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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 Thai Yellow Curry (Vegan!)

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

Thai tofu yellow curry with broccoli, potatoes, asparagus and peppers served in a grey bowl.

Yellow curry is one of my favorite dishes to order at Thai restaurants. 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.

This yellow Thai curry recipe, unlike what you usually find in the restaurant, is light on calories and fat. By substituting light coconut milk for regular coconut milk we cut down on saturated fat while preserving the rich and creamy flavor.

Keeping this yellow curry vegan is super simple, too! By using tofu and cashews instead of chicken, beef, or other animal proteins, yellow curry with tofu is healthier but still an authentic recipe packed with delicious curry flavors!

👩🏽‍🍳 Why You’ll Love This Tofu Yellow Curry With Vegetables

  • Fresh and Light: If you love a traditional yellow curry dish, but don’t love how full you feel after eating it, this yellow curry recipe with tofu is for you! It’s saucy and creamy while not being as heavy as the version you’d find at your local Thai restaurant, but it tastes just as good!
  • Nutritious: With lots of fresh veggies and plant protein, a bowl of this curry boasts healthy ingredients that you can feel good about feeding to your family!
  • Simple and Quick: Read on for a delicious recipe that’s ready in less than 30 minutes! No complicated techniques or tools are required to make this Thai curry recipe, either!
  • Family Friendly: This is a great recipe for the whole family! My kids love when I serve this vegetarian Thai yellow curry recipe for dinner. If your kiddos don’t like heat, just omit the cayenne pepper from the recipe.

Latest Recipe Video!

🥘 Ingredients

This easy recipe calls for simple ingredients that you can find at most local grocery stores! Here’s what you need to make this Thai tofu yellow curry recipe:

ingredients for tofu yellow curry
  • Light Coconut Milk: Canned coconut milk creates a creamy base while keeping the fat and calories in check.
  • Curry Powder: This ingredient gives this Thai yellow curry with tofu recipe its distinct yellow color, thanks to the addition of turmeric powder. Use a high-quality curry powder, such as the one from Simply Organic.
  • Garlic: For the best flavor, use fresh garlic. Mince it finely or press it through a garlic press.
  • Extra Firm Tofu: Drain, and gently press the tofu to extract any excess water. Then cut the tofu into small cubes.
  • Plenty Of Vegetables: In particular, red onions, broccoli, asparagus, and yellow peppers. You can also add in 1 russet potato, diced if you’re a fan of potatoes!
  • Cashews: Adds crunch, nuttiness, and natural sweetness to tofu yellow curry recipe. Toast and chop the cashews for more depth of flavor.
  • Cilantro: A handful of cilantro loosely chopped adds a fresh herbal flavor and a nice pop of green.
  • Spices: Warm spices add wonderful flavors to this recipe. We used cumin, a pinch of cayenne (or more, if you like things spicy), cardamom, and ground black pepper.
  • Brown Rice (To Serve): Brown jasmine rice is great, though traditional long-grain brown rice also works for this Thai tofu potato curry.

🍲 Substitutions

  • Vegetables: Any combination of vegetables can substitute for broccoli, asparagus, and sweet peppers in this vegan Thai yellow curry recipe, or you can add in any extra veggies you like too. Carrots, zucchini, red bell peppers, green beans, yellow squash, red cabbage, snap peas (snow peas), green peas, bamboo shoots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, spinach, and kale are all great picks for this tofu cashew curry!
  • Plant-Protein: Don’t have tofu? No worries. Tempeh, seitan, chickpeas, vegan chicken, soy curls, and jackfruit all work great, too.
  • Store-Bought Curry Paste: 2 tablespoons of vegan Thai yellow curry paste can work in place of the yellow curry powder. Keep in mind that different brands will have different flavor profiles and different heat levels, so make sure to taste the Thai curry paste before adding it to your dish.
  • Brown Rice: Instead of brown rice, you can also serve this vegan yellow Thai curry recipe over steamed white jasmine rice, regular basmati rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice for a lower carb option.

🔪 How To Make Tofu Yellow Curry With Vegetables

Saute The Onion, Garlic, and Curry Powder: Saute the onion and 2 cloves of chopped garlic in 1/2 teaspoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. (You can also use avocado oil or coconut oil here). Add 2 tablespoons of curry powder and salt and stir until combined.

Onions and spices sauteeing in a large pot.

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

Onions and coconut milk cooking in a large pot.

