Easy Thai Red Curry (Vegetarian/Vegan Options)

5 from 12 votes
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Make this Thai red curry from scratch at home for a simple and delicious mid-week meal ready in just 25 minutes! Packed with flavor and yet super customizable – this version is a nutrient-dense Thai vegetable curry. Plus, with a red curry paste made from scratch, you’ll never want to buy pre-made sauce again!

Thai Red Curry in a pan

When I want a meal that is warm, comforting, and yet quick (under 30 minutes with ‘cheats’ to make it even quicker!) and fairly low-effort, then a Thai curry is where it’s at. I always keep homemade curry pastes in my freezer, ready to use whenever I want. Combine that with coconut milk and your favorite vegetables or protein of choice and serve alongside fluffy jasmine rice, and you have a recipe worth returning to time and time again.

In fact, depending on whether I want a meal that is light yet satisfying or more rich and filling, I’ll swap out the extras I add into the curry. However, no matter what, I love this recipe for being veggie-packed and nutrient-dense!

Thai Red Curry in a pan

Plus, if you don’t have the Thai red curry paste already sitting in your fridge/freezer, then don’t worry because it takes just 5 minutes to blend up the paste from scratch, and it’s ready to use immediately. Plus, this recipe is naturally gluten-free, and I’ve included the option below to make this recipe vegan – by simply substituting fish sauce for soy sauce – for a delicious vegan Thai curry.

As I mentioned in the paste recipe post, one of the best things about making this curry 100% from scratch is how customizable it is to you and your family’s taste buds, too. Practically every ingredient within this curry can be adjusted/substituted in ways that work for you: reduce chilies for less heat, add extra lime or herbs or spices or sweetness, etc.

Jasmine rice in a bowl and Thai Red Curry in a pan

However, once you’ve got your perfect blend, then you’ll never go back to grocery store-bought, and I’ve suggested my favorite blend of ingredients and amounts for those making it for the first time. After all, Thai food is jam-packed with flavor!

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Red Curry Vs. Green Curry

As I mentioned above, I’ve already posted a recipe for Thai green curry previously on the blog. However, if you’re new to Thai curries and wondering what the difference is between the two, here’s a bit of information.

The main difference is in color – with the green curry producing a wonderful rich green color through green chilies, kaffir lime, and various green herbs – whereas the red is rich and red (sometimes more orange in tone) using red chilies.

Thai Red Curry served in a small bowl

But what are the differences in heat and flavor? You may be surprised to find out that, typically, Thai green curry is actually hotter than Thai red curry. Traditionally, in fact, green, red, and yellow curries were all made with the exact same ingredients except the different colored chilies – however, over time, that has changed.

For my recipes, many of the ingredients are similar – for example, the kaffir, galangal, lemongrass, etc. Luckily though, when making curry paste at home, you’re 100% in control of heat levels, so this red curry can be made as mild or spicy as you like (though the color will be affected by reducing chilies). Thus, the individual taste differences come down to the ‘extra’ ingredients added to each curry – such as herbs, spices, etc.

Thai Red Curry Ingredients

The Step By Step Instructions

First, prepare the curry paste. If you have some in the fridge, then this is ready to use immediately. If it’s in the freezer, however, then take it out to thaw for a bit first. Alternatively, if making it from scratch, this can be done in just 5 minutes following the instructions on this post.

If you’re serving this curry alongside fluffy jasmine rice (all steps on that post), then you’ll want to start cooking this immediately too so it can cook/steam alongside the rest of the recipe.

Next, prepare your vegetables. Slice the peppers and Thai aubergines to begin. You can cut them into pieces as thin/thick as you prefer – though remember that this will affect their cooking time.

Chopped peppers and Thai aubergine


In a large pan, heat up the coconut oil and red curry paste for a minute, mixing them lightly. Then add the vegetables.

Stir fry the veggies for 3-4 minutes to begin to soften them. Then add the coconut milk and water (or stock).

Add the remainder of the ingredients and cook for a few more minutes until all the veg has softened.

Steps for cooking Thai Red Curry

Taste the curry and adjust any ingredients if needed – add a little extra curry paste if preferred, lime juice for extra tang, coconut sugar for sweetness, etc.

Once ready, remove from heat and serve alongside the jasmine rice – enjoy!

How To Store

Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for between 3-5 days.

I haven’t tried to freeze leftover – though I imagine it would work depending on what vegetables you use. You may need to add a touch more curry paste or stock/coconut milk when thawing for consistency.

