Satisfy your cravings with this easy flavor-packed vegan yellow curry with mixed vegetables.
This recipe for mixed vegetable curry is loaded with colorful veggies that can be customized to your preference. It’s a little spicy from the red chili, creamy from the coconut milk, and loaded with flavor from warm spices and fresh cilantro.
It's vegan, gluten-free, and easy to whip up! If you like curries try my creamy potato curry with coconut milk, butternut squash and chickpea curry using red curry paste, red lentil dahl, creamy black bean curry, or curry butternut squash chickpea soup using yellow curry powder.
See the recipe card below for a full ingredient list and measurements.
Fresh ginger root - In a pinch, ½ inch of freshly grated ginger root can be substituted with about ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger. The ground ginger will be milder than freshly grated ginger root.
Red chili pepper - I use a fresh cayenne pepper. If you can’t find one, it can be substituted with about ⅛-1/4 teaspoon of cayenne powder. It’s an estimate though because spice level can vary from pepper to pepper. Another substitute is a Serrano pepper, or a Thai chili (hotter than a cayenne pepper). For less heat try jalapeño chili peppers.
Vegetables - The recipe calls for red bell peppers, zucchini, and bok choy but almost any variety of vegetables can be used in this vegan yellow curry. Try it with carrots, broccoli florets, cauliflower, sugar snap peas, green beans, baby corn, red onion, sweet potatoes, or even frozen vegetables. Just keep in mind to adjust the cooking time if you substitute with a longer cooking vegetable.
If you use frozen vegetables there’s no need to thaw. Add them to the pan without the red chili. With the lid on (it will redirect any condensation back to the skillet) cook the vegetables until they’re softened and almost done. Then add the chili, garlic, and ginger and continue with the rest of the recipe.
Full-fat coconut milk - Use canned coconut milk to make this vegan yellow curry creamy. The refrigerated coconut milk won’t give you the same body and texture as the canned stuff does. Full fat can also be substituted with light coconut milk, for a reduced-fat version.
Tamari - If you don’t have tamari, low-sodium soy sauce can be used. This helps give the curry another depth of flavor.
Maple syrup - Agave syrup or brown sugar can also be used. Just a little sweetness to help balance the saltiness from the tamari and tanginess from the lime.
Chickpeas - The chickpeas (garbanzo beans) can be left out, or try adding crispy oil-free tofu. Try it with extra firm tofu or super firm tofu for a yellow tofu curry.
How to cook vegetables without oil
To sauté vegetables for this mixed vegetable curry without oil, start by preheating a nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add the vegetables, then turn down the heat so they don’t burn. The vegetables will release some of their own water, but if they start to stick just deglaze the pan with a tablespoon or two of water or vegetable broth.
Having a cup of water nearby that you can scoop from makes the process faster. A squeeze bottle full of water also works great to deglaze the pan and prevent the vegetables from burning. Be careful though, if you use too much liquid it will boil the vegetables instead of sautéing them.
Browning the vegetables in the pan will add flavor to the oil-free curry. The more often you cook this way the more you’ll get familiar with the proper settings you need to cook the vegetables without burning them.
Keep in mind that different pans hold heat differently. Some hold heat better than others, which also means it takes longer to reduce the heat in the pan when needed. I wouldn’t recommend sautéing small amounts of garlic or ginger by themselves, they burn easily.
Garlic (and ginger) burn easily, so if a recipe calls for an onion, add the garlic and/or fresh ginger after the onion has cooked. If a recipe doesn’t call for an onion or anything similar, wait until the vegetables have cooked most of the way before adding them to the pan.
Less spicy - Use a jalapeño and remove the seeds and white ribs from the chili.
Spicier - Leave the seeds and ribs in, and garnish with more fresh chilies. You can also try substituting with hotter chilies like Thai chili.
Don’t like cilantro - Just leave it out, the dish will still be delicious without it.
Worried about cutting chilies - Wear plastic or rubber gloves to protect your skin from the oils from the chilies. After slicing them, avoid contact with your eyes and wash your hands thoroughly.
- Instead of chickpeas try the vegan yellow curry with crispy oil-free tofu or tempeh.
- Almost any vegetables can be used, just adjust the time for cooking if needed.
