This recipe for red curry pasta in made in one pot and is incredibly easy to prepare. With plenty of flavor from Thai red curry paste, garlic, onion and coconut milk, this delicious vegan dinner is warm, spicy and satisfying!
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Is Red Curry Pasta Vegan?
Curry pasta recipes may be vegan but it’s common to include non-vegan ingredients like meats, poultry or seafood. This dinner recipe offers plenty of plant-based protein from chickpeas and edamame while keeping it easily vegan!
Pasta is almost always vegan unless it’s fresh pasta, which may contain eggs. Since this recipe uses dry pasta, it’ll likely be vegan but read packaging labels to be sure!
The main flavor in this recipe is Thai red curry paste, an incredibly flavorful ingredient made from aromatic herbs and spices. Red curry paste is traditionally vegan although reading the label before buying is always a good practice!
Why Make Curry with Pasta?
Most curry recipe use noodles (ex. rice noodles) rather than pasta. While noodles are delicious, they offer a different taste and texture compared to pasta which is typically made from wheat.
Pasta provides a more rigid texture that holds up nicely when cooked in a heavy sauce like this creamy coconut curry sauce. The pasta also stores well for a longer time, making it great for meal prep. Noodles tend to soften and break apart with storage but this is less of a concern with a wheat pasta.
Ingredients to Make Creamy Red Curry Pasta
The key to a deliciously creamy curry pasta is using coconut milk as the sauce base. Coconut milk is incredibly rich and makes for a curry recipe that’s easily kept dairy free. Beyond the coconut milk, curry paste and plenty of veggies creates a delicious vegan one-pot pasta dinner!
All the ingredients needed for this recipe include:
- Pasta: Any type of small pasta (macaroni, small shells, farfalle, ziti, penne, etc.) will work in this curry pasta recipe. I often use rotini.
- Red curry paste: This ingredient is a common base in Thai-inspired curry recipes. It’s a dark red paste made from many delicious herbs and spices. Red curry paste blends vary by brand but typically include red chilies, garlic, lemongrass, salt, ginger and coriander.
- Vegetable broth: Pasta needs liquid to cook in and vegetable broth is a flavorful way to provide that liquid. I buy no-salt-added broth and add salt at the end if needed.
- Canned coconut milk: For a creamy curry pasta that’s still vegan, a can of coconut milk is essential. Buy the regular (not low fat) option.
- Canned diced tomato: A large can of diced tomato adds some liquid to help the pasta cook and forms a delicious red sauce. The tomato chunks are a great way to add veggies without any prep work!
- Bamboo shoot: I love the simplicity of this delicious vegetable that can be bought canned! Just drain the liquid and give the bamboo shoots a rinse before using.
- Edamame: This legume is a tasty way to add plant-based protein and healthy fats to any recipe. It’s an ingredient I always keep in the freezer so I can toss some into my meal for a boost of protein!
- Zucchini: This is one of my favorite vegetables since it’s so easy to prep. It offers a mild flavor and nice green color!
- Onion: I can’t cook without some onion for a delicious boost of flavor.
- Garlic: As with onion, garlic is essential in my cooking for a delicious layer of flavor. Use as much or as little as you like!
- Nutritional yeast: For a nice creaminess in the curry pasta, nutritional yeast is a tasty addition that boosts overall flavor.
How to Make Vegan Red Curry Pasta
This recipe is super quick to prep and incredibly easy to make in one pot. The main flavor comes from pre-made Thai red curry paste, which is an amazingly tasty ingredient full of aromatic herbs and spices.
Step 1: Prep Ingredients and Add to Large Pot
Start by chopping an onion and zucchini, then add them to a large pot. Mince garlic and toss into the pot.
Next, drain then rinse your chickpeas and bamboo shoot. Add them to the pot. Keep your can opener out to open the canned tomato and coconut milk; both of which get tossed into the pot.
Simply measure and toss everything else into the pot. Give it a stir and break up the curry paste so it dissolves into the other liquids.
Step 2: Cook and Serve
I wasn’t kidding when I said this was a quick and easy recipe. Once everything is in the pot, place it onto your stove over medium-high heat.
Bring to a boil, stirring regularly, and cook with the lid on for about 20 minutes. Scrape up anything sticking to the bottom of the pot when stirring.
