These delicious Thai Coconut Noodles are loaded with flavor and come together in about 30 minutes! They’re creamy, naturally vegan, and gluten-free!
Serve up this rich, warm and inviting healthy noodle soup as is, or toss on a protein like fish, tofu, or chicken. It’s a hearty but light way to have a delicious dinner!
Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you; this dinner comes together really quickly.
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I first shared this recipe in August 2011, and I’ve had many people comment on how delicious this dish is, and how they keep it in regular rotation. But the photos were so old and outdated, and the information was lacking, so I updated it to make it even better!
I’ve not only updated the old photos, but the recipe itself. Originally it was Thai Coconut Noodles with Pan Seared Tilapia, but so many people are anti-tilapia that I thought I’d go ahead and leave that particular fish off of the recipe.
The soup base and noodles are great without anything else.
Or you can add any fish you like. Cod, salmon, shrimp, halibut, or any other white fish; they all work great in this dish.
Keep it vegan or vegetarian with tofu. I made my favorite air fryer tofu and toss that on in some of the pictures you see.
Top it with a little shredded chicken or pork if you like.
How to pan sear tilapia
In case you want the cooking instructions for the pan seared tilapia, I’ll pop them in here. Searing the tilapia takes only a couple of minutes, and it’s so tasty.
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 fillets tilapia, thawed if frozen
salt & pepper
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan, and heat until the oil begins to shimmer. Meanwhile, sprinkle tilapia fillets with salt and pepper.
Place fillets in the pan, being careful not to crowd the pan or the fish will steam rather than sear (this step may be done in two batches depending on the size of your pan).
Cook 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork and is golden brown on each side. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with any remaining fillets.
Asian inspired dishes
Pro tips for how to make a delicious dinner
Thai Coconut Noodles, made using rice noodles, lots of flavorful herbs and veggies, along with coconut milk for a deliciously creamy noodle bowl that comes together in about 30 minutes!
Be sure to scroll down for the full recipe card with detailed amounts and instructions.
Place the cilantro, Thai chile, garlic clove, and peeled shallots in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until coarsely chopped.
In a separate bowl, mix the vegetable broth, brown sugar, soy sauce, salt, and coconut milk. Because this comes together so quickly, I like to mix everything before I start cooking.
Heat the dark sesame oil in a large pan, and add in the cilantro mixture. Cook for 5 minutes.
Pour in the coconut milk mixture.
Add the chopped green onions. I’ve found that 1 & ½ cups of chopped green onions is about 15 thin green onions. By the way, this is a great way to use up extra green onions that you may have in the fridge! I always seem to have a couple of random bunches of green onions in there!
Cook, stirring, and add in the peas.
I’ve had readers tell me they love the broth soup of this recipe so much that they just double the broth now. And some people tell me they like to sip on the broth!
Cook the rice noodles according to package directions in boiling water, and set aside. It’s important not to cook the noodles in the Thai soup broth, because they’ll absorb too much of the soup.
Don’t worry if your package of noodles is 6 ounces or 8 ounces; a little more or a little less noodles won’t make that much of a difference in this meal.
Toss in the cooked pasta noodles.
Check out the Pin on Pinterest for some more readers reviews, in addition to the reviews in comments below.
Which noodles are the best to use for this soup?
Any type of rice noodles will work well to make this recipe. My favorite are the traditional Pad Thai-style noodles that can be found in the Asian section of well-stocked grocery stores. Or, if you have an international market near you, check for Thai-style rice noodles. They have a great texture and size, which are perfect for this dish.
You can also use wide rice noodles, like Pad See Ew noodles. They will be a little chewier and heartier.
If you can’t find any rice noodles at the store, feel free to use regular pasta, spaghetti or linguine noodles would be best. Also, you can use the gluten-free pasta noodles here as well. The texture of the dish will change a bit with regular pasta, but it will still work.
And, like I said, don’t worry if your package of noodles is 6 ounces or 8 ounces; a little more or a little less noodles will be just fine.
Can I vary this recipe?
As with most any recipe, the answer is yes! You can switch it up!
I had one reader tell me she didn’t have any frozen green peas, so she subbed in edamame; which I think is a fantastic swap, or try using both in the dish!
Can’t find Thai chiles at the store? Thai chiles have a nice fruitiness along with a fiery heat that lingers. But sometimes the store just doesn’t carry them. In that case, look for jalapeno peppers, especially the red ones, serrano chiles, or fresh or dried cayenne peppers.
Don’t have any toasted or dark sesame oil, use regular.
Feel free to add in more veggies in you want. Toss in some bok choy, shredded carrots, cauliflower, or water chestnuts.
Do you like curry? Feel free to stir a little into the brothy soup.
Yes, you can absolutely use light coconut milk here instead of full fat. Just know that the full fat version will be thicker and creamier than the light version.
Top with some sesame seeds.
And, I’ve already mentioned that you can add whatever protein you like to the dish. You could even try a beautiful soft boiled ramen egg.
How do I store this noodle dish?
This makes a nice big pot of noodles and soup, and I usually have leftovers. It’s best to store the noodles and broth separately in the fridge. If you store them together, the noodles will continue to soak up the soup, and will become a soggy thick stew.
Which, maybe you don’t mind if you end up with a thick dish; that’s how I eat the leftovers.
But, for best taste, package any leftover broth and noodles separately in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
The soup broth can also be frozen for longer storage if you want. Allow the soup to cool completely, then place it (without any noodles), in a freezer safe air-tight container for up to 3 months.
When ready to eat, take the container out of the freezer and allow to defrost in the fridge overnight. You can also defrost in the microwave. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave, and toss in fresh cooked rice noodles.
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Thai Coconut Noodles Recipe
Thai Coconut Noodles
- 1 package uncooked rice noodles 6.75 to 8 ounces
- ½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 Thai chile halved and seeded, optional
- 1 garlic clove peeled
- 2 shallots peeled
- 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 ½ tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 14 ounce coconut milk
- 1 ½ cups thinly sliced green onions
- 1 cup frozen green peas thawed
- Combine cilantro, Thai chile, garlic clove, and shallots in a food processor; process until very finely chopped.
- In a separate bowl, mix broth, sugar, soy sauce, salt, and coconut milk.
- Heat a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat; add the sesame oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add cilantro mixture to pan; sauté 5 minutes.
- Mix coconut milk mixture into the cooked shallots.
- Add green onions to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in peas, and cook 3 minutes.
- Cook noodles in boiling water according to package directions; drain. Rinse under cold water; drain. Stir in cooked noodles into soup.
- Spoon coconut noodles into large serving bowls. Garnish with additional cilantro if desired.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.