10 Vegetarian friendly recipes

Som Tam papaya salad
For a vegetarian Som Tam papaya salad, substitute soy sauce for fish sauce.

10 Vegetarian friendly recipes

Many Thai dishes combine a small amount of fish or seafood or fish based seasoning like dries shrimp, fish sauce or oyster sauce, so traditionally Thai cuisine is not vegetarian or vegan. However, a lot of Thai recipes can be easily adapted to be vegan or vegetarian since they use a lot of vegetables, herbs and spices.
So it is quite easy for home cooking to adjust the ingredients and they can still be very tasty too. Here are some of our recommendations for plant-based and vegetarian Thai dishes you either cook at home.

1. Vegetarian Pad Thai

Pad Thai is a stir-fried noodle dish which is now world-famous and is rated as one of the most delicious foods in the world. Pad Thai is easy to make, and the ingredients used in this dish are quite simple, but you can add your own favorite ingredients to make it special as well. Pad Thai is normally served with some type of meat, such as shrimp or chicken.
However, the dish is just as delicious without meat.
See how to cook easy and quick Pad Thai (and you can just skip shrimp or replace with baked/fried tofu instead).

2. Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad)

The famous Som Tam or Green Papaya salad is nearly a plant-based dish by default since it is made up of freshly shredded green papaya, juicy tomatoes, garlic, sugar, lime, chilli and tamarind juice and topped with roasted peanuts. However, this salad dish is usually seasoned with fish sauce and dried shrimp which you can easily substitute the sauce with light soy sauce and omit the shrimp. Try our Som Tam Salad Recipe which is very easy to make, but flavorful and healthy.

Coriander roots Thai cuisine

3. Vegetarian Larb

Traditional Larb is a spicy meat salad, with minced pork, chicken, beef or duck, mixed with herbs and spices but can be adjusted to be made vegetarian. Replace the meat with some tofu, mushroom or plant-based meats and light soy sauce to substitute the fish sauce, then you will get another delicious meat-free meal.

4. Tofu Green Curry Fried Rice

The traditional recipe of green curry commonly uses chicken and fish sauce, but you can replace the meat with baked tofu (or alternative proteins as you pick) and fish sauce with light soy sauce. Add more flavor to the tofu by marinade it with peanut sauce before stir-fried until it is golden brown. Then make the green curry sauce with vegetables( green peas, mushroom, or eggplants) before adding cooked rice and mixing well. Add the tofu and fresh coriander on top when it’s ready to serve. See the full recipe in our Tofu Green Curry Fried Rice Recipe.

5. Thai Peanut and Quinoa Salad

This Thai-inspired quinoa salad is made of cooked quinoa, purple cabbage, carrot, snow peas, spring onions and ginger. Add more flavors with light soy sauce, lime, and yummy peanut sauce.
A simple, easy, tasty dish for your dinner, but very filling and nutritious. See the full recipe in Thai Peanut and Quinoa Salad Recipe.

6. Spring Rolls

Spring Rolls are great as appetizers and lunch. There are no definitive rules about spring rolls’ filling, but typically, you will find a mix of finely chopped or shredded vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, carrots. Meats like minced pork, shredded chicken or shrimp are popular choices for the filling as well. Usually served with sweet or chilli dipping sauce as you pick. For the meat-free recipe, you can just skip meats or replace them with baked Tofu or soy sauce stir-fried chopped mushrooms to add extra umami flavor into the filling. Try our Spring Roll Recipe.

7. Tofu Red Curry

Another curry idea which is suitable for your weekend dinner. It is very easy to make, but still gives a satisfying result with a rich, creamy and deliciously spicy flavor.
To add more flavor to the curry, we recommend you cut tofu into cube shapes and stir-fry until it is golden brown before mixing the tofu with the curry. Try our vegetarian Tofu Red Curry Recipe here.

8. Crispy Sweet & Sour Tofu

This stir-fried dish is a combination of fried tofu, pineapple, red pepper, onion, tomatoes and spring onions. Seasoning with light soy sauce, rice vinegar, and Sriracha chilli sauce to balance the sweet, sour, and savory flavors.
Check our Recipe of Crispy Sweet & Sour Tofu for the full ingredients list.

9. Tofu Satay with Peanut Sauce

Satay is a dish of seasoned, skewered, and grilled meat, poultry, or seafood and served with a peanut sauce. The dish is influenced by Indonesian cuisine but adapted into Thai style with a lovely peanut sauce. For the vegan recipe, we recommend using firm tofu so it can be grilled without falling apart.
Since tofu is quite bland, it is better to marinade it before cooking and you can use a variety of seasoning or pastes from soy sauce, red curry paste, Sriracha sauce or Satay BBQ paste to flavor it. And satay cannot be complete without a peanut sauce, but making the right sauce can require more time and skills than preparing the tofu. So if you think a peanut sauce is too complicated, there are many ready-to-eat Satay sauces available in the Asian stores or online including deSIAM Satay peanut sauce.

10. Tom Yam Soup

The Thai Tom Yam soup can be transformed into vegetarian/vegan and can be delicious as the meat recipe. You can substitute fish sauce and chicken stock with soy sauce and good-quality vegetable stock.
Replace the meat with mixed mushrooms like Shiitake, King Oyster or Straw mushrooms, tofu or plant-based meats, and it tastes as good as the original. Tom Yam is also said to help fight off cold and flu viruses, so it does not only taste good but is also very healthy.