(Toddler Friendly) Gluten Free Vegan Thai Curry Sauce

When my son was 1-2 years old, he loved eating Thai, Indian, New Mexican, and other spicy foods with us! Recently, he’s turned 2 and a half years old and his dietary habits have begun to change. In an effort to keep his palate varied, I have been experimenting with different versions of our favorite foods to see which he’ll gladly eat. Luckily, my little guy still loves soups!

Nutritionally speaking, for this red curry sauce, I aimed to keep it vegan, gluten free, low-fat, and only moderately spicy. The soup is NOT low-fat as there is an entire can of coconut milk added to it (including the cream); but it would of tasted fine with only half a can. Since we do not eat high-fat foods often, I was OK adding this in to keep the taste authentic. Also, neither soup nor sauce are low in sodium. It is best to eat low-sodium foods most of the time and I typically add salt to each individual serving to adjust the taste for everyone and this really does help keep the sodium content down, but for this recipe we just added in all together in the form of bouillon and/or broth.

Below you will find the recipe for the sauce as well as a soup we made with it and lastly suggestions for storage. This sauce can keep frozen for many months (3 in a regular freezer or 6 in a deep freeze), and about 7-10 days in the refrigerator if kept in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. It is a great sauce to use as a condiment as well, so drizzle it over foods you think could use a kick of curry! This includes mock meats, tacos, wraps, JUST egg, other soups, and cooked ramen noodles.

The Recipe

2 cups of water

1 Red Curry bouillon cube (we used the Edward and Sons brand which is vegan and gluten free and has a mild red curry flavor)

4 stalks dried lemongrass

4 large garlic cloves

1/2 cup red and yellow bell peppers, chopped

1/2 cup mushrooms, try shitake for more depth of flavor but really any kind will do (frozen is fine)

3 tsp shredded ginger (frozen teaspoon cubes are fine)

6-8 green onions, chopped (separate the whites from the greens and set aside greens for adding in later)

2 Tbsp ketchup

2 tsp fresh lime juice (or frozen)

1.5 Tbsp mild chile/chili powder

1 tsp sugar (coconut sugar, date syrup, or coconut nectar all work as well)

3/4 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp pepper, cracked

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2-4 leaves of a dried seaweed snack (or other dried seaweed you have, about 1 Tbsp total; these give a umami taste along with the mushrooms)

Coconut milk (you will only add this milk to the dish you make with the sauce, do not add it until ready to use; add in 3 Tbsp of coconut milk for every 1 cup of curry sauce you make)

  1. In a large stockpot combine ingredients from water through cinnamon and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove to a tall heatproof glass for blending, add your seaweed leaves and let sit for 10 minutes before blending with an immersion blender.
  3. Blend until completely smooth.
  4. You can store this as outlined above. To continue with the ramen soup, see below.
Begin by boiling the ingredients for your curry sauce.
To blend, find your tallest heatproof measuring cup or bowl to prevent it splashing out. Avoid using plastic. Keep toddlers and kids at a distance for this portion.
Your curry sauce will have a deep red tone to it.

For The Soup:

1 cup of red curry sauce from above

Veggies of choice

Ramen cakes (1 per person, even the tiny ones!)

Vegetable broth, 6 cups for 4-6 servings

  1. Return 1 cup (you can add more to each bowl as a topping later to adjust spice level) of the red curry sauce to your stockpot and add in 6 cups of vegetable broth plus your vegetables of choice. Cook on low heat for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
  2. Cook ramen. If you are not going to consume all of the soup at once, cook the ramen separately for the easiest soup storage and best quality of soup.
  3. Serve your soup hot and drizzle with vegan fish sauce and coconut aminos. Follow the suggestions below for spice level:
    • For an adult or child that loves spice, drizzle with 2-4 Tbsp additional red curry sauce from above recipe as well as the vegan fish sauce and coconut aminos.
    • For a toddler or people who do not like spicy foods, drizzle with vegan fish sauce and coconut aminos.
    • The vegan fish sauce is key to that traditional Thai noodle soup taste, so be sure to keep some on hand! You can find many recipes online if you wish to make your own. The Minimalist Baker has a great recipe.
Our soup had a lovely deep purple hue that turned into a lavender color with the addition of our coconut milk.

Soup Suggestions:

  • Common veggies for Thai curry soups include bok choy, snow peas, bamboo shoots, cauliflower florets, and potatoes. However, if you are like me, I often enjoy adding in deep purple and dark green foods to our meals to increase the nutritional content. My soup below actually has a lovely lavender color from purple cabbage.
    • If you want to keep the colors of your vegetables vibrant, you can do quick cook methods like steam/blanch or a quick stir-fry using spray oil then adding them to the bowls at serving time.
  • Try other grains. If you and/or your little are just not into noodles (they can be frustrating for toddlers to eat and we, in fact, before serving to my little man) mix the curry sauce with the coconut milk and vegetables of choice and then serve it poured over rice, quinoa, or other cooked whole grains your family enjoys.
Here you can see the lavender color with drizzles of the dark red curry sauce which gets most of its color from the New Mexican mild chile powder and seaweed crisps.

Storage Suggestions

Any soup with pasta tends to not keep well especially for more than a day, so if you plan to make enough for several meals, strain out the vegetables and noodles and store them separately to help with the longevity of the soup. You can also just make your pasta separately and combine at each meal. You can make and store your curry sauce, your coconut/curry sauce soup mixture, and your noodle/veggie mixture in different containers to make your next mealtime easy. This also allows each family member to adjust the meal to their taste.

Here you see all 3 items ready to be chilled and refrigerated.

After doing it this way where I cooked the noodles in the soup, I’d HIGHLY recommend not doing that and to cook the noodles separately. When we ate the leftovers, the noodles were too soggy (but had a lot of the flavor stored in them), and the taste of our soup had dulled significantly. However, these noodles would have been great stir-fried. Good luck with your own creations!


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