Add Tofu And Simmer: Stir in the tofu and cook for a few minutes until the tofu is heated through. Simmer the liquid on low heat until it has cooked down slightly, or for about 5 minutes.

tofu and coconut milk and spices cooking in a large pot.

Cook Veggies For Yellow Curry: Meanwhile, in a large pan, saute the broccoli, asparagus, (potatoes if using), and pepper with 2 chopped garlic cloves over medium heat. Add salt, cayenne, the remaining curry powder, cumin, and other spices to taste. Cook until the veggies are crisp.

veggies sauteeing in a pan.

Combine With Yellow Curry Sauce: Pour the tofu and coconut milk mixture in with the veggies and stir to combine.

Veggies cooking in a pot with curry seasonings.

Season to Taste, Add Cashews: Add additional spices as needed. Bring the Thai tofu curry to a simmer over medium heat and cook through for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cashews. 

Cashews and tofu added to pot with the curry seasoning.

Garnish and Serve! Top with fresh cilantro. Serve this yellow coconut curry with hot steamed rice.

Thai tofu yellow curry with broccoli, potatoes, asparagus and peppers served with rice in a grey bowl.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Cut the Vegetables into Uniform Sizes. This helps the vegetables cook quickly and evenly.
  • Drain and Press the Tofu. Be sure to drain and press your tofu before cubing and adding to the dish. That will help your tofu retain a nice texture. Additionally, it removes any extra water from the tofu – which can make the yellow tofu curry sauce too thin.
  • Season to Taste. Adjust spice level to your preferences — all of the spices (the coriander, curry powder, cumin, cayenne, and cilantro) can be increased or decreased to fit your tastes.

📖 Recipe Variations

  • Make It Spicy: For an extra kick to this vegetarian yellow curry with potatoes, increase the amount of cayenne pepper, or add some crushed red pepper flakes, Thai chilis,
  • Thai Yellow Chicken Curry: Instead of the tofu, you can add in either vegan chicken pieces (to keep this Thai cashew curry vegan), or add pieces of cooked tender chicken breast if you don’t need this recipe to be vegan or vegetarian.
  • Make It Sweet: Stir in 1-2 teaspoons of coconut sugar, brown sugar, or agave syrup to give this vegan yellow curry recipe a lightly sweet finish.
  • Make It Crispy: Pan-fry the cubed tofu in coconut or olive oil before adding it to the curry sauce to make crispy tofu curry. Pan frying the tofu lightly gives it great texture, but is still healthier than regular fried tofu.
  • Make It Extra-Creamy: For an extra decadent yellow vegetable curry, use full fat coconut milk or even light coconut milk with a dollop of coconut cream added in. So delicious!
  • Experiment with the Spices: Keep the curry powder in this recipe for that authentic flavor, but experiment with the other spices if you please. Add in fresh minced ginger, adjust the amount of cumin or coriander, stir in a little bit of grated fresh turmeric, or finish the vegetable yellow curry with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, Thai basil leaves, or kaffir lime leaves.

🫙 Storage And Freezing Directions

This veg yellow curry tofu recipe stores really well and tastes even better the next day, which make it great for meal prep too!

  • Store In The Fridge: Allow the curry to cool completely. Then transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Freeze: Cooled curry can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for 2-3 months. Know that the texture of tofu may change after freezing but it will still be safe to eat!
  • Reheat: For best results, defrost the frozen potato yellow curry in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours before reheating. When ready to serve, transfer to a saucepan. Heat on low, stirring consistently until warmed through.
Tofu Thai yellow curry with broccoli, potatoes, asparagus and peppers served in a grey bowl.

❓ Recipe FAQs

What is Thai yellow curry?

Thai yellow curry is a popular dish in Thai cuisine that is known for its bright yellow color and rich flavors. This type of curry is typically made with a combination of aromatic spices (garlic, fresh ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric), herbs (lemongrass), vegetables and protein. Typically, starchy vegetables like potatoes are used in Thai yellow curries, but any combination of veggies typically works.

The key ingredient that gives it its distinctive yellow color is turmeric, which is commonly used in Thai cooking. Thai yellow curry is often considered the mildest in terms of heat level of the various Thai curries. Thai red curry is medium and Thai green curry is usually the spiciest.

What is the main difference between Thai yellow curry and Indian yellow curry?

Indian and Thai curry have different flavor profiles as well as different spice ingredients. Indian curries are usually more complex and richer in flavor, including spices such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, coriander, and cumin.

Thai curries, on the other hand, tend to have a more floral and lighter flavor profile and are composed of ingredients such as ginger, peppers, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, shrimp paste, and more.

