Dear friends and fellow foodies,
As a chef, I am always excited to share with you my latest culinary creations. Today, I would like to introduce you to a delicious and hearty vegetarian version of the popular Thai soup – Tom Kha Tofu.
This soup is packed with fragrant herbs and spices, creamy coconut milk, and tender chunks of baked tofu that will warm your body and soul on even the coldest winter nights. Whether you are a vegan or not, this recipe will impress everyone with its exotic flavors and healthy ingredients.
I have spent years perfecting the balance of flavors in this soup and I am thrilled to finally share it with you. So, join me on a culinary journey to Thailand and let’s explore the magic of Tom Kha Tofu together.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you’re looking for a vegan recipe that is delicious, easy to make, and full of flavor, you’ll love this Vegetarian Tom Kha Tofu Recipe. I can assure you that this recipe is a taste of Thailand in a bowl. The blend of the ingredients creates an aromatic and savory soup with creamy coconut milk, zesty lime leaves, ginger and lemongrass flavors.
This recipe is perfect for people who want to try something new but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. It’s an easy-to-follow recipe that requires only 30-35 minutes from start to finish! It’s also adaptable as it comes with substitution options allowing you to swap out some ingredients depending on your preference or dietary requirements.
Furthermore, the protein-rich baked tofu and the fresh vegetables such as red bell pepper, Zucchini, and broccoli florets make it a refreshing and healthy choice that will leave you satisfied without feeling too heavy.
Lastly, this soup has been adapted from the classic Tom Kha Gai soup recipe, which is so beloved by many people around the world. So why not try this vegetarian version? You’ll be surprised how amazing it tastes.
If you are still not convinced about giving it a try, try asking your friends who have tasted it before. They will most likely agree with me that this delicious soup should join your list of favourites recipes.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this vegetarian Tom Kha Tofu recipe:
- 1 (14 oz) can of light coconut milk
- 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, smashed and cut into 3-inch pieces
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 red bell peppers, sliced into thin strips
- 1 small zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
- Broccoli florets from c. ½ head broccoli
- Ginger, sliced in about 2 inches
- 4 to 5 kaffir lime leaves + more for garnish (optional)
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
- Salt to taste
Tofu and mushrooms:
- 16 oz firm tofu, drained and baked*
- Shiitake mushrooms, about 4 cups sliced
For serving (optional)
- Sliced lime wedges
- Fresh cilantro leaves
*To bake the tofu, preheat oven to 400°F. Cut tofu block into cubes/slices and place it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Bake for around twenty-five minutes or until slightly golden brown in color on the outside.
These ingredients are available at your local grocery store or Asian market that sells Thai ingredients. It is helpful to be prepared before cooking by gathering all the needed ingredients in one place as directed in the instructions section.
The Recipe How-To
Now comes the most exciting part – cooking! I will guide you step-by-step in making this delicious Vegetarian Tom Kha Tofu soup. Good news is that everything can come together easily in under an hour.
- 1 baked tofu, diced into small cubes
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
- 1 zucchini, quartered and sliced
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 2 stalks lemongrass, smashed and cut into 3 inch pieces
- zest of 1 lemon
- 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 cans of light coconut milk
- 2 tbsp tamari
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 2 tsp dark brown sugar
- 5 kaffir lime leaves, torn into small pieces
Start by heating up a large pot over medium heat. Add a splash of oil to this and wait till it heats up. Next add sliced onions, sliced red pepper and stir for about two minutes until the vegetables are soft and fragrant.
Add two tablespoons of finely chopped ginger, the lemongrass and the lime leaves together with their torn pieces. Stir these ingredients around and allow them to simmer for about another minute or so.
Add in a small pinch of salt, stir for another minute before adding three cups of vegetable broth. Bring everything to a boil and let it simmer for approximately fifteen minutes until the flavours are well infused.
Once the broth has reduced by about one-third, add the cubed baked tofu along with quartered/sliced zucchini and two cups of broccoli florets. Continue to cook until these vegetables become tender, which should take about ten to twelve minutes.
Drop in one tablespoon of mirin, two teaspoons of dark brown sugar, tamari, two cans of light coconut milk, as well as freshly grated galangal (or ginger).
