There’s nothing better than a warm bowl of soup on a cool fall day… or so they tell me! I’m a Florida girl, so I have to pretend it’s a crisp, cool night. What I don’t have to pretend about is my love for this Thai Coconut Soup recipe, which is a vegan version of Tom Kha Gai. It’s warm, comforting, and I like to make a big recipe and share it with my friends.

I’ve made this soup more times than I can count and I never get tired of it. I love it so much that I included it in my new book, Simple Green Meals. Try this soup and if you love it, then share it with your friends!

Thai coconut soup with lime and cashew for toppings
Table of Contents
  1. How to Make Thai Coconut Soup
  2. Levels of Spice in Tom Kha Gai
  3. Storage Tips
  4. Buying the Right Coconut Milk
  5. Origins of Thai Coconut Soup
  6. Plant-Based Recipes to Share
  7. Thai Coconut Soup Recipe

How to Make Thai Coconut Soup

This is a great 1-pot meal as all the veggies cook right in the coconut milk. Because there is a bit of chopping in this recipe, I like to get that out of the way first. Chop the carrots, mushrooms, cashews, green onions and chili peppers as well as spiralize or chop the zucchini.

When heating up the coconut milk + curry paste mixture, don’t heat up too quickly. I use medium low to medium heat so as not to burn the liquid.

Add the carrots and mushrooms before the zucchini, and allow them to cook 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. It won’t take long for the zucchini to heat up and soften, so no need to keep it on the stove long (it will turn mushy).

Once the carrots are ready, then add in the zucchini and just heat for a minute or two (seriously, the zoodles don’t take long!).

You can make this Tom Kha Gai soup a day ahead of time too, and allow the flavors to meld overnight. If doing this, then add the zucchini during the reheating time to keep it fresh. Once you give this thai coconut soup recipe a go, leave a rating below and tell me how it turned out! My friends and family love this soup so much, I bring it to gatherings all winter long.

Tom Kha Gai can also be a vegan Thai coconut curry soup

Levels of Spice in Tom Kha Gai

I love a spicy kick, so this soup has one. Yet if spice isn’t your thing, then let’s make this Thai coconut soup work for you. First, the curry paste adds a lot of flavor. So instead of eliminating it altogether, try to use half the amount, or even a quarter.

If you like the crunch that peppers bring, but can’t handle chilis, then try first to remove the seeds (those are the hottest parts!). If it’s still too spicy, swap it out for a green bell pepper. All the crunch with none of the punch… see what I did there?

If you’re like me and crave a spicy soup, then go ahead and add in more curry paste! You can also top the soup with red pepper flakes.

Storage Tips

One reason I love soup is the ease of making a big batch then storing the extras for the future. Soups make quick + easy lunches or weeknight meals when you don’t wanna cook.

If you plan on freezing this soup, I recommend leaving out the zucchini noodles. They are super easy to add when you’re ready to reheat, and they often get slimy when frozen. I even freeze the toppings in a separate container, so they are chopped and ready to add when I pull it out again.

Make sure to store your Thai coconut soup in a freezer-safe bag or container. If using glass, leave room for it to expand. I’ve def had some glass mason jars burst in my freezer… and it’s not a fun mess to clean up.

Buying the Right Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is confusing to buy because it comes in many different packages! For this recipe, I recommend using canned coconut milk. The carton kind doesn’t contain the fat needed to make this recipe super silky creamy, which is what takes it over the top. I find the canned variety typically in the international section of the grocery store.

When choosing the right kind for you, decide if you want full fat or lite. I use full fat coconut milk in my thai coconut soup because it has the best flavor + creaminess. Then look at the ingredients. Companies like to add all kinds of crazy stuff to canned products that truly aren’t necessary! Look for limited ingredients that are pronounceable.

With the growing popularity of coconut milk, many stores are stocking more and more variety, which is awesome! Even Target has their own brand now. I typically buy Thai Kitchen, Trader Joe’s, or Thrive Market.

delicious Thai-inspired Tom Kha Gai recipe

Origins of Thai Coconut Soup

If you’re ordering this soup at a Thai restaurant, you’ll probably see names like Tom kha kai or Tom kha gai. Note that it typically has chicken in it, while my inspired recipe below is vegetarian. It comes from northern Thailand and is traditionally served with rice. To keep my version grain free, I use spiralized zucchini, or zoodles.

Common additions include fresh ginger, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves. Don’t hesitate to add these to your recipe; they are sure to taste amazing!

Plant-Based Recipes to Share

While you can def add cooked chicken to this recipe, it’s delicious without it! People tell me how hard it is to cook vegetarian, and I get it. I like creating recipes that don’t rely on meat for nutrition, then you can choose to add it or leave it out when you make it (and either is fine). Here are some of my family’s fav plant based dishes:

Food shouldn’t be boring, and it should be easily shared. Grab one of these recipes today and help your family try something new!

