Is Tom Yum Soup Vegetarian & Vegan?

What is tom yum soup made of? Is Tom Yum soup Vegetarian? Let’s find out.

In this article we will examine the tom yum soup ingredients and see if you can enjoy this soup as a vegetarian.

Tom Yum Soup is a spicy and sour soup that is a popular dish in Thailand, Laos, and other Southeast Asian countries.

The soup typically contains a mix of savory and spicy flavors, along with sour notes from lime juice or tamarind paste.

In addition to the protein, the soup usually includes a mix of herbs, such as lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and cilantro, as well as chili peppers and other spices.

Tom Yum Soup is often served as a starter or as part of a larger meal. It is considered a refreshing and flavorful dish that can be enjoyed year-round.

Commercial tom yum paste is made by crushing all the herb ingredients and stir frying in oil, then adding seasoning and other preservative ingredients.[1]

The paste is bottled or packaged and sold around the world. Tom yum flavored with the paste may have different characteristics from that made with fresh herb ingredients.

The soup often includes meats such as shrimp, chicken, or pork. So is it vegetarian?

Is Tom Yum soup vegetarian?

Traditionally speaking, NO – Tom yum soup isn’t always suitable for vegetarians as it often contains shrimp or pork and fish sauce. 

However, this isn’t always the case as you can make it vegetarian with just a few plant-based ingredients.

Here’s a simple vegetarian tom yum soup recipe.

Vegetarian Tom Yum soup recipe:

This vegetarian Tom Yum Soup recipe is a delicious and healthy alternative to the traditional version of this popular Thai soup.


  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 2-3 slices galangal
  • 2-3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 Thai bird’s eye chili peppers, sliced (or more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (such as oyster or shiitake)
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into wedges
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup firm tofu, cut into small cubes
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Optional: sliced scallions, sliced red bell pepper, bean sprouts, or other vegetables of your choice


  • In a medium-sized pot, bring the vegetable broth to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, onion, garlic, and chili peppers to the pot. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the sliced mushrooms, tomato wedges, lime juice, soy sauce, and brown sugar to the pot. Simmer for another 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender.
  • Add the cubed tofu and simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove the soup from heat and let cool slightly. Remove the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and chili peppers from the soup.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and any additional vegetables of your choice.

Enjoy your vegetarian Tom Yum Soup!

This soup has fewer than 100 calories per cup.



Tom Yum soup is traditionally made with shrimp or chicken, but vegetarian and vegan versions are also common.

I am Jennifer, a fervent animal lover, and a dedicated vegan. Am the person behind the I offer insights, advice, and personal stories that have inspired many in their journey towards a plant-based lifestyle. My journey into veganism has also been coupled with a love for writing. I used this passion to share my vegan experiences, to educate others about the benefits of plant-based living, and to advocate for animal rights. Find out more about me on the about page.