With a squeeze of lime, a splash of coconut milk, and a sprinkling of peanuts, you’ll be making tempting Thai vegan food in no time! Here at PlantX, we’ve got an amazing array of Thai-inspired ingredients to help you get started.
What are the Main Ingredients in Thai Food?
Traditional Thai food is known for its generous use of fresh herbs and spices. Typical flavors are fresh, fragrant, and complex, with lots of garlic, galangal, cilantro, lemongrass, shallots, kaffir lime leaves, shrimp paste, fish sauce, and chilis. Palm sugar is added to many dishes for sweetness, and fresh lime and tamarind are used to add a fresh and sour lift.
Thai cuisine varies across different regions of Thailand. It is influenced by neighboring countries, including Laos, India, Vietnam, and China, and shaped by the country’s diverse topography, with cool, forested mountains in the north, swathes of flat, wet plains perfect for rice-growing in the center, and tropical jungle in the south.
Thai food falls broadly into 4 categories, marked by words you might recognize from your favorite plant-based Thai food dishes:
- Tom - boiled dishes
- Yam - spicy salads
- Tam - pounded foods
- Gaeng - curries
This complex and dynamic cuisine is characterized by the consistent use of the freshest, natural ingredients. You can also expect to enjoy a harmonious interplay between sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and spicy flavors, and vibrant, eye-catching colors.
Can Vegans Eat Thai Food?
You might have noticed that non-vegan Thai food does heavily feature a few animal-based ingredients, such as fermented fish, shrimp sauces and pastes, other seafood, and eggs. With this in mind, is it possible to make Thai food vegan? The answer: Of course! It is not difficult to omit or substitute these ingredients for plant-based alternatives to create authentic plant-based Thai food that is healthy, delicious, and cruelty-free.
Plus, it’s really the fresh fruits, veggies, herbs, and spices that steal the show, meaning plant-based Thai food never feels like a compromise! Consider substituting fermented fish-based ingredients with miso for that salty, umami kick. Ocean’s Halo Vegan Fish Sauce is a fantastic cruelty-free alternative to traditional fish sauce, and Just Egg will add the perfect creamy scramble to your vegan Pad Thai.
The Benefits of Thai Vegan Food
The benefits of plant-based Thai food are many! This vibrant cuisine is packed with color, flavor, and texture. Plus, if you make it yourself, it’s fresh, low in fat, and full of essential nutrients.
- Naturally Vegan Ingredients
Traditional Thai food is also full of ingredients commonly used in your favorite vegan dishes such as coconut milk, cashews, and tofu. These nutrient-dense staples, alongside plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, mean that many Thai vegan foods are already full of all the plant power you need for a balanced plant-based diet.
- Balance for Your Body
Plant-based Thai food is characterized by a healthy balance between protein, healthy fats, and carbs. With plenty of fresh, crunchy veggies, lean protein, anti-inflammatory spices, and creamy coconut milk, eating plant-based Thai food will leave you feeling satisfied, nourished, and energized.
- Fantastic Flavors
One of the best things about plant-based Thai food is that it’s never boring. Packed with zest, spice, and bold, bright flavors, eating Thai vegan food will always liven up your day!
How Can I Cook Plant-Based Thai Food at Home?
- Source the freshest ingredients you can
The bright colors and punchy flavors that characterize vegan Thai food come from fresh, high-quality fruits, veggies, and herbs. Become a regular at your nearest farmers market or produce store and get to know what’s in season. Fresh limes, chilis, Thai basil, and lemongrass are a must! Add some Thai vegan food store cupboard staples from PlantX and you’re ready to go!
- If you’ve got the time, try making your Thai curry pastes from scratch
Invest in a pestle and mortar and individual fresh ingredients for fragrant, authentic vegan Thai curries that will blow you away. Make your paste on a Sunday afternoon and keep it in the fridge for quick weeknight dinners. And don’t worry - if you’re really in a pinch, we have a fabulous range of pre-made Thai pastes and sauces made from simple, natural ingredients!
- Timing is everything
Prepare and chop everything in advance, have all your ingredients to hand, and double-check the recipe before turning on the stove. Many plant-based Thai food dishes are quick to cook and this way, you can easily add things in at just the right moment!
Vegan Thai Food: Top Picks
Want delicious Thai vegan food in just 2 minutes? Low in saturated fat and with 0 cholesterol, this instant noodle bowl is a great healthy fast food option.
Essential for vegan Thai curries, soups, and sauces, this ethically sourced organic coconut milk is a must for your vegan Thai food store cupboard.
