1. Food
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup (Vegan/gluten-free)

User Rating 4.5 Star Rating (9 Reviews)


Tom Yum Soup
Marikoiv/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
Thai Tom Yum Soup is just as delicious made vegetarian/vegan. Instead of fish sauce and chicken stock, soy sauce and a good-tasting vegetable stock can be used. Tom Yum Soup is currently under study for its ability to boost the immune system and help fight off cold and flu viruses, and this veggie recipe is even healthier than the original! It's also easy to make and flexible in terms of ingredients - you'll learn to make it your own preferred way using this recipe as a base. Make it as an appetizer, for lunch, or as a nutritionally complete dinner. You'll love how it warms and energizes!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes


  • 5-6 cups good-tasting vegetable or faux chicken stock (makes 4 servings)
  • 1-2 stalks lemongrass , minced (see link below), OR 3-4 Tbsp. frozen prepared lemongrass (available at Asian stores)
  • 3 whole kaffir lime leaves (available fresh or frozen at Asian food stores)
  • 1-2 cups soft tofu, sliced into cubes
  • 1-2 red chilies, sliced, OR 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili, OR 1-2 tsp. chili sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, sliced into thin matchstick-like pieces
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms (I used shiitake), sliced
  • 2 cups baby bok choy, leaves separated or chopped if large, OR substitute broccoli or bell pepper
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 can good-quality coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 3-4 Tbsp. soy sauce (use wheat-free for gluten-free diets)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil + 1/3 cup fresh coriander/cilantro, roughly chopped


  1. Pour stock into a soup pot. If making the stock from cubes or powder, but sure to make it strong (if it tastes good on its own, it will make for a better Tom yum soup!). Now add the prepared lemongrass, plus the lime leaves, chili, garlic, and galangal or ginger. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes, or until broth is very fragrant.
  2. Add the mushrooms. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5-8 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft.
  3. Add the bok choy and cherry tomatoes. Gently simmer 1-2 more minutes (bok choy should remain on the crisp side).
  4. Reduce heat to low and add the coconut milk, sugar, soy sauce, and lime juice. Finally, add the soft tofu and gently stir.
  5. Do a taste-test, adding more chili or chili sauce if not spicy enough. If not salty enough, add more soy sauce or a little more stock cube/powder or salt. Add 1 more tsp. sugar if too sour. If too salty or sweet, add another squeeze of lime juice.
  6. To serve, ladle soup into bowls with fresh basil and coriander sprinkled over. Enjoy!

Note: Although I prefer my Tom Yum with coconut milk, more traditional versions of the soup don't include it (instead, they increase the amount of stock). In Thailand, they often use Carnation Evaporated Milk, which is a good option for vegetarians, while vegans will prefer to use coconut milk.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
Simply Amazing!, Member TeeKayVeeDee

My family loves Thai food, and since the time I had this soup, I wanted to make it myself. I am very particular about ingredients, and did not want to miss the right taste for not having the lime leaves. It took me some time to find a store selling these leaves.. and finally I could try my hands on the soup. It turned out just amazing! The one I had in the restaurant was without the coconut milk, and so I avoided it. (And of course for health reasons!) Yummy!! will keep on making it again and again. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

26 out of 29 people found this helpful.

See all 9 reviews

Related Video
Traditional Tom Yum Soup

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.