Go on to lower your heat intensity and maintain your soup at a gentle simmer (medium-low heat) for another few minutes so that all ingredients have been properly cooked through without boiling further.
Turn off the heat source, ladle out some soup generously into each bowl while still hot and enjoy your homemade Vegetarian Tom Kha Tofu soup hot off the stove!
Baked tofu is a great protein source but could be swapped with other proteins like canned chickpeas or even boiled potatoes.
Storing this soup may not yield perfect results given that vegan soups often split when heated again after being frozen or refrigerated; however, storing it without added noodles can lead to better results.
If lemongrass isn’t available in your local grocery store or supermarket Jessamine rice sticks could be used as an alternative.
If you don’t
Substitutions and Variations
Dear reader, if you’re feeling adventurous and would like to switch up the ingredients, I’ve got some suggestions for you to experiment with. Don’t be afraid to put your own spin on things!
– Protein changes: Instead of tofu, you could use tempeh or seitan for a different texture and flavor. For a non-vegan option, chicken or shrimp could also work.
– Veggie swaps: If you don’t have zucchini or red bell pepper on hand, you could substitute with sweet potato, green beans, or even baby corn. Any vegetable with a bit of crunch will do wonders in this recipe.
– Broth options: I recommend using a low-sodium vegetable broth for this recipe, but if you’re feeling bold, try using Tom Yum or Kha Gai broth instead for a spicier kick.
– Coconut milk choices: The light coconut milk recommended in this recipe provides a nice balance of creaminess and lightness, but feel free to use full-fat coconut milk if you want something richer. You could also use unsweetened coconut cream for an even thicker texture.
– Spice adjustments: If you prefer a milder soup, reduce the amount of ginger and lemongrass used. Likewise, if you really want to bring the heat, add some sliced Thai chilis to the soup while it’s cooking.
Remember when making these substitutions and variations that they could affect the overall taste and texture of the dish. Have fun experimenting and discovering new flavor combinations that suit your palate.
Serving and Pairing
Once your tom kha tofu is ready, it’s best served hot with some steaming jasmine rice or noodles on the side. A simple garnish of chopped cilantro over the soup will add a burst of fresh flavor and balance the spices.
If you desire a heartier meal, you can also add some crispy baked tofu cubes on top of your tom kha tofu for extra protein and texture. Sprinkle some green onions and toasted sesame seeds to enhance the flavor even more.
To complete the experience, consider pairing this delicious vegan tom kha tofu soup with a refreshing cold beverage like Thai iced tea or lemongrass iced tea. However, a chilled beer could also be an excellent complement to this spicy dish.
Alternatively, if you want to indulge in something sweet, a light dessert such as mango sticky rice or coconut tapioca pudding can be a perfect way to round up your meal.
Regardless of what you choose, this flavorful vegetarian tom kha tofu recipe is sure to satisfy your taste buds while leaving you feeling fulfilled and nourished.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
My dearest readers, it is always a pleasure to create recipes that are versatile and easy to store for future use. This vegetarian tom kha tofu recipe is no exception! Allow me to guide you through the storage instructions, so you can enjoy this dish at any time.
To make ahead of time, prepare the soup as instructed and let it cool down to room temperature. Store the soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. When ready to eat, gently reheat the soup on the stove over medium heat until it’s warmed through.
For longer-term storage, you can freeze the soup for up to two months. Place the cooled soup in a freezer-safe container with an inch of space left at the top for expansion. Thaw the soup overnight in the refrigerator or on low heat in a pot.
When it comes to reheating leftovers, be cautious when working with tofu as it can become rubbery when overheated. Use a low flame on the stovetop or microwave using small increments of time (15-20 seconds) until heated throughout.
To refresh the soup’s flavor when reheating, add extra herbs like cilantro or basil and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Remember: always store cooked tofu separately from liquids to maintain its texture and flavor.
With these storing tips, my dear readers, you can conveniently enjoy your homemade vegetarian tom kha tofu anytime without sacrificing taste or quality.
Tips for Perfect Results
Here are some tips and tricks to ensure perfect results for your vegetarian Tom Kha tofu recipe:
First, make sure to use firm tofu. This type of tofu holds its shape better than softer varieties and will not break down in the soup. Pressing the tofu beforehand to remove excess water will also help it absorb more flavor from the soup.
