Thai-spiced Zucchini Stew

A chunky zucchini stew, beautifully spiced with a thin, bright, assertive coconut-lime curry broth & a lesson in being adaptable.

Thai-spiced Zucchini Stew

My intent here was to make a chilled, pureed, Thai-spiced curry soup. It would be summery and refreshing, and at the same time, strong with green curry flavor. A fantastic lunch just over the horizon. As you can see from the photos, that is not what happened. Instead, we have a chunky zucchini soup, beautifully spiced with a thin, bright, assertive coconut-lime curry broth. And it was better than the soup I'd originally imagined. Here's why.
Thai Zucchini Soup

Go With It

The best cooks I know are flexible, observant, adaptable, and resourceful - qualities I try to bring with me when I enter my own kitchen. In this case, I went to make lunch. Shallots were prepped, zucchini chopped, things began to progress through the initial cooking process. The shallots were sautéed, the green curry added in a quantity that was assertive but (hopefully) not over powering, etc. As I got to the point in the process when I would have removed the soup from heat, pureeing it into silky deliciousness, I realized this approach was going to be mistake. I could sense, just by looking, the ingredients in the pot would not yield a vibrant, bright green pot of wonder, but instead, something a sad shade of green-brown. Time to rethink things.
Thai Zucchini Soup

A New Approach: A Chunky Zucchini Stew

Options: I could either boost the color with a bit of spinach greens (which I didn't have on hand), or come up with another approach. I decided to keep everything chunky, thin the broth out, and aggressively bump up the lime so the green curry coconut broth would be light, bright, tangy, and silky. Fantastic!
Thai Zucchini Soup

Here you see - It was served over cooked brown rice, and topped with everything within reach at the time: roasted cherry tomatoes, toasted nuts and seeds (something to bring a contrasting crunch to the zucchini). The shallots you see were covered in vinegar with a bit of salt at the beginning of the soup making process, another great topping. So happy things went this way. A reminder to trust your instincts as you’re cooking.
Thai Zucchini Soup

For anyone who might try the recipe, this is a very flexible soup. You could flare it out with a whole other host of other toppings. Leftovers were top notch! We enjoyed them the next day over beautiful egg noodles.

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Thai-spiced Zucchini Stew

4.46 from 11 votes

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or clarified butter
  • 1 cup sliced shallots (or onion)
  • 1-2 tablespoons green curry paste, or to taste
  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat)
  • 6 medium zucchini, loosely chopped (5 cups)
  • 1 cup water, plus more if needed
  • juice of one lime
  • cooked brown rice (or other grain)
  • topping ideas: basil oil, roasted cherry tomatoes, toasted nuts/seeds, quick pickled shallots, lots of lime, fresh herbs (coriander, basil)
  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stir in the shallots and a couple generous pinches of salt, and sauté until soft. Stir in the green curry paste along with a dollop of cream from the top of the coconut milk. Stir well, and sauté for another minute or so, until fragrant. 

  2. Stir in the zucchini with another couple of pinches of salt, and sauté, being careful not to brown, until the zucchini is tender 5-7 minutes, or so. Add the remaining coconut milk and the water, let everything come up to a simmer, and remove from heat. Season the soup with the juice of lime, and salt to taste. It's all about balance here, and the soup should be brothy with strong coconut-lime flavor. 

  3. Serve over a scoop of brown rice, topped with any (or all!) of the toppings suggested, or experiment with your own ideas.


Serves 4.

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
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4.46 from 11 votes (11 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating


Really easy and tasty soup! I used red curry paste, as that was what I had on hand, and it was delicious. I ate it with no grains or noodles for dinner but will pack it with brown rice for lunch tomorrow. Thank you for the great recipe!


This Thai Zuke soup is outrageous! Delightfully satisfying! Wow!


just made this since I had everything in house at once–so easy, so healthy, so goood! I used the full 2 T of green curry paste and it was quite spicy, but the lime juice and cilantro were nice balance, and we loved it. another Heidi winner for my collection.

carol t

This soup was amazing: super quick to whip up and very flexible. I made it for dinner last night for 2 with only 2 zucchini and red curry instead of green and my husband was very disappointed I hadn’t made more!!! Topped with chopped hazelnuts, parsley and basil. The lemon (I did not have lime) contrasted very nicely with the heat of the curry, this will definitely become part of our regular dinner menus! Thank you so much for this!!!