With all the delicious fresh flavors of traditional Pad Thai, this instant noodle soup is ideal for work lunch breaks or enjoying on the trail. It’s gluten-free, non-GMO, and oh-so-convenient!
Light, umami, and full of flavor, this organic broth is perfect for making your own vegan Thai soups. Made with superfood seaweed, this tasty Thai broth is a great source of iodine and vitamin D.
Don’t have the time to make a curry paste from scratch? Spicy, aromatic, and rich, whip up your very own Thai red curry with this easy-to-use paste.
Ready in just 5 mins, these rice noodles are ideal for making your own vegan Pad Thai, as well as stir-frys, soups, and cold noodle salads.
Mildly spiced, nutty, and creamy, this peanut dipping sauce and marinade is ideal for serving with summer rolls or marinating tofu for some tasty satay skewers.
Delicious Thai Vegan Food Recipes
Here at PlantX, we are pleased to offer you some easy Thai-inspired recipes to get you whipping up the best vegan Thai food in the comfort of your own kitchen.
- Packed with fresh veggie goodness, this Vegan Red Thai Curry is fragrant, creamy, and delicious. Serve it on a bed of jasmine rice with a couple of fresh lime wedges. This easy curry would also make an impressive vegan main course for your next dinner party!
- If you’re looking for a delicious vegan dessert that’s a bit different, try making Mango Sticky Rice. With warmly spiced sticky rice simmered in coconut milk and fresh juicy mango, this is vegan comfort food at its finest.
- Perfect as a light lunch or Thai vegan food starter, these Thai-Style Summer Rolls are fresh, crunchy, and make an exciting alternative to a normal wrap or sandwich. Serve with a spicy peanut sauce for maximum Thai tastiness!
So, what are you waiting for? The best vegan Thai food is just a click away… Stock up on noodles, sauces, and pastes, and pop your chef’s hat on. Plant-based Thai food is one of the most rewarding cuisines to master, and we’re pretty sure you’re going to be a pro in no time. Make your favorite Thai food vegan and never miss out again!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Thai food usually vegan?
Traditional Thai food often contains animal products such as fish sauce, shrimp paste, and eggs. Therefore, when you go out to eat in a Thai restaurant, it’s important to check whether the tofu and veggie dishes contain these ingredients.
However, there are more and more vegan Thai food options available these days. Plus, if you make plant-based Thai food from scratch, it couldn’t be easier to switch out any animal-based ingredients for vegan alternatives and make Thai food vegan!
Is Thai food spicy?
Vegan Thai food is spicy. To truly enjoy the best vegan Thai food, it’s great if you can handle the heat! With plenty of fresh chili, dried chili, and chili pastes, plant-based Thai food is bursting with rich spicy flavors.
However, if spicy food is not your thing, it’s perfectly possible to enjoy vegan Thai food that’s a bit more mellow. Rich in aromatic spices such as ginger, lemongrass, cilantro, and galangal, you can tone down the spice in your Thai vegan food without compromising on authentic Thai flavors.
What is Thai food similar to?
While vegan Thai food is unique, it is related to other cuisines in the region of Southeast Asia. It shares similarities with Malaysian food, Chinese food, and Vietnamese food, such as the abundant use of fresh spices and herbs and the centrality of rice. If you’re a fan of Asian food in general, chances are you’ll love vegan Thai food too!
However, the subtle layering of fragrant, zesty flavors, with bolder savory and spicy flavors make plant-based Thai food a distinctive culinary experience.
Can Thai food be gluten-free?
While there are a couple of sneaky wheat-based ingredients to keep an eye out for, lots of the best vegan Thai food is naturally gluten-free. The staple grain in Thai vegan food is rice and dishes are usually based around rice and rice noodles, rather than wheat. In fact, rice is such an essential part of the Thai diet that a common greeting translates to mean ‘Have you eaten rice yet?’!
This makes it easy to enjoy authentic and gluten-free plant-based Thai food without having to make too many changes. Just remember to opt for a gluten-free soy sauce alternative like Ocean’s Halo No Soy Soy-Free Sauce, or San J Tamari Soy Sauce to add that essential umami depth.
We also have a fantastic range of gluten-free noodles for you to choose from to make celiac-safe vegan Thai food. Try making Thai food vegan AND gluten-free - you’ll be surprised at how simple it is!
If you’re keen to cut the carbs all together, start exploring the wonderful world of plant-based Thai food salads. These fresh and fragrant dishes composed of raw fruits and veggies are nourishing, refreshing, and delicious, packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Serve alongside some marinated tofu, plenty of nuts, or your favorite meat-free alternative for a plant-powered protein boost.