When handling ingredients like lemongrass and galangal ginger, it’s important to smash or grate them finely to release their flavors. Using a small food processor or blender can make this process much easier.
Be sure not to overcook the vegetables. The zucchini and broccoli should be tender but still have a slight crunch. Overcooking them can result in a mushy texture.
When adding the coconut milk, stir it gently and do not let it boil. Too much heat can cause the milk to curdle, ruining the texture of your soup.
If you cannot find kaffir lime leaves, try using lime zest instead. While it won’t be exactly the same, it will add a similar citrus flavor to the soup.
Lastly, be cautious when adding additional seasonings like soy sauce or tamari, as they can quickly overpower the delicate flavors of the soup. Start with small amounts and taste as you go until you reach your desired flavor profile.
As much as I want this recipe journey to give you a smooth sailing cooking experience, some questions might still pop up along the way. Here are the frequently asked questions with brief yet informative answers. Read on and let’s address whatever concerns you may have.
What is the difference between Tom Yum and tom kha?
When it comes to Thai soup dishes, there are two popular options: Tom Kha Gai and Tom Yum. Tom Kha Gai is a soothing blend of tender chicken and coconut milk, while Tom Yum is a hot and sour broth with shrimp. I typically reach for Tom Kha Gai when I want something cozy and comforting, and Tom Yum when I’m in the mood for a zesty, invigorating soup.
Which is healthier tom kha or tom yum?
If you’re looking for a delicious and nutritious soup option, you might want to give tom yum a try. This flavorful soup is made with fragrant lemongrass, shrimp, veggies, and other spices. Best of all, it’s incredibly low in calories, with each cup containing under 100 calories. When compared to coconut milk-based soups like tom kha, tom yum and other broths that incorporate tofu-vegetables or wonton remain an ideal option as they are generally lighter and more low-calorie.
Is tom kha good for you?
Tom Kha soup boasts numerous health benefits. This tasty soup is free from gluten and dairy while being low in carbohydrates. While the coconut milk used in the recipe may contain additional calories, the good news is that it is a plant-based ingredient rich in beneficial fats that are essential for our body’s well-being.
What goes well with tom kha?
For a complete meal experience, I suggest enjoying the delicious tom kha gai paired with sides of fragrant jasmine rice, refreshing green papaya salad, and savory makheua yao pad tao jiao (stir-fried eggplant).
In conclusion, this vegetarian tom kha tofu recipe is a delicious and healthy option for those who love Thai cuisine but want to avoid meat. With the combination of flavorful ingredients such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and ginger, this vegan tom kha soup will satisfy your cravings and warm your soul.
By making simple substitutions and variations like using different vegetables or adding more spice, you can make this recipe your own. Serve it with rice or noodles for a complete meal, and pair it with a refreshing drink like iced tea or coconut water.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things with this versatile dish. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or just starting out in the kitchen, this recipe is easy to follow and will yield impressive results. So go ahead and give it a try! Your taste buds will thank you for it.
Vegetarian Tom Kha Tofu Recipe
- 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
- 2 stalks lemongrass, smashed and cut into 3-inch pieces (or zest of 1 lemon)
- 2 inches piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets, I also like asparagus instead of broccoli
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into discs
- 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or 2 tablespoons tamari
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon mirin (optional)
- 6 fresh kaffir lime leaves (or zest of 1 lime)
- 8 ounces baked tofu, cubed
- Bring vegetable broth and coconut milk to boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add lemongrass and ginger, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 10 minutes.
- Strain broth through mesh strainer into bowl. Discard lemongrass and ginger, and return liquid to saucepan.
- Add broccoli, zucchini, bell pepper, soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, and lime leaves to broth. Bring to a simmer, cook 10 minutes.
- Remove lime leaves, and add tofu. Cook 2-3 minutes more, until tofu is heated through.
Add Your Own Notes
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Jolo is a talented chef and food blogger with a passion for vegan and Caribbean flavors. From savory vegetarian dishes to tropical smoothies, Jolo’s Kitchen has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for meat-free meals or creative Caribbean recipes, Jolo’s Kitchen is the perfect place for you.