by Dreena Burton, Cookbook Author and Food Blogger
This beautifully flavored Thai Vegetable Stew is brimming with vegetables and tofu in a creamy peanut-coconut sauce that is not too rich or heavy. Sure to become a favorite!
Recipe reprinted from Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton, published by BenBella Books.
Photo courtesy of Dreena Burton.
Thai Vegetable Stew
- 3 to 4 tablespoons water
- 2 cups diced onion
- 5 medium-large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups cubed yams or sweet potatoes, peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or more if you like the heat
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped zucchini
- 1 cup chopped red, orange, or yellow pepper
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 3/4 to 1 cup water
- 1 13.5-ounce can light coconut milk
- 1/2 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter, almond, or cashew butter
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 to 1 12-ounce package firm or extra-firm tofu cubed, about 3/4” (see note)
- 6 to 8 cups fresh baby spinach leaves (see note)
- 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- fresh cilantro for serving, optional
- lime wedges for serving
- In a soup pot over medium heat, add the water, onion, garlic, yams, salt, coriander seeds, and red pepper flakes. Cover and let cook for 5 to 7 minutes.
- While cooking, prepare the lemongrass. Cut off the lower yellow bulbous portion (about halfway), and remove the outer tough leaves (discard outer leaves along with upper portion of stalk). Using your chef’s knife, bruise this bulbous portion. Cut a few shallow slits in the stalk and then use pressure from your knife to open and bruise the stalk to help release its flavors (do not chop the stalk, keep in one piece).
- Add the lemongrass, zucchini, bell pepper, stock, water, coconut milk, peanut butter (start with 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon), tamari, and fresh ginger.
- Stir through and increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to low/medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes.
- After this time, add the tofu (see note) and gently stir through.
- Simmer covered for another 3 to 5 minutes, or longer until yams have completely softened and can be easily squished.
- Add the fresh spinach and lime juice (start with 2 1/2 tablespoons, and add more if desired), stir through and serve immediately (so spinach stays a vibrant green color).
- Taste, and if you’d like a full peanut flavor, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or more if desired.
- Remove piece of lemongrass before serving.
- Serve garnished with fresh cilantro if desired, and with a lime wedge to squeeze juices on individual portions.
You can choose to use either the full package of tofu or a lesser amount to your preference. If you’d like a very substantial stew, use the full package (or most of it). If you’d like a lighter stew with fewer pieces of tofu, use roughly half of the package, and refrigerate the remaining tofu (tightly wrapped in plastic).
If you don’t care for tofu, add a can of black beans, rinsed and drained; roughly 1 3/4 to 2 cups. The beans will give similar hearty substance as the tofu.
Do not add the spinach until just ready to serve. If making this soup ahead of time, omit the spinach and then reheat soup, adding the spinach at the last minute and serve!
About the Author
Dreena Burton is one of the pioneering vegan cookbook authors. Vegan for more than 25 years, Dreena is also a mom to three “weegans.” She has charted her journey as a plant-based cook and mother of three through five bestselling cookbooks, including her most recent and beloved title Plant-Powered Families. Dreena has also collaborated with renowned plant-based physician Dr. Barnard on The Cheese Trap, and co-authored their most recent Cookbook for Reversing Diabetes.
Specializing in oil-free, whole-foods vegan recipes, Dreena’s secret ingredient is her passion. Reputed for reliability, her recipes bring whole foods together in unexpected ways to yield delicious flavors and rich textures. Dreena’s recipes are regularly featured by groups including Forks Over Knives, Engine 2 Diet, UC Davis Integrative Medicine, Kris Carr, Blue Zones, The Humane Society, and The Food Network.
Connect with Dreena’s online kitchen and community at www.dreenaburton.com.