Lighter Summer Squash Red Curry with Basil

Lighter Summer Squash Red Curry with Basil

Another zucchini and squash recipe for those with an abundance of summer produce. One of my favorite dishes of all time is thick, dermatologist rich Thai curry. I love the aromatic coconut milk, the spice of the curry paste and the fresh vegetables. It’s my all-time favorite takeout meal. Yes, it even beats pizza. (Shocking! I know.)

But it’s summer and it’s mighty hot out, so I thought I’d make a lighter version with part coconut milk and part chicken stock. And of course, it’s a great way to use up all that summer squash! The curry is still hot and spicy, but it’s not as overwhelming as the traditional version. I used tofu because I love the way it absorbs the spicy coconut milk, but it would be equally good with shrimp or chicken if you’re tofu-averse.

A great way to enjoy one of my favorite winter meals in the sweaty depths of summer.

Lighter Summer Squash Red Curry with Basil

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 zucchini, quartered and sliced
2 yellow squash, quartered and sliced
2 cups firm tofu, diced (or cooked chicken or shrimp)
1 15 oz. can coconut milk (Lite is ok)
2 cups chicken stock
1 -2 tbsp. red curry paste (depending on how spicy you like your food. Add a taste as you go.)
2 tbsp. shoyu (or soy sauce)
juice of 1 lime
1 cup coarsely chopped basil leaves

Brown or Jasmine rice to accompany.

Heat a large pot over medium. Once it’s hot, heat the olive oil, then add the onions and peppers. Saute for 7 minutes, or until the onions are soft and begin to get translucent.

Add the squash, zucchini, tofu and coconut milk and bring to a simmer. While you’re waiting for the coconut milk to simmer, whisk the curry paste into the stock until completely dissolved, then add it to the pot. Let simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft, but not mushy.

Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice and shoyu. Taste and adjust the salt and curry paste to taste.

Ladle over rice and sprinkle with basil leaves.

Makes 4 – 6 servings, depending on the size of your vegetables.


  1. I’m with you – I’m all for eating curries in the heat of summer. There is something so cleansing about eating spicy food when it’s hot outside!

  2. This sounds really good! I love a Thai red curry too, good any time of year!

  3. This looks like a perfect summer soup!

  4. this looks very lovely and i’m liking the idea of lighter coconut milk for the summer! such pretty colours :)

  5. Jessica M. says:

    Hey Mel, I learned about your blog through Meli. Everything always looks delicious! I’m planning on making this tomorrow after having red curry for the first time this week. I hope it tastes as good as it looks!

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  7. Thank you for the recipe. Everyone loved the dish.


  8. I have made this 3 times this summer already! Some changes I have made: added diced cooked potatoes and fresh peas which gave me a little bit of the starchy carbs I was craving, and the peas added a POP of color, increased the red curry paste to … ah … like 4 tablespoons! (and I still want MORE heat … ideas?) Cooked the raw shrimp right in the broth. SO yummy. You rock Mel!

  9. Deborah – Awesome! Yeah, I need starches too. I usually serve this with rice or noodles. I like the peas for color! If you want more heat with less curry paste, I’d add some cayenne pepper. I love the spicy too, but some people can’t take it :)

  10. Hi Melissa,

    This recipe looks awesome and I’ll be sharing it with my produce club members this week. I was happy to see that you, like I, are Miami-based. Ps. why hit up 3+ grocery stores per day when you can join our organic produce club and enjoy the bounty every two weeks?… just a thought. -Erika

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