At this point, leave the lid off and cook for another 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked to your liking.
When the pasta is cooked through, remove from heat and serve! If not fully cooked, you can remove the pasta from heat and let it sit for 5-8 minutes since the remaining heat will finish cooking it.
Red Curry Pasta Tips and Variations
The best tip I have for a one pot pasta recipe is to stir regularly. Pasta may stick to the bottom more at the beginning, so scrape the pot as you stir.
As your pasta nears the end of cooking, and there’s less liquid, this is another moment where it’s more likely to stick. Keep things moving to prevent this. Once the pasta is almost done, take the pan off heat and let it sit for 5-8 minutes. Leftover heat in the pot will finish cooking the pasta without too much liquid evaporating.
Substituting Red Curry Pasta Ingredients
This recipe is quite versatile and customizable since you can use pretty much any vegetables you like! If you don’t have (or don’t like) bamboo shoot and zucchini, some other vegetables that are delicious in this curry recipe include:
- Bell pepper
- Carrot (chop finely)
- Spinach or kale
- Snow/ snap peas (add towards end of cooking)
- Peas (can replace edamame)
Adjusting the Amount of Red Curry Paste Used
The other major adjustment you may want to consider is how much curry paste to use. Red curry paste is quite spicy since the base ingredient is red chili peppers.
The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of paste which creates a super flavorful pasta with a slight spicy kick. It’s certainly a tolerable heat, but if you’re sensitive to spice you may want to use less (try 1 tablespoon and add if you can handle more!).
I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy food so I wouldn’t want more heat than this. My husband still adds hot sriracha sauce though, so if you’re a fan of heat, that’s an option too.
If curry pasta just doesn't sound like what you want, there are other great pasta meals I also highly recommend. Check out my recipes for:
How to Store Leftover Curry Pasta
You can refrigerate leftover pasta in an airtight container for up to a week. This recipe holds together well if cooked in advance, so it’s a nice option for meal prep!
Heat leftovers in the microwave or warm through on the stove over medium heat, stirring in a pot until warm.
Red Curry Pasta
- 4 cups rotini pasta
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste
- 2 ½ cups vegetable broth (no salt added/ low sodium)
- 1 ½ cups coconut milk (14 oz/ 400 mL can)
- 3 cups diced tomato (28 oz/ 800 mL can)
- 2 cups chickpeas (19 oz/ 540 mL can, drained and rinsed)
- 1 ¾ cups bamboo shoot (17 oz/ 500 mL can, drained and rinsed)
- 1 cup shelled edamame (can substitute for green peas)
- 1 ½ cups zucchini , diced (about 1 medium zucchini)
- 1 cup red onion , diced (about 1 medium onion)
- 4-6 cloves garlic , minced
- ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
- green onion (to taste)
- cilantro (to taste)
- lime juice (to taste)
Prep Ingredients and Add to Large Pot
- Measure your rotini pasta, red curry paste, vegetable broth, shelled edamame and nutritional yeast into a large pot.4 cups rotini pasta, 2 tablespoons red curry paste, 2 ½ cups vegetable broth, 1 cup shelled edamame, ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
- Dice a medium zucchini and medium onion and add to pot.1 ½ cups zucchini, 1 cup red onion
- Mince some cloves of garlic and add to pot.4-6 cloves garlic
- Open a can of coconut milk and diced tomato; add both to the pot.1 ½ cups coconut milk, 3 cups diced tomato
- Open, drain and rinse a can of chickpeas and can of bamboo shoots; add to pot.2 cups chickpeas, 1 ¾ cups bamboo shoot
Cook and Serve
- Place lid on pot and bring it up to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Cook with lid on, at medium-high heat stirring regularly (scraping along the bottom of the pot to lift everything up and prevent sticking) for 20 minutes.
- Remove lid, lower heat to medium-low and cook, stirring regularly, for another 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked to your liking. Most of the liquid will become absorbed but there will be enough to coat everything in a nicely thickened sauce.
- Serve topped with chopped green onion, cilantro and/ or a squeeze of fresh lime juice.green onion, cilantro, lime juice
More Vegan Main Meal Recipes
Like this recipe? You should also try:
About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a long-time vegan with a Masters of Science in Food and Nutrition.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes.