Rich, cozy and PACKED with flavor, this easy Vegan Tom Kha Soup is a Thai-inspired recipe that is simple and quick to make.
- 1 small white onion, sliced or diced
- 2 inches (to taste) galangal or ginger, grated
- Thai chilies to taste, minced (see note 2) (I used 3)
- 1 stalk fresh lemongrass if you can find it or 1-2 tbsp lemongrass paste
- 2-3 tsp Thai red curry paste (to taste)
- 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, halved and thinly sliced
- 4 cups vegan chicken broth (see note 3), recommend Better Than Bouillon
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 2 16-oz blocks extra firm tofu, cut in ½” dice (see note 4)
- Juice of 2-ish limes
- 2-3 tbsp coconut sugar, to taste
- Green onions and cilantro to garnish
- Kaffir lime leaves if you can find them
- 3 cloves garlic
- 8 oz rice vermicelli noodles, optional
- Prep: When making a soup, I like to pre-chop all my vegetables for less stress during cooking time, but that’s just a tip.
- Saute aromatics: Add the white onion, grated ginger, minced garlic, fresh lemongrass if you have it, and minced Thai chilies to a large nonstick pot. If you cook with oil you could certainly use that. I just add a little water from a small cup any time something starts to stick. Saute over medium high heat, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the Thai red curry paste and, if you couldn’t find fresh lemongrass, the lemongrass paste. Stir constantly for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add mushrooms and bell pepper: Now add the chopped mushrooms and red bell pepper, and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently and adding a splash of water when needed.
- Add broth: Add the vegan chicken broth or vegetable broth and coconut milk, turn the heat down to medium, and bring to a high simmer. Add the cubed tofu and let cook for about 6-8 minutes.
- Make the noodles: Meanwhile, if using, soak or cook your rice vermicelli noodles in a different pot.
- Finish up: Add the coconut sugar (if using), and juice of 2ish limes (to taste). Let warm for a minute or two, then remove from heat.
- Serve: Ladle the soup into bowls and add noodles to each bowl (if using). Garnish with thinly sliced green onions and lots of cilantro (if you like) and a few lime wedges.
- Store: Store leftover soup separately from the noodles. They’ll each keep in the fridge for up to 5 days in airtight containers. The noodles tend to soak up the broth, so I recommend storing separately when you can. This is a GREAT dish to take to work or school though. I often will make it the night before I go to work and take it for lunch the next day. I pack a lime wedge and some cilantro in a reusable stasher bag to add at work.
- Note 1: I’m not going to pretend this is authentic Thai food. That isn’t my culture and I wouldn’t want to separate Tom Kha Gai from Thai culture. I am SO inspired by the food in Thai culture that I wanted to try making a veganized version of what was one of my favorite Thai dishes from before I went vegan. So Tom Kha Kai or Tom Kha Gai (the full name of this soup) is a spicy and sour coconut soup usually including chicken. It originates in Thailand but apparently also Laos, which I didn’t know. Laotian versions often include dill which is interesting.
- Note 2: Thai chilies are pretty dang spicy. Use as much or as little according to your spice preferences. I only used a few because I’m not so good with spice, but I can do a little. I think my husband would have preferred more, hah! If you can’t find them, you can use peppers of your choice. Generally speaking with fresh peppers, the smaller the pepper, the more spicy it is.
- Note 3: I used Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base mixed with water here to give this soup a bit of chicken flavor, but it’s not absolutely necessary, it just tastes REALLY awesome. You could use a vegan chicken bouillon cube or prepared vegan chicken broth... or you could just use vegetable broth instead.
- Note 4: Don’t want to use tofu as your protein source in this vegan tom kha soup? Then don’t. Try soy curls, seitan, or even beans.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Entree, soup
- Method: Stove top
- Cuisine: Thai
Keywords: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Nut-Free, Can Be Sugar-Free, Vegan Tom Kha