Helene T

Delicious! I didn’t have zucchini so I used a mix of summer squash from my csa. Instead of adding garnish I sautéed some mushrooms in the mix and let it simmer with some red chile and lemongrass. So amazing, thanks Heidi!

Amanda K

This dish was my first time cooking with curry paste and it was delicious!
Although, at my husband’s (uneducated) insistence, I ended up putting about 4 tablespoons of curry paste in the soup and oh my god was it spicy! Next time, we’ll dial it back a bit.


Tried it last night and used some freshly garden zucchini. It was SO easy and SO yummy. I would lighten up on the water so that the consistency has less soupy and a bit thicker. Definitely a keeper.


This was fantastic! I made it more of a stew than soup. I didn’t add any water, but I did add a can of drained chickpeas at the end. Made for a wonderful lunch, served over a bowl of brown rice. Thanks!


    Love this idea!

    Heidi Swanson

Yumm!! made soup for lunch- taking some to friend for her dinner!! Will make it again and again- it’s wonderful!! Even easier with farmers and Trader Joe’s nearby. Thanx Heidi!!


Wow… love the ingredients in the soup! I love thai food! Thanks for the post!

George SSF

This looks like a pot full of wonders! Definitely going to try this!


Made this tonight and it was a big hit! Before we were done eating, I was already looking forward to tomorrow’s lunch leftovers. I poached some shrimp in the broth as it was simmering for a little extra something and it worked well. I garnished with pickled onions (a staple in my house), a bit of fresh cilantro, and peanuts. I will definitely make this again!


Mmm… reminiscent of my other favorite, your delicata squash/miso yumminess.
Thanks for another keeper! A few chunks of young potatoes help make both these fill my husband’s tummy!


After years of following your blog, today the recipe just jumped on me – I needed only zucchini and lime, I could use all those things I had in stock (I had two cobs of corn, fresh Thai basil, dried tomatos, roasted cashews, sesame seeds, coconut milk, onions and green curry). Instead of grains I went for soba noodles – and the result was wonderful!
You are so right, pureed it would have been not half as delicious.
Thanks so much for this great recipe.
Greetings from Germany.


I made this soup last night using zucchini, summer squash, and green beans. Topped it off with some cherry tomatoes, mint, and pepitas. Such a versatile recipe and a great way to use farmers market goodies that were about to go bad!


I love your dishware–where did they come from?

HS: Hi Khristina! Those bowls are by Colleen Hennessey.


Hello Heidi ….although it’s HOT here, I decided to try your recipe this evening & glad I did! I added some red pepper flakes while sautéing the onions & also added a pinch of allspice, curry powder & allspice. Since I had some vegetable stock in the freezer I used it rather than plain water. Delicious! Thanks.

Teresa Walker

Love everything about this soup!! I usually cook with red curry – but now have a great recipe to try out using the green.

Deborah @ The Harvest Kitchen

If only all soups were this pretty and so full of flavour – wow! x

Jules @ WolfItDown

One of the best things cooks can do is realize when their initial plan just might not work out! Being adaptable is great. This soup looks amazing – Thai food is just incredible!

Christina Soong

You make the most gorgeous soups, even when happy accidents. But your lesson is spot on, it’s such a good reminder that we should all pay more attention to instincts in the kitchen, give them more credit than we usually do. I’ve been on a green curry coconut soup kick this summer, so this is right up my alley!

Katie @ Whole Nourishment

That is one hearty soup, it looks so mouthwatering! There’s nothing more comforting than enjoying a chunky soup on a really cold day so I will be trying this one for sure.