How healthy is yellow curry?

Yellow curry can be very healthy for you, depending on what ingredients are added to it! The spices in this traditional Thai curry are full of antioxidants, and when lean proteins and vegetables are added, Thai yellow curry is a healthy and balanced meal. The key is to keep the fat content low by not using too much oil or too much full fat coconut milk, and to use lots of fresh vegetables to add fiber and nutrients. Our Tofu yellow curry is a healthy meal that can be enjoyed any time of day!

Is Thai yellow curry vegan or vegetarian?

Thai yellow curry is typically made with chicken, but if the curry is made without animal protein, fish sauce, or shrimp paste (like this recipe is) it is considered to be a vegan and vegetarian yellow curry recipe.

What vegetables go in yellow curry?

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

Tofu Thai yellow curry with broccoli, potatoes, asparagus and peppers served in a grey bowl.

🍛 More Healthy Vegan And Thai Recipes!

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📋 Recipe Card

🎥 Watch How to Make It

https://youtu.be/cgMdvpwuQbU
Thai tofu yellow curry with broccoli, potatoes, asparagus and peppers served in a grey bowl.
Print Recipe
4.92 from 12 votes

Tofu Thai Yellow Curry (Vegan!)

This Tofu Thai Yellow Curry is a vegetarian and vegan-friendly makeover of the classic Thai dish you'll find on the menu at your favorite Thai restaurant. It's lighter, healthier, yet still restaurant quality. Ready in just 30 minutes!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai, Vegan
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 277kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • cups light coconut milk about 2, 15oz cans
  • 3 tbsp curry powder more or less depending on how spicy your brand of curry powder is
  • 1-2 tsp 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; or any other color sweet pepper
  • 1 potato diced (optional)
  • 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 or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pinch ground cardamom
  • 1 large pinch ground black pepper
  • Brown rice for serving or about 1-2 cups of brown rice, steamed

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, potato (if using) and pepper with 2 chopped garlic cloves over medium heat. If you are using the potato, I recommend adding that first, and cooking it for about 5-10 minutes before adding the other veggies. Add salt, cayenne, remaining curry power, cumin, and other spices to taste. Cook until veggies are tender.
  • Add the tofu and coconut milk mixture to the pan of veggies. Stir to combine.
  • Add additional spices as needed. Increase the heat to medium and bring the curry to a simmer. Cook through for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the curry from the heat and stir in cashews. Serve with brown rice.

Notes

  1. Refrigeration: Leftovers keep covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. 
  2. Freezing: Remaining tofu yellow curry can also be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Note that the tofu texture may change after freezing but is still safe to eat. For best results, defrost the frozen curry in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours before reheating. 
  3. Vegetables: Any combination of vegetables can substitute for the broccoli, asparagus, and sweet peppers.  Carrots, zucchini, green beans, yellow squash, and sweet potato are all delicious! Whatever vegetables you use, cut them the same size for even cooking.
  4. Tofu: Drain and press the tofu before cubing and adding to the dish. The extra water from the tofu can make the curry sauce too thin.
  5. Nutrition Information: The nutrition estimate does not include rice for serving. 

Nutrition

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

53 responses to “Tofu Thai Yellow Curry (Vegan!)”

  1. This is so delicious! The coconut milk makes it so creamy and flavorful. Thanks for a new favorite family recipe!5 stars

  2. This looks amazing and so flavorful! My family is going to love this recipe and really enjoy it! Excited to make this for dinner tonight!5 stars

  3. I was looking for a healthy and simple recipe to make for dinner, and this is it! I don’t usually like to get Thai takeout because it always feels so heavy, but this recipe is light and flavorful! So good!5 stars

  4. I am relatively new to the vegan world. I recently tried to prepare my first homemade tofu recipe, but unfortunately, it didn’t turn out as I expected. I love curry and found this recipe that has tofu, so I think I am going to give it another try!

    • I’m so sorry your first experience with tofu didn’t go well! This recipe is absolutely delicious, and I promise the tofu in it tastes great with the curry sauce. Let me know how it turns out!

  5. I made this the other night, I omitted the cashews (my husband doesn’t like nuts in his food) and used whatever stir fry veggies I had on hand, but kept everything else the same. It wasn’t as sweet as the Thai takeout we get (probably because of the omission of cashews and sugar that is normally in Thai food) but we still really enjoyed it, especially my husband. Thanks for a great recipe!

