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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Tofu Yellow Curry with Vegetables (A Vegan Thai Recipe!)

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This Tofu Yellow Curry with Veggies and Cashews is a vegetarian and vegan friendly makeover of the classic Thai Yellow Curry you’ll find on the menu at your favorite Thai restaurant. It’s lighter, healthier, yet still restaurant quality!

Tofu Yellow Curry with Veggies and Cashews served in a grey bowl with white rice

Yellow Curry is one of my favorite dishes to order in Thai cuisine. It has the perfect balance of spicy, savory and slightly sweet – thanks to the rich coconut milk curry the vegetables and tofu are cooked in.

But, most of the time when we’re ordering Thai food, I don’t order curry dishes. That’s because the restaurant version is pretty heavy on the coconut milk/coconut cream and oil.

It became my mission to makeover Tofu Yellow Curry in our kitchen – making it healthier but still an authentic recipe packed with delicious curry flavors!

Latest Recipe Video!

The spices and the creaminess of the light coconut milk are really the ingredients that make this dish. I’m a huge fan of cashews as well – their crunchiness and slight sweetness are absolutely perfect in this curry.

Once you have a bowl of this curry, you may never want to go back to takeout again – it’s that good!

And the best thing about this recipe: it tastes even better the next day because the flavors just have more time to blend together!

Tofu Yellow Curry with Veggies and Cashews served in a grey bowl with white rice

Why This Recipe Works

  • A healthy version of the classic Thai dish
  • Full of nutritious fresh veggies for excellent texture
  • Super flavorful and creamy without the need for cream or tons of oil
  • A complimentary combination of spices that gives it just the right amount of kick
  • Simple enough to make for a weeknight dinner
  • Kid-Approved

How to Make Tofu Yellow Curry

Ingredients and Notes

ingredients for tofu yellow curry

Coconut Milk: Most Thai dishes use coconut milk to create their creamy base. This easy recipe calls for light coconut milk to reduce the overall fat and calories.

Curry Powder: This ingredient gives this thai curry recipe it’s distinct yellow color. Use a high quality yellow curry powder. I like the one from Simply Organic. I have found the combination of yellow curry powder, coconut milk, onions and salt to be a much more flavorful base for the sauce than mixing pre-made yellow curry paste or red curry paste with coconut milk to make the yellow curry sauce.

Red Onion and Garlic: No Thai dish would be complete without the use of onion and garlic. It adds tons of flavor when sautéd. Finely dice the onion, and mince the garlic.

Extra Firm Tofu: Drain, and gently press the tofu to extract any excess water. Then cut the tofu into small cubes. This recipe doesn’t call for crispy tofu or fried tofu, since the tofu holds up its texture pretty well after being pressed. However, if you want crispy tofu, you can always pan fry it in olive oil before adding it to the curry sauce.

Vegetables: I added tons of vegetables to this dish to give it a great texture and also add needed vitamins and minerals. I used fresh broccoli chopped into florets, one pound of asparagus, sliced yellow bell pepper. You could use any type of bell pepper – red peppers or orange peppers would both work well.

Cashews: The addition of cashews adds crunch, nuttiness, and a decadence to this dish. Toast and chop your cashews for the best flavor.

Cilantro: A handful of cilantro loosely chopped adds a fresh herbal flavor, and a nice pop of green to this delicious recipe.

Spices: You’ll need a pinch of cayenne (or more, if you like things spicy) otherwise you can leave it out. The other spices you’ll need include ground cumin and black pepper to taste. For even more spice, try a little bit of red pepper flakes.

Brown Rice: Serve over steamed brown rice. I like brown rice better than white jasmine rice because it has more whole grains and fiber and still tastes great!

