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!).

4.51 from 452 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. 4 stars
    I’m not a big coconut milk fan but this was good, easy and flavorful. I forgot to buy a serrano pepper and I think it was missing the spice to me so when I make it again, I’m going to make it spicy.

  2. 5 stars
    Soup is excellent! Quick to prepare especially after prepping vegetables. I made three times the batch as I enjoyed this soup as I love coconut. In addition to zucchini, carrots, and mushrooms, I had a cauliflower. I used two cans of coconut cream and 10 cans of coconut milk. I wished I had added more carrots and additional Cremini and shiitake mushrooms. The addition of chopped cashews, scallions and peppers was wonderful. I added spinach to a warm up of the soup today and it is so good. This is the best soup ever!

    1. Your adjustments sound great, Janie! So glad you like this one!

  3. 5 stars
    This is my favorite so far. Loved the creamy richness the coconut milk provided. Also. the flavors and the spice from the Serrano pepper. This one is a keeper.

    1. This one is definitely our most different recipe in the Soup Challenge. Glad it was a hit!

  4. 5 stars
    Creamy & delicious! Due to the high fat content of coconut milk, I guess it’s good for being as a once-in-a-while treat!

    1. If you’re wanting less fat, try swapping for light canned coconut milk!

  5. 5 stars
    Yummy! I used one can of coconut milk and one carton – trying to cut down the fat in the canned. And, I used the zucchini noodles AND ramen and I cooked the ramen right in the soup. I thought the starch coming off the noodles would thicken up the soup since I used a carton. Worked perfectly! I think I’d add more veggies in next time. Any time I can incorporate more veggies in something, it’s a win.

    1. Love reading about your own spin on this one, Kelly! Way to rawk!

  6. 5 stars
    OMG! This is my favorite so far. Absolutely delicious. I had red and yellow sweet peppers that were going to go to waste, so I did add them. Looked and tasted like my favorite Thai restaurant curry. Will be making this often.

    1. Hi Carol! So glad you love this one, love your idea of adding the sweet peppers!

  7. 5 stars
    Love this soup! It is the perfect blend of flavors! I will definitely make this again!

    1. Hi Becky! Glad you love this one enough to make it again!

    1. This one is definitely a great soup when you want something different. Glad you enjoyed it, Ingrid!

  8. 5 stars
    Day 7 was fantastic! We LOVED this one. So much flavor and so easy to create what’s not to love. I’ll have to keep coconut milk well stocked in my pantry. A wonderful winter soup when it gets cold outside.

    1. Hi K.B.! You hit the nail on the head, easy to make and great flavor… it’s a win-win!

  9. 5 stars
    Loved this soup! Just enough spice for my husband to enjoy but not too much for me to enjoy! I found sesame honey cashews at Trader Joe’s that I used as one of the toppings and it brought the soup to another level!

    1. Hi Caitlin! The sesame honey cashews were probably amazingggg in this recipe! I’ll have to give that a try next time.

  10. 1 star
    This recipe is useless there are so many adds embedded in it that it is difficult to read/or print. It will never be made in my kitchen unless it is made more user friendly.

    1. Hi Dori! Thanks for the feedback! If you click “Jump to Recipe” it will take you straight down to the recipe, no scrolling past ads needed.

  11. 5 stars
    This soup was so simple, but oh so good. I followed the recipe, with the exception I put the zucchini noodles in my bowl as I had spiralized them thin. The hot milk softened them just enough to leave the noodles with a little crunch. Can’t wait for the left over tomorrow.