Craving some spicy semi-authentic Thai soup? This Vegan Lemongrass Noodle Soup has got your back. Spicy from the green curry paste and chilis, creamy from the coconut milk, hearty and filling from the noodles and a few crunchy sugar snap peas to top it all off!
I say semi-authentic because 1. I am not Thai, and 2. everyone has their own traditions and recipes so what is authentic anyway?
When I was in Thailand and Vietnam, what struck me was the use of especially two ingredients that make the dish taste super-Thai (and Vietnamese!) - lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.
The distinct and tangy flavor of lemon and hint of ginger and mint from the lemongrass, and the citrusy and slightly floral accent from the kaffir lime leaves really makes this soup POP.
Honestly, these two are the main reason I love Thai food so much (although lime and green curry is way up there as well!).
How to cook with lemongrass
Many are inexperienced when it comes to lemongrass. I can assure you, it really is quite simple. Basically, the whole lemongrass stalk is edible.
However, the most fragrant part is the 3-4 inches lower, yellowish part of the stalk. So that is usually only what we use.
To get the most out of the lemongrass, it is advisable to bruise it up a little to release its aromatic oils. What I do is cut the lemongrass in 1-inch pieces, and remove the outer tougher layer.
Then place my knife with the flat side down and smash the lemongrass by pressing the palm of your hand on top of the other side of the flat knife. Like you do with garlic cloves! You can also use a meat tenderizer for this.
Tip: try these lemongrass chicken thighs too! For a vegan option, the marinade could be used on mushrooms, I say yum.
You can also mince it and crush it using a pestle and mortar (after smashing). If you want to eat the lemongrass, the pieces should be really small because they are pretty tough.
This is usually what I do, but you can also just keep them at 1 inch and discard once ready to serve. Watch this video on how to prepare lemongrass if you're unsure.
How to store lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves
Lemongrass keeps really well in the refrigerator, so it's great to just have on hand. Loosely wrap and store in the fridge for at least a few weeks, but I have personally had it for longer and it was still really fragrant and delicious.
If you want to keep if for longer, you can freeze it. Chop it into more manageable chunks, like 1 inch, or mince it.
Another recipe that uses lemongrass is this curry coconut chicken satay, but you could also add an inch into the peanut sauce for these vegan summer rolls as well! Just discard the lemongrass after infusing.
Kaffir lime leaves are best kept in the freezer. You can just take out one or two as needed and use straight from the freezer! How amazing is that.
Kaffir lime leaves keep about a year in the freezer, if sealed properly. So go get a bag, and you can make this kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass noodle soup whenever you crave healthy Thai food!
Another healthy Thai recipe that uses kaffir lime leaves is this chicken noodle soup, if you want to keep it vegan - skip the chicken! Easy peasy lemon squeezy. And for more vegan soups, I recommend roasted garlic chickpea soup and curry coconut carrot soup.
Vegan Thai Lemongrass Noodle Soup
This soup is quite easy to make, and definitely worth the little work it requires!
It is spicy from the green curry paste and chilis, creamy from the coconut milk, hearty and filling from the noodles and a few crunchy elements such as sugar snap peas and toasted coconut. Perfect and healthy comfort food!
In short, these are the steps to make this lemongrass noodle soup:
- Prepare the vegetables, including the lemongrass.
- Sauté onions, then add in ginger, green curry paste, lemongrass and garlic.
- Add in the other soup ingredients, apart from sugar snap peas.
- Simmer 20 minutes. Boil noodles as instructed on the package.
- Add in sugar snap peas 1-2 minutes before serving.
- Serve with all the toppings you wish.
Not all green curry pastes are vegan, so if this is important to you, make sure to check the label! Here's the vegan green curry paste that I use, and if you want to make your own, here's one from Minimalist Baker.
If you don't like cilantro, there's absolutely no requirement to add it as your toppings. Top with whatever you please, or nothing at all. I'd maybe add a little more green onions.
Please enjoy this beautiful soup on any day of the year! It is perfect for cold winter days as it is spicy and can clear the sinuses. It is also fresh enough to enjoy during the summer, with all its citrusy lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.
Have a wonderful soup day!
What's your favorite soup?
Here's a few other delicious soups and healthy bowls:
- Curry Coconut Carrot Soup
- Moroccan Butternut and Chevre Soup with Pomegranates and Ginger Coconut Cream
- Mango Chipotle Quinoa Bowl with Optional Lime Chicken
- Cuban Quinoa Bowl with Mango Salsa and Fried Bananas
- Roasted Tomato Soup with Herbs
- Skinny Thai Chicken Noodle Soup
- Ukrainian Borscht (Beet Soup)
Honestly, I kind of like the old photos of this dish too. But it annoyed me so much that I forgot the noodles in the shots. So I'll just keep it here in case you got confused the dish looks different than what you've seen before!
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This recipe was originally published on Mar 6th 2018, but updated on Aug 11th 2020 for better photos and content.