Frugal Foodie Friday: Dairy-Free Creamy Thai Tomato Soup


This Creamy Thai Tomato Soup was a very happy accident. I was in the kitchen, experimenting yet again. I have been in constant pursuit of the perfect Thai Lettuce Wraps. It was my fifth round of attempts (yes, I said fifth). All prior recipes were okay, but not quite there, so I decided to go with a different inspiration, one with a tomato-y base. I used a recipe as my general guide, and all seemed to be going well, until I added the coconut milk. Way, way too much. The seasonings were so diluted in the sauce that I knew the remaining chunks of veggies and meat wouldn’t be flavorful enough on their own.

Dairy-Free Creamy Thai Tomato Soup

I was about to give in, serve them in the lettuce wraps, and chalk it up as another mediocre attempt when something compelled me to just give the sauce a little taste to see if it was worth salvaging in some other way. IT WAS DELICIOUS. I seriously impressed myself. Not wanting to waste a drop, I added more light coconut milk and served it up as a chunky soup / stew. We licked our bowls clean within mere minutes. Needless to say, I have already made this Creamy Thai Tomato Soup again, and again.

Special Diet Notes: Creamy Thai Tomato Soup

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free, peanut-free, and gluten-free.

For vegetarian / vegan: Substitute in tofu for the meat, and/or feel free to go crazy with the veggie suggestions or your own ideas. As for fish sauce – there is a vegetarian version on the market, or you can make your own homemade version. Or in a pinch, substitute soy sauce (adding some nori flakes if you have them – seaweed gives it more of that fishy taste).

Frugal Foodie Friday: Dairy-Free Creamy Thai Tomato Soup
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (substitute peanut, olive, or grapeseed oil if you wish)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced leek (about 1 medium – whites and lower green, tough leaves removed) or thinly sliced yellow/white onion (about ½ medium onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon finely minced ginger
  • 8 ounces lean or extra-lean ground turkey (can substitute chicken or tofu - see notes above)
  • 1 8-ounce can plain tomato sauce (like Hunt’s or generic)
  • ½ tablespoon red curry paste
  • 1 cup light coconut milk or unsweetened coconut milk beverage
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon lime zest
  • ½ tablespoon lime juice
  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the leek or onion and sauté for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger, and sauté for 1 minute more.
  4. Turn the heat up to medium, and add the turkey. Cook, breaking it up as you stir, until cooked through, about 7 minutes or so.
  5. Stir in tomato sauce and curry paste, and allow the flavors to meld for about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients (coconut milk through the lime), and let the soup simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken a bit.
  7. Serve.
Optional Veggie Add-Ins: This recipe is very friendly to veggies in terms of taste. On the first go, I added 2 full cups of baby spinach leaves near the very end of simmering. The second time I added about 1.5 cups of thinly sliced cabbage after the onions. Both were wonderful (I think we liked the spinach best though). Some other veggies that really appeal to me for this recipe are cauliflower, eggplant (would need a bit more saute time), and baby corn.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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