Sunday, June 28, 2009

Thai Fresh Green Curry (Vegan)

Yesterday I was standing in my kitchen at 5pm, with four hungry children underfoot, wondering what to make for dinner. I made the usual rounds to the pantry, fridge, and garden. Something spicy, green, and with noodles was brewing in my mind. A green curry sauce, over noodles, with tempeh, broccoli, spinach and zucchini. Hmm, and how about roasted cashews too.

Every now and then I make a simple Thai Green Curry Sauce. Yesterday evening I took note of the ingredient amounts to be able to share it with you.

If you are one who feels intimidated by cooking Thai food then this recipe is perfect to begin with. The sauce is so flavorful while being very easy and quick to prepare. You'll probably find yourself making this over and over again.

Once the sauce is made, you can do quite a bit with it. Last night I served it over Thai rice noodles, sauteed tempeh, broccoli, spinach, and zucchini. I garnished the dish with freshly roasted cashews. (I sauteed the tempeh in a separate pan and kept half of the dish sans soy for those in our house who do not eat it).

Fresh Thai Green Curry Sauce

This delicious Thai style sauce can be made in about 20 minutes from start to finish. I didn't have any jalapeno peppers on hand and so used crushed red chili flakes this time. It tasted just as good as usual! Saute the veggies over medium-high heat for a few minutes (starting with the veggies that take the longest to cook) and then add a little water and cover to finish the cooking by steaming. You can then pour the sauce over your stir-fry.

2 handfuls fresh cilantro (leaves and stems)
2 small shallots
4 cloves garlic
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers or green Thai chili peppers, seeded (or 1 to 2 teaspoons crushed red chili flakes)
1-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1 to 2 teaspoons agave nectar or coconut sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
1 can full fat coconut milk

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a small pot and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, uncovered. Use the ideas below to create a meal. Enjoy!! :)

Here are a few more ideas for using the sauce:
  • Quickly saute a variety of fresh veggies and then pour the sauce over them and simmer until cooked but still crisp.
  • Sauté chunks of fish, such as halibut, and spinach. Serve the sauce over the fish and spinach on a bed of rice or quinoa.
  • Simmer a fillet of salmon (skin removed) in the sauce.
  • Sauté cubed tofu, onions, zucchini, carrots, snow peas and then add to the simmering sauce.
  • Serve over bean thread noodles, rice, or quinoa.
  • Sauté chunks of chicken breast and your favorite veggies then add the sauce and simmer until cooked. Garnish with thinly sliced basil leaves.

If you have any other ideas please share, thanks! :)

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Mmmmmmmmmmm, that looks awesome! I'm always looking for things to do with extra cilantro. It's a challenge for only 2 people to eat through an entire bunch while it's still fresh. Thanks!

  2. This might be yummy with basil instead of cilantro. Hmmmm.....

  3. This sounds so easy and delicious! We love curries but are tired of the same old yellow curry powder I have. We were just talking about how to make different curries without those processed pastes they sell at the store, duh- just blend everything up yourself! I don't know why that didn't occur to me?!
    So glad I waited till today to meal plan for the week, this is going on the calendar! Yum!! :-)

  4. Thanks Ali, really, this looks fantastic. We'll be making this recipe tonight!

  5. Katrina - yes, I think basil might work too, maybe in a smaller amount though?

    CoconutGal - This is a simple curry - but so flavorful and easy to make, I am sure you guys will enjoy it! Thanks :)

    David - Thanks! It is another vegan meal for you, I am sure you guys will have fun with this one! :)

  6. Ali,

    I LOVE this post and have already copied, pasted and saved the recipe for later use. I had curry for lunch today, so it's on my mind. I love it and have most of your ingredients on hand. This might be tomorrow night's dinner. :-)

    You always come up with things I like! Thanks, Ali.

    Gosh, I remember those days of having 4 hungry kids wondering what's for dinner. Whew, it's not easy.

    Here's sending you good energy!

  7. You never cease to amaze me! If it was 5pm with 4 hungry kids, I could not have been this creative! This looks great, plus I have these ingredients in my garden and pantry!
    Thanks again!

  8. You know I've never been a fan of curry, but you might change my mind. That dish looks very appealing. You've already convinced me on the green smoothies and nobody could have ever predicted that. And hey, this green curry is almost the exact same color! ;-)


  9. I have to admit when I saw green curry I was thinking, not for me. That's because I had no idea what went into the sauce or how to use it. After reading this I'm definitely going to give it a try. Some of the ingredients are in my garden and the rest in the house. I can't wait to taste it. How well does this sauce freeze? I'd like to make it as I harvest the cilantro and peppers and keep it for later. Thank you for sharing this on Friday Foodie Fix!

  10. Melissa - Thanks, hope you enjoy! It was very easy and quick to make and kids were all so patient while I cooked. They know the routine! :)

    Deb - This is usually when I get creative - when the need arises with what is available and of course, hunger! :)

    Shirley - Thanks, I bet you would enjoy this. Glad to hear you are a fan of the smoothies now, aren't they yummy! :)

    Diane - I love your Friday Foodie Fix, I just don't always have posts readily available with the ingredient of the week, in time as this blog grows, I will! :)

    -Ali :)

  11. Thanks so much Ali! I love this recipe! We made it for dinner last night and I almost stuffed myself full - it was so good I wanted to keep on eating it. The flavors of the sauce remind me of the Thai soup Tom Ka. I might just try thinning it out with a little water, adding some more coconut milk and veggies on a cold winter day. This recipe is definitely going to be a regular in our kitchen!

  12. How about spinach for cilantro:-)

    I will try and let you know how it goes

  13. I made this the other night and it was delicious. Very fresh and light. Though next time I will try to reduce it even more. Even without adding extra water and in using whole-fat coconut milk, it was too thin for my tastes. This week, we'll be making fresh spring rolls and dipping them in this curry sauce. I can't wait. Thanks for the great ideas and for inspiring me to make healthier choices for my family and me. Blow Bellingham a big smooch for me. We miss it dearly and can't wait to move back.

  14. Awesome recipe! We all loved it (one year old included). Definitely will use 2 jalapeños next time. Hubby said, "Um, we could eat this like every week." Agreed :) Thanks for what you do!

  15. please don't use agave nectar. do the research. it's really BAD!!

  16. How many people does this recipe serve?

  17. Oh man, I just made this. It's delicious!! Thanks!

  18. This is one of my favorites. I make it often! Sometimes I add even more veggies to the saute, starting with broccoli and zucchini, adding chopped kale, scallions and mushrooms. I've substituted proteins, sustainable white fish or local farm-raised chicken for tempeh (though the tempeh is great too!). Every time, it's a winner. I'm planning a month-long backpack trip this summer, and have even chopped it finely and dehydrated it to add some great flavor to the normal backpacking fare, to serve over brown rice noodles. I'm expecting it to be one of the highlight meals of the many good flavors with the ginger, garlic, cilantro, lime zest and tons of veggies. Hooray for flavorful food!


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)