Jennifer @ Delicious Everyday

Heidi, not sure what possessed me to try this last night when it was hotter than Hades outside, but I’m sure glad I did! I replaced the brown rice with red quinoa and added chopped cashews at the end and the proceeded to eat two bowls of it! What a fantastic & simple recipe – you’ve done it again. Thank you!


This soup looks fantastic and since I have all the ingredients ( including cilantro and sacred thai basil ) I plan to make this soup over the weekend. I will however add some lemon grass to the broth, because after living 18 month in Thailand, I can’t imagine soup without at least a hint of it’s flavor.


I love coconut curries and made one with muscles the other night. I think keeping the zucchini chunky was a great save and I am sure delicious. It always pays to adapt when needed.

Ginger smith

I made this last night and added Thai-flavored tempeh and tons of basil. Delicious!


Looks and sounds delicious, def something to try next time I want soup… my toddler eats any soup served over rice! (and I enjoyed hearing about the process you took to make it, too). Thanks!


Wow this certainly does look very appealing and i am sure very tasty. I do totally get the”being flexible” about cooking . I love to just experiment with my cooking when I can … you can come up with some amazing meals.
thanks for sharing

Sebastian @ twokitcehnjunkies

Hi, Oh Please let us know at least one of the brands of Thai green curry paste you use. I feel that is the key to this soup’s success, other than of course gorgeous flavorful organic zukes. I’ve found that quite a few I’ve tried were horribly salty, or far too lemongrassy… anyway, your post was so enticing that I am making this damn soup tonight!!! Got a semi-decent looking Trader Joe’s brand green curry paste, and whole-fat coconut milk, great zukes, basil — I’m set! Thank you heidi for your inspiration :)))


Ah, yes – always go with your gut when creating a new recipe. That’s when the real magic happens. This looks like another delicious way to use up the zucchini surplus from my garden. Thanks Heidi!


Looks amazing. Love the parts about flexibility and last minute changes. It’s inevitable and inspiring. On a practical note, will light coconut milk here be a big no do you think? I happen to have some.


Yum yum yum. I always love your soups because they’re chunky and full of tasty things. Your simple tomato soup is one of my favorites because of the addition of the rice and nuts. Plain, silky soup gets so boring. I can’t wait to try this one too!

Sarah from Soymilk + Honey

A good way to navigate life as well. I love how this soup looks and sounds – I definitely trying it!!

susan // the wimpy vegetarian

What brand of curry paste do you use?

HS: Hi Allison – Sometimes I make my own, other times I buy the paste. And I switch up brands quite a lot. There’s one in a squat little tub that I like a lot (particularly the yellow curry), but I’m blanking on the name!


I like the recipe, but I know that green curry past is the hottest. Does it mean that soup is very hot and spicy? Thanks


I had an abundance of zucchini thanks to my CSA and I shredded and froze a lot of it. Do you think I can use that in the soup rather than chunky fresh zuccs? Obviously thaw and press out the extra water before using…..


Your timing couldn’t be better as I’ve got a countertop of the most varied volunteer summer squash from the garden and I was making lists of things to make/bake before the rest gets shredded and frozen. Thank you!


Yum!! Love the versatile zucchini! Have never seen it in Thai cooking– looks to be a delicious twist. The key will be the curry paste– can you please share names of your fave brand? Or your recipe if you make it from scratch? Thank you!xo


As I’m growing up and getting just a tiny bit wiser (in the kitchen, at least), I’m learning to adopt this approach of flexibility. I have ruined many a chunky soup in favor of sticking to my initial guns and pureeing, haha.
Love this idea for an easy summer dinner!


What a beautiful summer soup! I love the color 🙂

Sarah | Well and Full

This was fantastic! I made it more of a stew than soup. I didn’t add any water, but I did add a can of drained chickpeas at the end. Made for a wonderful lunch, served over a bowl of brown rice. Thanks!


Heidi! I love your recipes. The toppings you put on top of your dish look beautiful. I was wondering what type of nuts/seeds did you use as a topping?


Did you serve the soup over rice, or a different grain?


This looks so delicious. And I know what you mean about the flexible way of cooking, I often end up with something entirely different to what I first meant to cook.


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