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Vegetable Tom Kha Gai (Vegetable Coconut Soup)

Active Time: 25 minutes / Cook Time: 30 minutes / Total Time: 45 minutes

Makes 4 servings

Vegetable Tom Kha Ghi.JPG


  • 1 1” piece ginger OR galangal, washed and sliced into thick coins
  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass*, tough outer layers removed OR 2 3” strips lemon peel (just the yellow, none of the white pith)
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (you can use vegetable broth, but it will alter the flavor some)
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest and ¼ cup lime juice** (from about 5-6 limes)
  • 8 oz. shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. oyster mushrooms, torn into thin strips (or substitute shiitake or cremini)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, very thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, very thinly sliced on the vertical
  • 1 small hot red chile, halved (optional)
  • 1 (13.5) oz. can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce OR 1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari plus 2 teaspoons vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, divided lime wedges, for serving

*Lemongrass can be hard to find fresh (we do not recommend the dried or jarred; the flavor is not as good). If you do find it, it freezes beautifully when wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Buy extra and stash it away for other uses!

**If you can find them, Makrut (formerly known as Kaffir) lime leaves can be used in place of the lime zest and juice; you’ll need 10.


  1. Lightly smash the ginger. Cut the lemongrass into 4” pieces and lightly crush them with the flat side of your chef’s knife.
  2. Add ginger, lemongrass, lime zest and juice, and broth to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes.
  3. Strain the soup into a clean pan, or, if you don’t mind the lime zest floating around, use a slotted spoon to remove the ginger and lemongrass (or lemon peels).
  4. Bring the soup to a low simmer and add the mushrooms, bell pepper, onion, and hot pepper, if using. Cook until the mushrooms are softened but not mushy, about 20 minutes.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce, and coconut sugar.
  6. Remove from the heat, discard the chile halves, if desired, and stir in half of the cilantro.
  7. Once cool, divide soup into four airtight containers and top each with a sprinkle of the remaining cilantro and a lime wedge. Store in the fridge.