Equipment Needed

Step by Step Instructions

Prep Your Ingredients, Saute The Onion: Cut all your veggies. Saute the onion and 2 cloves chopped garlic in 1/2 tsp olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tbsp curry powder and salt and stir until combined.

onions and spices sauteeing in a pot

Add Coconut Milk: Add the coconut milk to the onion mixture, whisk to work out any clumps. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, cook for 5 minutes.

onions and coconut milk cooking in a pot

Add Tofu: Stir in the tofu and cook for a few minutes until the tofu has absorbed most of the flavors. Simmer the liquid on low heat until it has cooked down slightly – about 5 minutes.

tofu and coconut milk and spices cooking in a pot

Cook The Veggies: Meanwhile, in a large pan, saute the broccoli, asparagus, and pepper (or whatever veggies you use) with 2 cloves chopped garlic over medium heat. Add salt, cayenne, and remaining curry power/cumin and other spices to taste. Cook until veggies are crisp.

veggies sauteeing in a pan

Combine Into One Pot: Pour tofu/coconut milk mixture over veggies (in the pan) and stir to combine.

veggies cooking in a pot

Season to Taste: Add additional spices as needed. Cook through for a few minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cashews. 

cashews and tofu added to pot

Garnish and Serve! Top with fresh cilantro. Serve with rice.

Tofu Yellow Curry with Veggies and Cashews served in a grey bowl with white rice

What Makes This Tofu Yellow Curry Healthy?

Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: This dish is full of vitamins and minerals thanks to the hearty vegetables. Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C, asparagus is high in vitamin A, and B6, while yellow peppers are high in vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.

Lower in Calories: Whereas the standard Thai Yellow Curry can run you over 500 calories per serving, this version using less oil and light coconut milk comes in at 207 calories.

High in Fiber and Protein: This simple recipe has plenty of vegetables which provide you with 7 grams of fiber per serving. That’s 25% of your recommended daily intake. Adding fiber to your meals helps you feel full and satiated, as well as improves digestion. You’ll also find 16 grams of plant protein in each serving, thanks to the tofu and cashews!

Recipe FAQs

Is yellow Thai curry vegan?

When made with tofu, tempeh, chickpeas, or other beans, yes, yellow Thai curry is vegan. However, it is also frequently made with chicken, or seafood, and sometimes has fish sauce added. If ordering from a restaurant ask what the ingredients are to be sure that it is vegan friendly. This recipe is 100% vegan.

What vegetables do you put in Thai yellow curry?

You can put any vegetables you like in Thai yellow curry. Traditional versions may include potatoes, and onions. Add fresh green herbs, and any other vegetables you like.

Is Thai yellow curry spicy?

Yes, it can be spicy depending on how much cayenne is added. However, traditionally it is more of a mild flavored dish.

How do you serve tofu yellow curry?

Serve over rice of your choice. I prefer to serve my curry over brown rice or quinoa for the added fiber and nutrients. Top with fresh chopped cilantro.

Is this recipe kid-friendly?

Thai curries in general can be pretty kid friendly if you adjust the spice level down (don’t use any “hot” spices like cayenne and reduce the overall quantity of spices), and if you chop up the veggies into small, kid-sized pieces.
If you have an especially picky eater on your hands, I recommend mincing the veggies super small so they kind of disappear into the broth and rice, and use your child’s favorite protein as the star of the dish (which may be tofu, but if not, just use their favorite protein!)

Tofu Yellow Curry with Veggies and Cashews served in a grey bowl with white rice

Variations and Substitutions

Use Different Vegetables: Feel free to use your favorite vegetables in this dish, or whatever you have in the refrigerator that needs to be used. Some favorites include red bell pepper, green, or yellow bell peppers, russet potato, red cabbage, snap peas, green peas, bamboo shoots, green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, turnips, parsnips, cauliflower, spinach and kale.

Sub Different Proteins: If you are not a fan of tofu, feel free to use a different lean protein, such as tempeh, chickpeas, or chicken if you’re making this for meat-eaters.

Experiment with the Spices: You’ll definitely need to add the yellow curry powder to this recipe to keep it authentic, but feel free to add more or less of the other spices. 1-2 teaspoons of minced fresh ginger would be a nice twist to add to this dish. You can also experiment with added sweetness by adding 1-2 teaspoons of coconut sugar or brown sugar. Other spices to try include: soy sauce instead of salt, turmeric powder (about 1 teaspoon should be enough), fresh basil leaves and/or lime wedges (for a garnish).

