This flavorful Thai red curry recipe matches sweet potatoes with fresh dandelion greens and asparagus, though you can also substitute cauliflower florets, cubed Asian eggplant, squash or carrots. If using cauliflower or eggplant, add them earlier, when the potato is only partially cooked, as they will take longer to cook than asparagus. Classic Thai red curry is flavored with lime leaves and Thai basil. If you find them, use them, but even without them the vegetable curry will still be a knockout.


Makes: 4 servings

Serving Size: about 1 1/3 cups each

Active Time: 

Total Time: 


  • 1 14-ounce can “lite” coconut milk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (see Tips), or to taste
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 2 fresh cayenne chiles or bird chiles (see Tips), cut into long strips (optional)
  • 2 whole lime leaves (fresh or frozen; see Tips) or 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped dandelion greens or arugula
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, preferably Thai basil
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (see Tips)


  1. Heat a wide heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add about 2 tablespoons coconut milk and curry paste, stirring to dissolve it. Cook, stirring, until aromatic, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the coconut milk and cook for 1 minute, then add sweet potatoes. Stir to coat the pieces and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes more.
  2. Add water and bring to a boil. Cook until the sweet potatoes are almost cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining coconut milk, asparagus, chiles (if using) and lime leaves (or lime zest); cook for 1 minute. Stir in dandelion greens (or arugula), basil and fish sauce until well combined. Continue cooking until the asparagus is just tender, 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove lime leaves, if necessary, before serving.


  • Tip: Red curry paste is a blend of chile peppers, garlic, lemongrass and galangal (a root with a flavor similar to ginger). Look for it in jars or cans in the Asian section of the supermarket or specialty stores. The heat and salt level can vary widely depending on brand. Be sure to taste as you go.
  • Tip: If fresh cayenne chiles or Thai bird chile are not available at your market, serrano or jalapeño chiles can be used as a substitute.
  • Tip: Lime leaves lend Thai cooking one of its signature flavors—lemony and floral. Look for them fresh (or frozen) in Asian markets and online. Fresh leaves may be frozen, airtight, for up to 3 months. If you can’t find them, use freshly grated lime zest as a substitute: 1 teaspoon zest for each lime leaf.
  • Tip: Fish sauce is a pungent Southeast Asian condiment made from salted, fermented fish. Find it in the Asian-food section of well-stocked supermarkets and at Asian specialty markets. We use Thai Kitchen fish sauce, lower in sodium than other brands (1,190 mg per tablespoon), in our recipe testing and nutritional analyses.



Per serving: 180 calories; 7 g fat (5 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 25 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 5 g protein; 4 g fiber; 506 mg sodium; 433 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (333% daily value), Vitamin C (52% dv), Folate (25% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 1 1/2

Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 1/2 fat

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Source: Eating Well