How to get your kids to try Tom Kha Gai

Two things help my kids try more foods: helping pick out ingredients and helping cook. As you can see from the video for this Thai coconut soup recipe, Clare was 100% on board to help make this soup. I chose age appropriate ways for her to help, and was okay with less than perfection in the kitchen as we cooked. This Tom Kha Gai soup has foods she traditionally shies away from… yet not when she helps make it!

I also let my kids join in when shopping for ingredients. Jackson loves trying exotic fruit and I’m all for it! He is turning into quite the chef nowadays, and my mama heart is bursting with happiness that he shares my love for good food. Plus, he makes great food and gives Ryan and me the night off cooking (win-win!).

4.52 from 448 votes

Thai Coconut Soup

This Thai Coconut Soup is one my favorite soups of all time because it's a vegan version of Tom Kha Gai. Silky smooth, flavor packed and also can be made spicy, which is my favorite.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Author: Jen Hansard
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Plant-Based, Thai-Inspired
Serves: 4


  • 7 cups coconut milk light or full-fat canned
  • ¼ cup Thai curry paste red or green
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 carrot very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms thinly sliced
  • 2 zucchini spiralized

For Serving

  • ¼ cup raw cashews chopped
  • ¼ cup green onions chopped
  • 1 serrano pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 lime cut into wedges


  • In a large saucepan, whisk together the coconut milk and curry paste.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the maple syrup and salt.
  • Add the carrots and mushrooms and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.
  • Add the zucchini noodles. Taste and add more salt, if needed.
  • Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with cashews, scallions, chile pepper, and lime wedges.
  • Serve immediately.



  • If zucchini ‘noodles’ aren’t your thing, then swap for brown rice or millet ramen
  • You can use a vegetable peeler to create zucchini strips if you don’t have a spiralizer.
  • Use full fat canned coconut milk for the richest flavor, use light canned coconut milk for less fat
  • The nutrition facts are based on full-fat canned coconut milk. Use light canned coconut milk for fewer calories and fat.
  • Omit the chili pepper and halve the amount of Thai curry paste for a less spicy meal


Calories: 397kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 24g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 605mg, Potassium: 485mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 5157IU, Vitamin C: 26mg, Calcium: 62mg, Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Show me!Mention @SimpleGreenSmoothies or tag #SimpleGreenSmoothies!

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  1. 3 stars
    I love ordering this type of soup at Thai restaurants, so I was really hoping to LOVE this recipe. Unfortunately, I thought it lacked complexity and with the amount of fat, it really needs to be a ‘stunner’ for me. It is a BEAUTIFUL soup – so colorful and bright. It was not nearly spicy enough for me ‘as written’ so I will definitely be adding more curry paste as I eat my way through this batch.

  2. 5 stars
    This is an aesthetic soup to me, and you know what they say, you eat with your eyes.
    I traded one of the zucchini zoodles for a handful of thin rice noodles.
    I topped this beauty with fresh Chinese cabbage and green onion tops from my garden, and Serrano chilies, and cashews, drizzled with fresh squeezed limes.
    Wow! That Thai Red Curry Paste is a game changer with all these other flavors!!
    Like you said, this is something I want to take to dinners with family and friends as well!!

  3. 4 stars
    Spicy, good, delicious . Carton coconut milk not scanned, no maple syrup,,no peppers, chili flakes, ran out of zucchini, tried using chaote squash neighbour gave me for the first time, peeled and diced, topped with almonds instead of cashews

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve never tried to make this type of soup before and it was so easy! A great change and an especially good summer soup.

  5. 4 stars
    This soup has such great flavor and was easy to make. I love the coconut flavor with the vegetables and will definitely make this again.

  6. 5 stars
    This was very good and the first time I have made a soup of this type. Very glad and will do again. Mine was a lot darker than the pictures – I think the portabella mushrooms were the cause of that. Extremely tasty and the mushrooms give it a meaty flavor.

  7. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! Loved the combination of mushroom and vegetables in the sweet creamy soup with a hint of spicy. The toppings were just perfect. Wouldn’t change a things!

    1. 4 stars
      Good soup. My husband is not fond of curry, so I went light on that. We do like Thai food. I am enjoying using my vitamix

  8. 5 stars
    Good Thai Coconut Soup! My first time making this style of soup and I’m not one for spicy so it’s on the mild side. Yummy!

  9. 5 stars
    Day 7 – The Thai Coconut Soup was a delicious change of pace. I loved the spice and the chance to bring out the spiralizer from the cupboard. It reminded me that I should use it more! This was my first time tasting Thai Coconut Soup. I’m so enjoying all these soup recipes. Soup never has to be boring and every recipe this week has been extraordinary. You are taking me to school!!!!

  10. 5 stars
    AMAZING! I thought I could only get food like this at a restaurant. So good!

  11. 4 stars
    Nice change from tomato based soups. I used shiitake mushrooms and added a bit more salt.

  12. 4 stars
    Really tasty! Nice coconut flavor with spicy undertones, the cashews in it are delicious.