Green soup that's LOADED with Thai flavors.
This recipe is inspired by the "tom kha gai", which is a Thai coconut soup flavored with lemongrass and galangal. Disclaimer: this is not a traditional Thai recipe, but it tastes delicious and it's loaded with greens! It has that nice balance of spicy/sweet, and comes complete with cashew butter tempeh!
Wanna take a sip?
Spinach is simmered in coconut milk with lemongrass, galangal, garlic, and mushrooms (not pictured, I forgot them in the photo!). Then I added a tablespoon of coconut sugar to balance with the other aromatics, and more particularly with the green chili pepper. The latter is optional and if using, make sure to remove the seeds and add only half of the chili, it will be more than enough to give the soup a nice kick.
Now onto the Galangal. It is a root that looks a bit like ginger but has a totally different flavor. You can find it in Asian markets. It's harder than ginger, meaning it can't be minced. It's usually removed from the soup after simmering but if you have a powerful blender you can leave it and blend with the rest of the ingredients.
Mushrooms take the recipe to the next level, resulting in a cheesy and earthy soup. Do not omit them!
Now here is a quick tip, if you don't have any galangal or lemongrass, you can still make this recipe! Okay, it might taste a bit different but it will do the trick: swap them for ½ teaspoon of green curry paste, and don't add the green chili otherwise it will be too spicy.
Green curry paste already contains galangal, green chiles, and lemongrass so you are covered!
Let's face it, a soup is never complete without the toppings. Here comes the tempeh. It's marinated for at least 30 minutes in a tasty combination of soy sauce, cashew butter, maple syrup, sriracha and toasted sesame oil. Have I ever told you how much I love sesame oil? Well, if you have been following the blog for a while you probably know. I have been using sesame oil so much lately I'm starting to wonder if it doesn't have some addictive properties.
For the other toppings, I went with some sprouts, red onion, and some chanterelle mushrooms.
This creamy curried green soup is delicious on its own, or with the cashew tempeh. It would also be a great addition to brown rice, or used as a sauce for pasta!
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
Curried Spinach Soup with Cashew Tempeh
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 5 cups packed spinach
- 1 15-ounce can coconut milk
- 1 stalk of lemongrass cut into 1-inch pieces
- ½ small green chili deseeded (optional, only if you like it spicy)
- 2 inch galangal peeled and roughly sliced into 2-3 pieces
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms about 4-5 mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- toppings: chanterelles, fresh basil, diced onion, lemon juice, black pepper optional
- 7 ounces tempeh
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoon cashew butter or other nut butter
- ¼ teaspoon sriracha
- 1 clove garlic minced
- Heat the oil in a large skillet, or saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. Rinse spinach, drain and add to the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly until spinach is wilted.
- Stir in the coconut milk and add lemongrass, galangal, mushrooms, coconut sugar, soy sauce, and green chili if using. Let simmer gently over low-medium heat for about 10 minutes, do not bring to a high boil.
- Remove from heat and discard the galangal. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately with a drizzle of lemon juice, and topped with the cashew tempeh and fresh basil. Soup will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
- Cut the tempeh into ½-inch cubes. Place the cubes in a baking dish, or large bowl. Set aside.
- Add the soy sauce, maple syrup, sesame oil, cashew butter, sriracha, and garlic to a small bowl and mix until well combined. Pour over the tempeh and stir to coat. Let marinate at least 1 hour or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add tempeh cubes, leaving the remaining marinade in the bowl.
- Sauté for 3-5 minutes, stirring regularly to cook the tempeh evenly. Deglaze the skillet with the remaining marinade and remove from heat. Serve with the curried spinach soup.
- You can blend the galangal with the other ingredients if you want. Just be aware: if you don't have a powerful blender you may feel some fibers in the soup.
- This soup is already thick, but it might thicken a bit more in the refrigerator because of the full-fat coconut milk, this is normal and it will become thinner/creamier once reheated. If you prefer a thinner soup, add ½ cup vegetable broth when blending the soup.
Such a hearty vibrant looking soup and am going to try it when it gets a little cold out here. Love Thai flavor any day.
It's the perfect soup on chilly days 😉
This is my first time at your site and I must say it is beautiful. Thank you for generously sharing your delicious looking (and tasting, I'm sure) vegan dishes with the world. I have added it to my reading list and will be trying some recipes very soon, I can't wait!
Thanks for your comment Chris! 😉
Well, maybe it was because I substituted lime leaves for lemongrass but I found the tastes quite incongruous and so did my partner. I ended up tossing the last bit out but using the tempeh on something else that seemed to suit it better.
Lime leaves are very pungent and are not a good substitute for lemongrass in this recipe I'm afraid.
Did not have lemongrass and galangal but decided to give it a try anyway. DELICIOUS!!! Thank you 🙂
Thanks Esther! 🙂
Hi Thomas! I would love to cook this soup, but I never saw tempeh sold here - is there anything it can be replaced? Thank you!
Hi Dina, you could use tofu or seitan.
Thank you Thomas for your reply earlier- I cooked this soup and it’s absolutely delicious! I’m not sure that I had bought tempeh though, it was written Pate de Soja and I bought it at the Asian supermarket. The taste, the texture - I love this recipe. Thank you again for your blog!
Thanks for your rating Dina 🙂 Humm...Pate de Soja doesn't seems like tempeh.
Where is the curry in the curried spinach soup????
Instead of using curry paste, I went for whole aromatics like lemongrass, chili, and galangal, which are the main ingredients of green curry paste.
Wow this looks decadent! Do you think I have to blend the mushrooms with the rest of the soup. I love the texture and taste of mushrooms, and was wondering how it would be if I left them in pieces?
Thanks Therese! Sure, feel free to set aside half or all of the mushrooms and then add back to the soup!