Rich, warm, and creamy, with a kick of spice and zest, this Whole30 Thai Coconut Soup with Shrimp (or Tom Kha Goong) has it all! Perfect for meal prep, it is super comforting. This satisfying paleo shrimp soup can be easily made vegan as well.
This post was originally published on January 16th, 2020.
I remember the first time I tried my favorite soup, Tom Kha. There was an amazing Thai restaurant open until 3am in downtown Austin, TX, so a friend and I went after a gig one night. Did my mind explode with the delicious flavor? Yes. Did I start ordering it every time I saw it on a menu? Yes. Every. Single. Time. Oh, how I love Thai food!
❤️ Why I can’t get enough of this Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup
- This great recipe is SUPER filling. Soup recipes can often be pretty light and thin. I was pleasantly surprised at how thick and creamy I managed to make this delicious soup without dairy and flour.
- It’s packed with great nutrition. Chili peppers (digestive health, heart & metabolism), lime (vitamins A, B, C & D, minerals, antioxidants), lemongrass (prevents bacteria and yeast growth), ginger (anti-inflammatory, antioxidant), garlic (vitamin C & B6, manganese, great for colds and reducing blood pressure) plus lots of different good fats and protein from the nuts and shrimp.
- The aromatic flavors in this Whole30 Thai Soup with coconut milk are 100% absolutely delicious.
- This shrimp recipe is so easy to make! One pot wonder =]
- Skips non-whole30 compliant ingredients: It can be difficult to find whole30 red curry paste and fish sauce that are often in traditional thai coconut soup. They often have added ingredients like brown sugar which isn’t really necessary for this dish so I skipped them both, as well as soy sauce which isn’t compliant at all.
🗝️ Key Ingredients & Substitutions
Shrimp: Peeled, frozen shrimp is the easiest option for this recipe, however, you can also use unpeeled fresh shrimp, you’ll just need to peel it yourself. Jumbo prawns are also a good alternative.
Cashews: This secret ingredient makes this Thai shrimp soup super creamy and filling! Perfect for when you’re on a Whole30 diet.
Coconut oil: This is just to sautee the fragrant onions and herbs. You can substitute another healthy oil like olive oil or avocado oil if needed for this delicious recipe.
Onion, garlic, and fresh ginger: These ingredients add so much flavor and fragrance.
Lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves: These unusual ingredients can be easily found at an Asian grocery store or online. I buy mine at buywholefoods.com. I use dried instead of fresh lemongrass as it keeps longer.
Thai red chili peppers: For a kick of heat chili peppers are so tasty in this recipe. Feel free to skip it or add a little chili powder or red pepper flakes if needed.
Canned coconut milk: Make sure to use full fat coconut milk instead of light coconut milk for this shrimp coconut milk soup. It adds a depth of flavor to the Thai coconut shrimp soup and makes it more filling and creamy. Coconut cream and extra broth can be used in a pinch. I would add 2 packets of coconut cream and 2 cups of extra broth.
Vegetable broth: Homemade or store-bought is fine. You can substitute seafood broth, chicken stock, or chicken broth in a pinch.
Fresh limes: A squeeze of fresh lime juice really makes the aromas pop! Lemon juice can be used in a pinch.
Fresh cilantro: This fresh herb is a garnish, definitely a must if you have some on hand. Fresh basil or green onions are also good options but I much prefer cilantro.
Shredded Nori: This optional ingredient just adds a little more nutrition. It’s a great substitute for a vegan option instead of shrimp as well.
🥣 How to make Thai Shrimp Soup
1. Add cashews to boiling water and let sit for at least 10 minutes. You can prep this the night before.
2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
3. Sautee onions for 2-3 minutes
4. Add garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and chilis. Sautee for 2 – 3 minutes.
5. Add coconut milk then kaffir lime leaves, and stir.
6. Blend cashews in their water and add to pot.
7. Add the veggie broth, and stir.
8. Add salt to taste.
9. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
10. Add shrimp and cook for 5 more minutes.
11. Serve in a bowl with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and cilantro/coriander.
This Thai shrimp soup stores very well in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Let the soup cool completely before storing it. It tastes even better the next day so be sure to make extra!
Reheat it in a pot on the stove until piping hot or in the microwave.
🪄 Recipe Notes & Tips
Vegan? No problem! To make this a vegan Thai Coconut Soup, skip the shrimp and add some nori (seaweed) and 1 block of extra-firm tofu. Brown the tofu on all side first and remove before beginning the recipe (or cook it in a separate pan).
Shellfish allergies or no shrimp available? Try thinly sliced chicken breast or white fish instead, or just leave it out. You can also bulk it up with extra vegetables like red bell peppers.
Like it really spicy? Add more chili peppers and ginger. You can also try adding a couple of tablespoons of red curry paste or green curry paste to make Coconut Curry Soup.
🍽️ What to serve with the BEST Thai coconut soup
There are a few different options for this hot soup depending on your diet preferences.
Steamed Rice: This is a traditional option but not paleo, whole30, keto, or low-carb.
Rice noodles: Another gluten-free option, but again, not compliant with these diets.
Cauliflower rice: This is a great option for any diet including Whole30, paleo, and low-carb. Broccoli rice can be made the same way if you prefer broccoli over cauliflower. All you have to do is grate the cauliflower or broccoli and stir fry it until it’s soft.
Zucchini Noodles: Zoodles are another great option for any diet. Follow my Chinese Zoodles recipe to learn how to make them, just skip the seasoning used there.
Sweet Potatoes: These can also be made into noodles or even wedges as an easy side to this healthy soup.
😋 More healthy Whole30 recipes you will love
- Whole30 Scalloped Potatoes
- Paleo Sesame Broccoli
- Whole30 Pork and Sauerkraut
- Whole30 Breakfast Casserole with Sweet Potatoes
- Whole30 Ground Beef Recipes
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Paleo Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup Recipe (Tom Kha Goong)
- 425 g 15oz peeled shrimp (550g (19.5oz) unpeeled), vegetarian/vegan – see note 1
- 300 ml 1 + 1/4 cup boiling water
- 110 g 1/2 cup cashews
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 red onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp ginger minced
- 2 stalks of lemongrass see note 2
- 2 red chilis diced
- 2 x 400ml cans coconut milk
- 3 kaffir lime leaves
- 500 ml vegetable broth
- 2-3 tsp salt to taste
- 1-2 fresh limes cut into wedges
- fresh coriander optional
- shredded Nori optional, to taste
- Add cashews to boiling water and let sit for at least 10 minutes. You can prep this the night before.
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Sautee onions for 2-3 minutes
- Add garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and chilis. Sautee for 2 – 3 minutes.
- Add coconut milk then kaffir lime leaves, and stir.
- Blend cashews in their water and add them to the pot.
- Add broth, and stir.
- Add salt to taste.
- Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Add shrimp and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Serve in a bowl with fresh lime juice and fresh cilantro/coriander.
- Vegan? No problem! To make this a vegan Thai Coconut Soup, skip the shrimp and add some nori (seaweed) cut into 1-inch squares.
- Lemongrass: I cut the lemongrass into 1 inch cubes for ease, but if you'd like extra flavor, mince the lemongrass. Highly recommended.
- Shellfish allergies or no shrimp available? Try thinly sliced chicken breast or white fish instead, or just leave it out. You can also bulk it up with extra vegetables like red bell peppers.
- Like it really spicy? Add more chili peppers and ginger. You can also try adding a couple of tablespoons of red curry paste or green curry paste to make Coconut Curry Soup.