This recipe was inspired partly by Luisa Brimble (in my opinion the top food photographer working in Australia (anywhere?) right now), who often writes about Filipino food and mentioned how coconut milk is often used in savoury dishes that aren’t curries.
I had already written down the concept and recipe outline for this dish, but hadn’t yet decided on the exact spices and flavourings that would go into it, when I saw what she was writing about it. This was years ago now but it stuck with me.
I use coconut milk frequently – often in a vegetable curry, but most often for sweet uses; dairy free ice cream, as the base for a vegan chocolate ganache, coconut whipped cream, or in rice pudding instead of whole milk. The flexibility and high fat content of coconut milk make it invaluable in plant based cooking and baking, replacing cream whenever I’ve needed it.
These coconut rice noodles, quickly cooked with spring vegetables, is no exception. It’s a rich broth that’s ready in minutes and makes an excellent speedy springtime meal. A good bit of fresh ginger, along with garlic, onion, and piles of green vegetables provide a good counterpoint to the natural sweetness of coconut, without the need for earthier flavours like cumin or turmeric.
This might seem like a lot, but it’s mostly vegetables and pantry staples. See below for substitutions for the vegetables listed.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Ginger: if large pieces are too much, grate very finely instead. Fresh ginger is key to the recipe.
- Vegetable Broth: water can be used in a pinch but a good broth will be noticeable here, so I do recommend it for this recipe.
- Vegetables: any green vegetables you like will be good here. Snap peas, bok choy, other green cabbage, peas, green beans, whatever. The ones listed are the ones I like most in this recipe, but use what you have in your garden or refrigerator.
- Rice noodles: yes, this is a rice noodle recipe, but you could use soba or another pasta you like. I always do brown rice noodles but white are more available, so go with what you can get.
- Lemon or lime: the recipe calls for lemon or lime juice strictly because I can rarely get limes here that aren’t imported all the way from Mexico. It’s a long way away so I usually go for Italian lemons instead. Lime is better, but both are good.
Leftovers are pretty good if the broth isn’t mixed with the rice noodles. If you have leftover broth and veg, store it separately and cook the noodles fresh when you want to eat it. Rice noodles suck up too much liquid to keep for any length of time.
Purple sprouting broccoli is a classic hungry gap vegetable and easy to grow (it’s planted in autumn and takes off come spring) so if you have space, it’s a good addition to your garden. The purple mostly fades during cooking and it will turn primarily green.
- Add soya sauce: if you want to add some coconut aminos or soya sauce, it’s a good addition. Reduce the salt slightly to account for it.
- Keep the citrus: it is key for this recipe, don’t leave it out! It’s flat without.
- Adjust the heat: if you are sensitive to hot pepper, either reduce or omit it.
- Season to taste: as with any soup, it’s important to taste and add any salt if needed before serving. Consider the salt amount listed in the recipe to be a starting point.
- Don’t brown the onion: it should be translucent, but not browned. If the onion or vegetables brown/char, the colour of the broth will be ruined.
More Spring Recipes
Spring Green Minestrone
Lemon Elderflower Cake
Asparagus New Potato Salad
Strawberry Slush With Lime
Honey Elderflower Cordial
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Spring Green Vegetable Coconut Rice Noodles
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1 small yellow onion halved and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic cut into matchsticks
- 1 thumb fresh ginger cut into matchsticks (about 6cm)
- 1 small zucchini halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste
- 400 ml canned coconut milk
- 250 ml vegetable broth
- 150 grams brown rice noodles
- 250 grams green asparagus woody ends removed
- 200 grams sprouting broccoli or broccolini
- 50 grams baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
- Fresh cilantro for topping
- In a large pot, heat the oil over low-medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for a couple of minutes, or until softened and fragrant.1 teaspoon coconut oil, 1 small yellow onion
- Add the garlic, ginger, and zucchini, cook for another minute. Stir in the salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper and cook for another 30 seconds.2 cloves garlic, 1 thumb fresh ginger, 1 small zucchini, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Pour the coconut milk and vegetable broth into the pot, cover, and increase the heat to high to bring to a low boil. Prepare the rice noodles according to package instructions while you're waiting. Do not cook the rice noodles in the broth.400 ml canned coconut milk, 250 ml vegetable broth, 150 grams brown rice noodles
- Once the broth has reached a low boil, reduce the heat to medium. Add the asparagus and broccoli, cooking for two minutes, covered, or until the asparagus is bright green and just tender.250 grams green asparagus, 200 grams sprouting broccoli or broccolini
- Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach. Ladle out into bowls and add the prepared rice noodles.50 grams baby spinach
- Top each bowl with a squeeze of lime juice and a few cilantro leaves, and serve hot.2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice, Fresh cilantro for topping
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
This recipe was originally published in April 2019. It has been updated most recently as of May 2021.
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