How to freeze ginger
If you don’t use fresh ginger often, it can be frozen to use later. To freeze ginger, peel beforehand and pop the root in a freezer-safe bag. When ready to use there’s no need to thaw, just pull it out of the freezer and use a Microplane to grate the frozen ginger. It’s really easy to grate ginger when it’s frozen!
Cook the red bell pepper, zucchini, white parts of the bok choy (reserving the green parts for later), and red chili in a preheated large pot for about 8-10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Add a splash of water or vegetable broth to keep the vegetables from sticking for oil-free cooking (if you're not oil-free use a neutral-tasting oil or coconut oil). Alternatively, you can cook the vegetables in ¼ cup of water or vegetable broth if you don’t have a nonstick pan.
When the vegetables have softened, add the fresh garlic and ginger then sauté for 1-2 more minutes. Add yellow curry powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric powder (if using), and salt then stir to coat the vegetables. Cook for about 30 seconds until the spices are aromatic.
Use ½ cup of water to deglaze the pan, scraping off any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Now add the coconut milk, tamari, maple syrup, and chickpeas. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook covered for about 10 minutes for the flavors to blend together.
Then stir in the green parts of the bok choy and cook uncovered on a gentle simmer for about 5 minutes, or just until the green parts have wilted. Then stir in the fresh lime juice, serve over rice, and top with fresh chopped cilantro.
The vegan yellow curry is best served with jasmine rice or noodles, but any white or brown rice can be used. To make it spicier, top it with fresh slices of chilies or crushed red pepper flakes. Then add fresh chopped cilantro right before serving.
Store leftover curry in an airtight container for about 3-5 days in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen for about 3 months in the freezer. Leave room at the top of the container for expansion and don’t freeze leftovers with rice or noodles.
More plant-based oil-free recipes
- Spicy chickpea stew with zucchini
- Vegan white bean potato soup with kale
- Vegan lentil shepherd’s pie
- Black bean curry
I hope you enjoy this recipe for mixed vegetable curry! If you like the recipe, feel free to rate it and leave a comment.
Originally posted on April 7, 2020, and updated on May 23, 2023.Print
Easy flavor-packed vegan yellow curry with mixed vegetables. It's loaded with colorful veggies, a little spicy from red chili, creamy coconut milk, and flavor from the spices and fresh cilantro.
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 zucchini, sliced or chopped
- 1 large bok choy ((about 1 pound) 453 g)) sliced (green and white parts separated)
- 1 red chili pepper, finely diced (I use a fresh cayenne pepper)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
- ½ inch fresh ginger, grated or minced
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ cup water
- 1 can (14 ounces (402 mL)) full fat or lite coconut milk
- 1 can (15 ounces (425 g)) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 lime, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
- Fresh chopped cilantro
- More sliced red chili
- Rice or noodles
- Sauté the red bell pepper, zucchini, white parts of the bok choy (reserving the green parts for later), and red chili in a preheated pan, for about 8-10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Add a splash of water or vegetable broth to keep the vegetables from sticking for oil-free cooking (or use a neutral-tasting oil). Alternatively, you can cook the vegetables in ¼ cup of water or vegetable broth if you don’t have a nonstick pan. Or use a tablespoon of neutral-tasting oil.
- When the vegetables have softened, add the garlic and ginger then sauté for 1-2 more minutes.
- Add curry powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground turmeric (if used), and salt then sauté for about 30 seconds to 1 minute until it’s aromatic.
- Use ½ cup of water to deglaze the pan, scraping off any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Now add the coconut milk, chickpeas, tamari, and, maple syrup.
- Bring to a gentile simmer and cook covered for about 10 minutes for the flavors to blend together.
- Then stir in the green parts of the bok choy and cook uncovered on a gentle simmer for about 5 minutes, or just until the green parts have wilted.
- Then stir in the fresh lime juice, serve over rice, and top with fresh chopped cilantro.
For the recipe to go a little more smoothly have all of your veggies prepped and spices measured out before you start cooking.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 27 minutes
- Category: main course
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: Thai inspired
Keywords: vegan chickpea curry, mixed vegetable curry with coconut milk, oil free curry, chickpea curry without tomatoes