For More Decadence: Use a can of full fat coconut milk instead of light coconut milk. Keep in mind this will change the nutrition information of this dish!

How to Store and Keep

Store: Allow the curry to cool completely. Then transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Freeze: Allow to cool completely. Transfer to a freezer safe container. Be sure all air has been removed from the container to prevent freezer burn. Label with the contents and date. Freeze for 2-3 months.

Reheat: When ready to reheat, transfer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight. When ready to serve, transfer to a saucepan. Heat on low, stirring consistently until warmed through. Serve with brown rice.

Expert Tips for the Best Tofu Yellow Curry

  • Cut your veggies the same size for even cooking.
  • Be sure to drain and press your tofu before cubing and adding to the dish. The extra water from the tofu can cause the curry sauce to become too thin.
  • Adjust the cayenne to fit your spice preference.
  • If you choose to freeze this and reheat it later, keep in mind that tofu will change in texture once it’s frozen and reheated (it’s still completely fine to eat though!)
Tofu Yellow Curry with Veggies and Cashews served in a grey bowl with white rice

More Healthy Vegan and Thai Recipes!

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Tofu Yellow Curry with Veggies and Cashews served in a grey bowl with white rice
Print Recipe
4.8 from 5 votes

Tofu Yellow Curry with Cashews and Vegetables

This Tofu Yellow Curry with Veggies and Cashews is a vegetarian and vegan friendly makeover of the classic Thai Yellow Curry you'll find on the menu at your favorite Thai restaurant. It's lighter, healthier, yet still restaurant quality!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai, Vegan
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 277kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • cups light coconut milk about 2 15oz cans
  • 3-4 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt or more to taste
  • 1 large red onion chopped
  • 3-5 medium garlic cloves minced (adjust the amount of garlic based on how spicy you like it)
  • 16 ounces firm tofu cut into small cubes
  • 8 ounces baked tofu cut into small cubes
  • 2 heads broccoli
  • 1 pound asparagus chopped
  • 2 yellow peppers thinly sliced
  • cup chopped cashews toasted
  • a handful of cilantro loosely chopped (optional – I like cilantro but the husband doesn’t, so I omitted this)
  • ⅛-¼ tsp cayenne pepper if you like things spicy
  • ground cumin cardamom and pepper (to taste – I used about 1 tsp cumin, a sprinkling of cardamom, and a pinch of pepper)
  • Brown rice for serving 1 cup cooked, 1/4 cup per serving

Instructions

  • Cut all your veggies. Saute the onion and 2 cloves chopped garlic in 1/2 tsp olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp curry powder and salt and stir until combined.
  • Add the coconut milk to the onion mixture, bring to simmer and work out any clumps. Stir in the tofu and cook for a few minutes until the tofu has absorbed most of the flavors. Simmer the liquid on low heat until it has cooked down slightly.
  • Meanwhile, in a large pan, saute the broccoli, asparagus, and pepper (or whatever veggies you use) with 2 cloves chopped garlic over medium heat. Add salt, cayenne, and remaining curry power/cumin and other spices to taste. Cook until veggies are crisp.
  • Pour tofu/coconut milk mixture over veggies (in the pan) and stir to combine.
  • Add additional spices as needed. Cook through for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cashews. Serve with brown rice.

Video

https://youtu.be/cgMdvpwuQbU

Notes

Expert Tips  
  • Cut your veggies the same size for even cooking.
  • Be sure to drain and press your tofu before cubing and adding to the dish. The extra water from the tofu can cause the curry sauce to become too thin.
  • Adjust the cayenne to fit your spice preference.
  • If you choose to freeze this and reheat it later, keep in mind that tofu will change in texture once it’s frozen and reheated (it’s still completely fine to eat though!)
  • Nutrition Information doesn’t include rice for serving. 

Nutrition

Calories: 277kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 527mg | Potassium: 710mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 5g

Posted In…

Thai Recipes ·

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