Thai Red Curry served in a bowl over rice

Recipe Notes

  • For a lighter meal, feel free to add some vegetable stock in place of some of the coconut milk.
  • Feel free to use a can of coconut milk or homemade coconut milk for this recipe.
  • To bring down the cooking time of this recipe, you can use a variety of quick-cook veggies (or frozen veggies). You could also use microwave grains/rice for a meal that’s ready in practically 10 minutes.
  • For added protein, feel free to add chickpeas, homemade tofu, or your favorite protein of choice.
  • The vegetables: I’ve suggested a few vegetables that work well for this red curry, Thai flavor included. However, there are tons of different veggies that you can use within this curry. Some options include: sweet potato, butternut squash, eggplant, zucchini, baby corn, mange tout, cauliflower, green beans, etc.
  • To easily adjust this recipe for different spice levels – you can add red pepper flakes, thinly sliced chili, or a glug of chili oil to the plates of those who like extra heat.

Related Thai Recipes

If you try this Thai red curry recipe, then let me know your thoughts and any questions in the comments below. Also, feel free to tag me in your recreations on Instagram @AlphaFoodie.

Vegetable Thai Red Curry

5 from 12 votes
By: Samira
Make this Thai red curry from scratch at home for a simple and delicious mid-week meal ready in just 25 minutes! Packed with flavor and yet super customizable – this version is a nutrient-dense Thai vegetable curry. Plus, with a red curry paste made from scratch, you'll never want to buy pre-made sauce again!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 3

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 Bok choy
  • baby corn
  • Thai green eggplant
  • sugar snap peas
  • 1 lime
  • cup coconut milk homemade or canned
  • Thai basil
  • 2 Tbsp red curry paste (see blogpost for ingredients)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce or soy sauce for a Vegan option
  • ½ tsp coconut sugar or brown sugar or maple syrup
  • ½ cup water optional

Instructions 

  • First, prepare the curry paste. If you have some in the fridge, then this is ready to use immediately. If it's in the freezer, however, then take it out to thaw for a bit first. Alternatively, If making it from scratch, this can be done in just 5 minutes following the instructions on this post.
    If you're serving this curry alongside fluffy jasmine rice (all steps on that post), then you'll want to start cooking this immediately too so it can cook/steam alongside the rest of the recipe.
  • Next, prepare your vegetables. Slice the peppers and Thai aubergines to begin. You can cut them into pieces as thin/thick as you prefer – though remember that this will affect their cooking time.
  • In a large pan, heat up the coconut oil and red curry paste for a minute, mixing them lightly. Then add the vegetables. Stir fry the veggies for 3-4 minutes to begin to soften them. Then add the coconut milk and water (or stock).Add the remainder of the ingredients and cook for a few more minutes until all the veg has softened.
  • Taste the curry and adjust any ingredients if needed – add a little extra curry paste if preferred, lime juice for extra tang, coconut sugar for sweetness, etc.
  • Once ready, remove from heat and serve alongside the jasmine rice – enjoy!

How To Store

  • Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for between 3-5 days.
    I haven't tried to freeze leftover – though I imagine it would work depending on what vegetables you use. You may need to add a touch more curry paste or stock/coconut milk when thawing for consistency.

Video

Notes

  • For a lighter meal, feel free to add some vegetable stock in place of some of the coconut milk.
  • Feel free to use a can of coconut milk or homemade coconut milk for this recipe.
  • To bring down the cooking time of this recipe, you can use a variety of quick-cook veggies (or frozen veggies). You could also use microwave grains/rice for a meal that’s ready in practically 10 minutes.
  • For added protein, feel free to add chickpeas, homemade tofu, or your favorite protein of choice.
  • The vegetables: I’ve suggested a few vegetables that work well for this red curry, Thai flavor included. However, there are tons of different veggies that you can use within this curry. Some options include; sweet potato, butternut squash, eggplant, zucchini, baby corn, mange tout, cauliflower, green beans, etc.
  • To easily adjust this recipe for different spice levels – you can add red pepper flakes, thinly sliced chili, or a glug of chili oil to the plates of those who like extra heat.
Course: Main
Cuisine: Thai
Freezer friendly: 1 Month
Shelf life: 5 Days

Nutrition

Serving: 1Portion, Calories: 308kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 23g, Sodium: 669mg, Potassium: 1079mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 15407IU, Vitamin C: 258mg, Calcium: 333mg, Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating




4 Comments

  1. mavee125 says:

    5 stars
    This Vegetable Thai Red Curry recipe is so good. I used Mae Ploy Red Curry Paste and Red Boat Fish Sauce that I bought from Karman Foods; it’s perfect!

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Thank you for your comment. Glad you’ve enjoyed the recipe 🙂

  2. Salma says:

    5 stars
    Delicious!

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Thank you so much for your comment, Salma. 🙂