    • That’s awesome! Yes I purposely made this a less sweet version to make it a bit healthier 🙂 So glad you both enjoyed this recipe!

  6. This looks delicious. I was wondering if I can use canned coconut milk such as Trader Joe’s canned lite coconut milk. Your picture shows coconut milk beverage which is different. Thanks. Can’t wait to try this.

    • Hi Carol! Absolutely – you can use canned light coconut milk – that will work just fine. I use that often in this recipe, but it just so happens that when I took the pictures for this recipe I had the boxed kind in my pantry 🙂 Hope that helps!

  7. Hi! I have some yellow curry paste I am trying to use up and am wondering if it could be substituted for any of the ingredients or just added in for a different touch… Thoughts?!
    Thanks!

    • Hi!! So if you already have yellow curry paste, you just need to mix that into the coconut milk and that will pretty much be your curry. You likely won’t have to use any of the additional spices in this recipe if your curry paste is high quality. I’d suggest mixing the curry paste into the coconut milk, adding it to your veggies tofu, and then tasting it all to see if it needs more spice, salt, etc. Hope that helps! Let me know how it turns out!

  8. I am trying to recreate something I may have tasted in Malaysia but ended up buying beans, carrots and cabbage and the inevitable tofu (and tons of onions) – and then I found your post. We have this issue with coconut milk but with your very inspiring photos, hope to come up with something close. =)

    • Oh great!! I’m really curious to see how you like this recipe and if it makes you enjoy the coconut milk part of the curry 🙂 Keep me posted on how it goes!

  9. I’m so excited! I found your site from your guest visit to skinnytaste blog and I can’t wait to try this. I am a huge fan of Indian food, but I’m on weight watchers and can’t afford those heavy curries. And yellow curry is my favorite Thai dish, so this one looks great too! Quick question. I don’t love asparagus and my husband does love cauliflower. Do you think I could sub cauliflower for the broccoli? And do you have any suggestions for what I could I use in place of the asparagus?

    • Hi Colleen!! It’s so nice to meet you! 🙂 So yes! You can absolutely sub cauliflower for the broccoli, and instead of the asparagus you can sub in zucchini, squash, carrots, or any vegetable you like. Hope that helps, let me know how it turns out!

  10. Thank you so much for providing pictures of your ingredients and steps. I get so intimidated trying out new recipes and never know what to look for in the store when shopping for new ingredients. Also, trying to make my meals more healthy (while feeding picking eaters and a peanut allergy) at home and these adjustments are difficult! Thanks for your recipes, I feel like I have a little more support. 🙂

    • Hi Beth! Awww I’m so glad to hear that, and I’m so happy that you feel supported by my blog and recipes! If you have any questions about any of the recipes or anything else health related, don’t hesitate to email me! I’d love to help you in any way I can 🙂 Thanks again!

    • Thanks so much Holly! I’ve just updated this recipe so there is a printer-friendly version at the bottom of this post 🙂 Hope that helps!

    • Thanks Cynthia! I’d say this makes 5-6 servings – so one serving would be about 1/6th of the recipe! Enjoy!

  11. This was wonderful! We added some chili powder as well. My boyfriend also heated up some frozen shrimp to add to his bowl, which he said was very good and it was no extra work! I used canned light coconut milk and subbed green beans for asparagus and carrots for the bell peppers. Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Oh I’m so glad that you and your boyfriend liked this recipe Anna! Adding the chili powder sounds really interesting – I bet it gave it a little extra kick! Green beans and carrots sound great too!

  12. I just came across your blog and I love it! This recipe looks just delicious! I am all about healthy vegetarian cooking for my family that even my omnivore husband will like. I will definitely be trying this!

    • Aw thanks so much Lindsey! 🙂 Can’t wait to hear what you and your family think about this recipe!

  13. What a wonderful blog for anyone looking for healthy vegetarian recipes! Great work.

    I do a ‘mean’ spicy version of curried chickpea soup cooked in turmeric powder, with dash of black pepper and a tablespoon of olive oil added for enhanced taste. Turmeric has anti-cancer properties so I make sure I have my spicy curry at least once a week!

    I write a blog on right eating habits. Anyone is welcome to visit – https://www.righteatinghabits.com

    And take away a healthy eating tip!

      • Looks great! I am on a fast from animal products and this will be a perfect meal option. Will the recipe turn out the same if I prepare everything in a crock pot?

      • Thanks so much! The recipe should turn out similar – but the tofu might get a little soft/mushy in the crock pot and you’ll have to be careful that the veggies don’t overcook as well!

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