Tofu Thai Yellow Curry (Vegan!)This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure.
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!
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.
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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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Combine With Yellow Curry Sauce: Pour the tofu and coconut milk mixture in with the veggies and stir to combine.
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.
Garnish and Serve! Top with fresh cilantro. Serve this yellow coconut curry with hot steamed rice.
💭 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.
❓ Recipe FAQs
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
🍛 More Healthy Vegan And Thai Recipes!
- Vegan Panang Curry
- Tofu Broccoli with Sesame Noodles
- Thai Peanut Curry
- Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry
- Eggplant Curry
- Vegan Thai Green Curry
Love this vegetarian thai recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating 🌟 in the recipe below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page!
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🎥 Watch How to Make It
Tofu Thai Yellow Curry (Vegan!)
- 3½ 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)
- ⅓ 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
- 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.
- Refrigeration: Leftovers keep covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Nutrition Information: The nutrition estimate does not include rice for serving.