Vegetarian Thai Green Curry in 30 Minutes

Vegetarian Thai Green Curry in 30 Minutes

This Thai Curry recipe is so easy and versatile you can throw it together in 30 minutes or less. It’s very inexpensive to prepare and serves 6 for only $7.90 or $1.53 per serving. When you need to impress a special guest in a hurry try this Vegetarian Thai Green Curry.

Vegetarian Thai Green Curry/Frugal Foodist 

This recipe was inspired by my friend Joe Prewitt and features several techniques adapted from The Legendary, Chef Pardus at the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY. Like most other ethnic recipes, this Thai Curry recipe calls for some unique ingredients as well. 

Thai Eggplant and Soy Puffs, or as Joe called them, “Puffy Tofu”.

I’m using Thai Eggplant and red peppers for an authentic taste but you can also add/substitute yellow or patty pan squash, zucchini, mushrooms, or any kind of peas. You can also use little Indian Eggplants, Graffiti or Fairytale eggplants which I have been seeing a lot lately in my local Acme. Thai Curry recipes are extremely adaptable, you can make this one your own by adding your favorite ingredients.

  • Side Note- I rarely shop Acme because  it’s substantially more expensive than other grocery stores. For example, a bunch of Kale is $2.99 at Acme. I can easily buy Kale at Shoprite or Walmart for $1 a bunch. Acme does, however, regularly stock Fairytale Eggplants, which is pretty darn cool 🙂



Unique Ingredients of Thai Cuisine

Thai Eggplant -these eggplants are small, round, and green with white striping, they slightly resemble tomatillos (without the husk). They are the most popular vegetable used in Thai Curry recipes. When you cut one open you will notice that there is very little flesh and very dense seeds. Thai Eggplants are definitely not ideal for an Eggplant Parmesan or a Baingan Bharta, but they do make an excellent curry sauce delivery vehicle, just like our next item.

Thai Eggplant and Puffy Tofu

Puffy Tofu -“Tofu puffs (tow-hu tawt in Thai) are deep-fried cubed or triangle-cut pieces of bean curd found in Asian supermarkets in the refrigerated section. Deep-frying makes the tofu very chewy and absorbent, making them a perfect ingredient in stews.” – Temple of Thai 

I am making my Vegetarian Thai Green Curry with puffy tofu in this recipes but you could easily substitute a number of things like. Extra-Firm Tofu, Seitan, or Vegan protein of your choice. For non-vegetarian versions, Chicken, Pork, Shrimp or any white fish of your choice will taste amazing with this sauce.

This recipe was inspired by Joe Prewitt, a dear friend who is no longer with us.

Joe Prewitt was one of the most talented people I have ever met, he made incredible music under the moniker “Ditchdigger”, and I was his first super-fan. In addition to being a remarkable and avant-garde producer,  Joe was also a wonderful cook.

In 2011, when I was training for the Philadelphia marathon, I had this crazy idea that if I cut all cholesterol out of my diet I would create a perfect cardiovascular machine and therefore improve my run time. In order to achieve this silly idea I decided to try a, “not so strict,” Vegan diet. This time in 2011 was shortly before the entire world went vegan so my restaurant dining options were often limited. This bothered me and Joe knew it.

One evening, Joe invited me to his family’s home in Pennsylvania and prepared for me a “Vegan” Thai Green Curry. This recipe blew me away.  Although I had previously learned to make green curry, when I was in “Asia’s” Kitchen Class at the CIA, I had never seen  Puffy Tofu before. Joe was using puffy tofu as the protein source in his recipe. The little tofu sponges were the perfect vessels for soaking up yummy green curry sauce, delivering an explosion of sauce with every bite, almost like a little curry soup dumpling.

Store-Bought Thai Curry Paste

Joe used a store-bought Thai green curry paste, which he informed me ahead of time, contained shrimp paste. I let it slide of course, I was by no means a strict vegan, and he made such a beautiful meal. I simply couldn’t turn my nose up at a little shrimp paste at the time.

This recipe is my Vegan/Vegetarian interpretation of Joe Prewitt’s Thai Green Curry with Puffy Tofu using a few techniques I learned from Chef Pardus, at the Culinary Institute of America(CIA) Hyde Park, NY.

I’m using a homemade Vegetarian Thai Green Curry Paste (it’s really vegan) its really simple to put together and very inexpensive, give it a try and let me know what you think.


Vegan Curry Thai Green Curry

If you’re in a pinch or can’t find the ingredients you can substitute store-bought curry paste, its readily available in most grocery stores these days including, Walmart, Target, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Acme, and ShopRite are a few places that I’ve seen keep this in stock regularly.

Keep in mind that store bought curry paste, won’t be as aromatic, will probably be very salty, will probably be very spicy and will most definitely contain shrimp paste.

Anyways, Frugal Foodies, I hope you enjoy this beautiful Vegetarian recipe with the ones you love and please do leave some feedback with your thoughts. 


Vegetarian Thai Green Curry

This easy Thai  dinner recipe is tasty, healthy and cheap. Impress your special guest with the taste and aroma of Thai Cuisine. Serve with a side of steamed Jasmine Rice or Cauliflower Rice. 

Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Keyword Cheap, Curry, Gluten-Free, Healthy, Simple, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 people


  • 2 Cans Coconut Cream
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Green Curry Paste (GCP) Vegan/Vegetarian
  • 1 Pack Puffy Tofu cut in half diagonally
  • 4 Each Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetarian Fish Sauce
  • 8 Ounces Thai Egg Plant quartered
  • 1 Each Red Bell Pepper Julienned
  • 1/4 Cup Thai Basil Leaves
  • 1 Each Jalapeno seeds removed
  • 1 Cup Cilantro Leaves


  1. In a deep cooking vessel such as a Wok, Dutch Oven or Large Saute Pan, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot (it will begin to shimmer) add the green curry paste and kaffir lime leaves to the oil. 

  2. Cook while quickly stirring, to prevent burning or sticking, until aromatic. Approximately 30 seconds. Add fish sauce and stir to combine.

  3. Add Coconut Cream to the GCP, turn the heat down to medium and bring to gentle simmer.

  4. Add Thai Eggplant and cook until tender. Approximately 10 minutes. 

    Add Puffu Tofu and cook an additional 5 minutes. 

    Add the Peppers and cook for one minute more.

  5. Remove the curry from heat and add the Thai Basil Leaves.

  6. In a blender or food processor combine Jalapeño and Cilantro leaves, add one tablespoon of water and puré until smooth. 

    Add to Curry, Stir and Serve. 

Don’t be shy and leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.

Anthony Bourdain


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