Easy vegetarian Thai green curry recipe is made without tofu. Instead, it is chocked full of bright and beautiful veggies. We are using butternut squash, green beans, plus all the classic Thai green curry flavors for a delicious weeknight dinner that takes less than 30 minutes.
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While we aren't vegetarian in this house, we do meatless Mondays and try to mix as many plant-based recipes as we can. My summer favorites are eggplant rollatini and cauliflower steaks. And this Thai green curry with vegetables is my fall and winter favorite. It is filling and cozy.
📖Why This Recipe Works
Traditional Thai green curry paste is filled with galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, and green chilies. We are skipping a step and using store-bought paste so we can make this recipe in less than 30 minutes and in one pan. It is the most flavorful of all my weeknight dinners.
The bright green curry paste completely transforms the butternut squash. A vegetable I typically think of as being a fall flavor, it is bright like a ray of sunshine when combined with the Thai curry paste.
To make this recipe we saute the vegetables to speed up the cooking, adding the paste to bring out the flavors before adding the coconut milk to make the green curry sauce. Then it is hands-off while your dinner simmers to perfection.
Also, this recipe is technically a vegan Thai green curry so that is pretty great too!
🧾Thai Green Curry Ingredients
Thai Green Curry Paste- I typically use pre-made jarred curry paste but you can make your own green curry paste from scratch if you are feeling adventurous. One thing to note is that most Thai curries are made with non-vegetarian ingredients including shrimp paste and fish sauce.
For a pre-made option, I prefer Thai Kitchen because it is easy to find, vegetarian, and gluten-free. If you want to add a stronger umami flavor add 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari to your paste.
Onions- The base of any great curry recipe.
Coconut Oil- Use any light oil like avocado oil or coconut.
Ginger- Freshly grated ginger. Yes, there is some in the curry paste but a little more is always a good thing.
Coconut Sugar- Traditional Thai green curry has sugar but we reduce the amount and substituted coconut sugar for refined white sugar. You can use either and adjust the sweetness to taste.
Full-Fat Coconut Milk- You will need one full 15 oz can. Use full fat, not light or coconut cream.
Lime- I prefer to use fresh lime juice but bottled lime works in a pinch.
Jalapeno, Fresh Herbs, and Lime Wedges- For garnish, this is such a pretty dish the garnishes add another layer of flavor. For fresh herbs, you can use Thai basil or cilantro.
Veggies- It would be vegetarian curry without the veggies. You can use any veggies you like but I recommend one main starchy veggie and 2 to 3 complimentary veggies.
For this recipe, I went with butternut squash paired with bell peppers and thin green beans. I always suggest you start with the base recipe to get a feel for the recipe and then the next time you make vegetarian green curry
What Vegetables go with Green Curry?
The list is endless but here are a few ideas. Cooking times may change if you choose different vegetables. But my basic formula is to start with either tofu or a starchy squash. Then layer on two to three lighter vegetables.
Starchy squash options include:
- Butternut squash
- Delicata squash
- Acorn Squash
- Sweet Potato
- Bell peppers, any color
- Bamboo shoots
- Green beans or Chinese long beans (if you can find them)
- Sugar snap peas, snow peas, or spring peas
- Baby corn
- Eggplants (use a smaller variety)
- Chinese broccoli
- Mung bean sprouts
⏲️How to Make Vegetarian Thai Green Curry
Step 1: Prep the Butternut Squash
Peel the squash by lying it down on a flat surface, hold with one hand, and press firmly with the peeler. Peel in long strips. The skin of butternut squash can be hard to peel.
Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Trim off the ends and cube the squash into 1 ½ inch cubes.
Step 2: Saute the Vegetables
You will want to use a large very large skillet for this recipe. Start by heating your oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onions until they are soft. This typically takes 5-ish minutes. Add the ginger, squash, and diced red pepper. Do not add the green beans!
After sauteing for a few minutes you are going to add the curry paste. Stir your vegetables to ensure each piece is coated with the aromatic paste.
Sauteeing it for a few minutes will toast the prices and heat the oils in the aromatics which is how curry paste releases its flavor.
Step 3: Simmer
Add the full fat coconut milk, sugar, lime juice, and water. If you have extra lime zest feel free to throw that in too. Simmer until the squash is easily pierced with a fork but not falling apart.
I you are using frozen green beans cook until warmed through. For fresh green beans, I suggest you cut them on a bias and add when there are about 3 minutes left in the cooking time.
Serve your vegetarian Thai green curry over white or brown rice with lime wedges, sliced hot peppers, and fresh herbs.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tip
The recipe comes together very quickly. Prep all your ingredients before getting started. This is called "mis en place".
More Vegetarian Dinner Recipes
Your leftover green curry can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days, making it a convenient option for meal prepping.
If you're preparing this Thai curry specifically for meal prep, you can cook the squash slightly underdone, for about 14 minutes, to maintain its texture when reheating.
Simply reheat single portions in the microwave for 3 to 4 minutes until warmed through, and you'll have a delicious and satisfying meal ready in no time.
This recipe can also be reheated on the stovetop.
I do not recommend freezing this curry as the sauce will separate.
💭 Frequently Asked Questions
While Thai red curry paste has a very different flavor profile you can use this recipe as a base for a red curry recipe.
Tahi green curry can range in spiciness, and the level of heat can be adjusted to your tastes. You can make it milder by using less curry paste or make it spicier, add fresh chili peppers. It's all about finding the right balance of flavors for your taste.
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Vegetarian Thai Green Curry
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 medium white onion ¼-inch dice
- 4-5 cups butternut squash about 1 medium squash, peel and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch strips
- 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger grated
- 3 Tablespoons green curry paste
- 1 15 oz can full-fat coconut milk canned
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
- 1 lime juiced
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup green beans thinner French style perfere
- jalapeno, cilantro, lime wedges for garnish
- In a large pan heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft, 4-6 minutes.2 Tablespoons coconut oil, 1 medium white onion
- Add ginger, squash, and bell pepper. Saute for 3 minutes.4-5 cups butternut squash, 1 red bell pepper,, 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger
- Stir in curry paste sauteing for 2 minutes.3 Tablespoons green curry paste
- Add sugar, coconut milk, lime juice, and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the squash is fork-tender.1 teaspoon coconut sugar, 1 15 oz can full-fat coconut milk, 1 lime, ¼ cup water
- Stir in green beans and heat until warmed through. Salt to taste. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro, lime wedges, and jalapeno slices.1 cup green beans, jalapeno, cilantro, lime wedges
- You can use fresh or frozen green beans in this recipe.
- Leftover curry can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- To make green for meal prep cook until squash is slightly underdone. About 14 minutes. Reheat single portions in the microwave for 3 to 4 minutes.