taste and adjust the seasonings to a good balance of salty, sweet and sour.
- Divide the rice noodles between two bowls and ladle the soup over. Garnish with the two sliced shallots, fresh cilantro, green onion, a few slices of chili pepper, sesame seeds and a slice of lime on the side.