One of our favorite dishes to order at a Thai restaurant is yellow curry with tofu. It’s one of those menu items that you can always count on to be “accidentally vegan.” Plus, no matter what type of food I’m craving at the time, yellow curry always seems to hit the spot. It’s flavorful, packed with veggies, and laced with a staple plant-based protein: tofu!
Well, friends, we’re delighted to share that you can now make your own vegan yellow curry with tofu at home!
This recipe is one of our most popular from our cookbook, The Friendly Vegan Cookbook, and gives all the comfort of dining out at a Thai restaurant from the comfort of home. Serve it up over freshly cooked white or brown rice, and your family will be raving about this delightful vegan dinner for days.
This recipe calls for onions, bell peppers, carrots, and broccoli, which are all typical of a classic yellow curry. But don’t let this stunt your creativity! If you have other veggies on hand—especially anything that may soon go bad—feel free to add them in.
Some Veggies That Would Work Well:
This recipe calls for two cans of full-fat coconut milk, which is quite key to the dish.
Note that coconut milk from a can is very different from coconut milk you’ll find in the refrigerator isle made for drinking. That won’t work here. You need that super-creamy thick coconut milk to create a curry that will match the decadence of the yellow curry dishes you’d find at an authentic Thai restaurant.
If you open the can and find that solid white coconut fat has separates from a clear liquid-y water, that’s okay. Scoop and pour the entire thing into the pot.
The star of the show is yellow curry paste. You can find yellow curry paste at most grocery stores in the ethnic section—just double check the ingredients to make sure there is no shrimp or shellfish. This is the one I use most often.
Yellow curry paste ingredients can vary, but the one I use is made with shallots, garlic, lime juice, galangal, salt, red chilli, turmeric, coriander, fennel, cumin, cinnamon, and clove. As you can imagine, making this mixture yourself is possible but can be quite a hassle, so getting a pre-made paste makes it easy.
While you probably don’t think of yellow curry as a particularly sweet dish, this little bit of sugar brings out the flavors and enhances the richness of the curry. You can use light brown sugar or dark brown sugar—either will work! If you don’t have any brown sugar, you can use white granulated sugar instead.
I love Yukon Gold potatoes the best in this recipe, but you can use whatever potatoes you have on hand! If you’re on a tight budget, russet potatoes are usually the least expensive, and they will work just fine. Red potatoes are also great in this dish! Or if you have little fingerling potatoes, you can toss them in without even having to cut them up.
We use Extra Firm tofu, and my favorite to use in this recipe is the kind you find in a vacuum-sealed bag because it’s the most firm, and won’t fall apart in the curry. But if you prefer a softer tofu, you can go for the variety stored in a tub of water, or try firm tofu. Avoid using soft tofu or silken tofu in this recipe, as it will disintegrate in the curry.
In The Friendly Vegan Cookbook we’ve included a “My Tips” section of each recipe, where you can take notes on what you’d add to the recipe to make it your own.
This vegan yellow curry with tofu recipe is from The Friendly Vegan Cookbook by Michelle Cehn (founder of World of Vegan) and Toni Okamoto (Founder of Plant-Based on a Budget). Photos by Zhoro Apostolov, published with permission from BenBella Books, all rights reserved. Please note that this article contains affiliate links.
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I can’t get over how tasty this recipe is!
I made this last night and it was delicious! Will probably be even better left over. This recipe made enough for my boyfriend and I to have it for dinner twice. Added lots of garlic and ginger when cooking the veggies.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! It’s one of my faves too 🙂
Oh this is fabulous! I love the flavors and all the healthy ingredients, perfect vegan dinner recipe!
What a wonderful dish packed full of flavor and ingredients that lend fantastic flavor and texture. Thank you for this recipe!
A curry recipe with lots of wholesome ingredients! It’s easy to follow and turns out to look exactly like the pictures.
I loved this curry! I used homemade curry paste, and it was delicious. I usually make it with sweet potatoes, but I used Yukon potatoes this time, as your recipe suggested… simply delicious! A keeper!
Delicious! We all loved this dinner!
I’ve never eaten yellow curry, though I love Thai green curry. I think I tried to make my own sauce once, but I couldn’t get hold of the proper ingredients so never tried again. I hadn’t realised it was easy to buy these days, so I’ll look out for it because your curry looks SO GOOD.
So glad to have another recipe that is delicious, versatile, and so beautiful! Thanks so much!
This recipe bring back my love for Tofu! I will defiantly make it again.
This is my go to dish. I take a small shortcut I buy the yellow curry sauce from Trader Joe’s.
Aww, hi dad! So happy you love this recipe 🙂 That makes my heart happy!
Soooo good, will definitely be making this again!
Hi. I made this recipe tonight for my daughter. When she had covid, and lost her sense of taste and smell, as she was getting them back , the smell of meat completely grossed her out. Only thing she can eat is Tuna. So we started looking for vegetarian recipes and I found this one and she agreed. It turned out great and she loved it. So this will go into our recipe binder. Thank you.
Aww, I’m so glad she loved it!! Cheers! -Michelle 🙂
Can this be made in a large batch and reheated as leftovers for several meals?
Absolutely! We’d love to hear how it goes! -Michelle 🙂
I just made this tonight. Fabulous! I’ve been looking for a yellow curry recipe that is as delicious as the one at our favorite Thai restaurant, and this is it. The flavors are amazing. (I did not add the broccoli.) My only criticism is that it was not as “saucy” as I would have liked. Next time I make it I may add more coconut milk. Any other ideas from anyone else who has made this recipe?
What a gorgeous photo!
I’m a big fan of curry right now and this recipe is next on my list to make from the new cookbook! It looks SO tasty!
Excellent recipe idea! My husband loves curry so I can’t wait to make this for him. The sauce looks super creamy and flavorful and it will be perfect over steamed rice. Now that we’re not able to dine out like we did before, he’ll be so surprised with a homemade curry at home. Yay!
Mmmmmm, I love curry! Will have to add this to my to-make list, was honestly surprised by how simple the sauce is to make!
We are big Thai food fans…and this curry dish is our family favorite.
I prefer firm tofu so I usually sauté it first. The turmeric and veggies add the healthy element that I like to see. Very flavorful and delish!
Yellow curry is one of my favorite dishes to order at Thai restaurants, but I LOVE that I can now make my own! This recipe is sooo delicious, I’ve made it many times, as has my hubby.