Five Ingredient Red Curry Coconut Sauce or Dressing
3.50 from 8 votes


I didn’t intend for this recipe to be blog-post-worthy. I was throwing together a simple lunch bowl–leftover brown rice, fresh spinach, steamed broccoli, leftover white beans–and realized that I was running low on dressing. This is a rarity in my home; I’m a little dressing-obsessed, and I tend to make a few at the start of every work week (usually something resembling a vinaigrette, something with tahini, and something brand new/creative). I was craving something creamy more than I was an oil/acid combo, but I was out of tahini and almond butter (my standard base for creamy dressings).

Enter coconut milk, which I had standing in my fridge. I’m used to using the stuff for yogurt, for curries, for smoothies, and for soups, but I’d never tried it as a dressing before. I wasn’t sure if it would be any good, but I figured it was worth a shot. I’m so glad I took a gamble, because I really love the easy sauce/dressing that resulted.

I lucked when I put this dressing together, because I also happened to have red curry paste in my fridge (the stuff lasts forever, almost). If you don’t happen to have it on hand, I offer a modification using curry powder, but I do recommend keeping some handy. It’s really great stuff–incredible for soups, stir fries, and all sorts of other applications.

red curry coconut sauce

red curry coconut sauce
3.50 from 8 votes

Five Ingredient Red Curry Coconut Sauce or Dressing

Author - Gena Hamshaw


  • 2-3 tbsp red curry paste adjust based on your tolerance for spice OR two teaspoons curry powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup full fat canned coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp tamari or to taste
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup


  • Blend all ingredients or whisk them together till smooth.
  • Optional modifications:
  • Add 1 tbsp minced ginger (or ginger powder to taste)
  • Add 1 clove minced garlic (or garlic powder to taste)
  • Add 1/4 cup minced basil
  • Add 1/2 cup minced red bell pepper (you'll need to use a blender), and reduce coconut milk to 3/4 cup

This sauce is delightful over steamed greens or broccoli. But I think it’s particularly well suited to a simple grain/bean bowl:

red curry coconut sauce

Delicious. That rice, by the way, is cooked in vegetable broth, lime juice, and a touch of olive oil — a trick I picked up from Terry Hope Romero. It’s a great way to add a ton of flavor to the simple grain.

red curry coconut sauce

Enjoy this, folks. I’ll return soon with a tasty recipe for whole grain, vegan muffins–my first baking experiment in a while!


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Categories: Recipes, Sauces
Method: Blender
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, No Oil, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: 30 Minute or Less, Quick & Easy

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3.50 from 8 votes (8 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating

  1. I am absolutely making this tonight! I was feeling weak willed and considering getting One Lucky Duck takeout. But this will be great in some collard wraps. I love red curry paste! Never thought to put it in a dressing.

  2. WOW! What a creative use of coconut milk. I would have never thought of trying to make dressing out of it. My dressings are so boring… they are usually just fresh squeezed lime or lemon with a bit of salt & pepper.

  3. wow, I already know this will be amazing! I love curries and new salad dressing, I had never thought of bringing it together, but now I totally see (and imaginarily taste it)!

  4. Glad I’m not the only one to keep coconut milk and red curry paste in my fridge for way too long. 😉 We don’t waste!

  5. Do you think I could use light canned coconut milk for this recipe, or will only the full fat version work? It looks really good — I’m excited to try it!

  6. AWESOME awesome awesome awesome (x10). 😀 I cannot wait to try this – I’ve been having a hankering for something curry-esque and this is perfect. I’ve been wondering (and I apologize if you’ve probably posted it somewhere before). How long do your dressings typically last you? (before spoiling, not before eating up!) I know that just making a couple right at the beginning of the week would make my life easier and probably lead to greater salad consumption, but sometimes I make them and they sit for a week (or longer) and then the consistency changes and I get squeamish and end up (gasp) dumping them, which I feel really badly about. Even if I smell them, I just can’t tell. If I had more confidence if their shelf life that would change my whole planning/approach to the week. Thank you!

  7. Yummers! I know I have red curry paste in my fridge back home. It’s not something I use a lot, though I do make a mean Thai tempeh red currry…so when I’m back to England this is getting made pronto.

  8. Terry Hope Romero is coming to my kitchen this summer to cook before the Cleveland Veg Fest! Whoo hoo! Love the sauce BTW. Totally inspires me to start using those cans of Thai curry paste that I picked up at the Asian store a while back.

  9. too funny! i’ve had red curry paste in my fridge and have been making red curries lately with sushi rice & steamed veg for easy lunches.also using it for a twist on tom ka! i like to sweat a bit while i’m eating i guess 🙂 i’m sure my breath is that of a dragon but …hey, i’ll take good eats over my garlic breath. apologies in advance to people who come in contact with me haha.

  10. Mmmmm, I LOVE a good sauce. This looks fantastic, I’ll be making it and putting it on EVERYthing! I’m definitely making a stop at the store for curry paste on the way home tonight… thanks Gena!

  11. I love that you rose to the challenge and created a beautiful flavorful new recipe with what you had on hand…brilliant stuff! Thanks for the rice cooking tip…might be fun to play with the oil flavor too…maybe hazelnut oil would blend well with the lime and broth. Cheers! 🙂

  12. Gena, this looks AMAZING! OMG! I have to try this! Please don’t shoot me, but I’ve still NEVER had tahini- I know, I know- I’m a terrible plant-based blogger:) Lol! Anywho! This recipe gives me the perfect recipe to try it in! I love the bright hues of the dressing. It reminds me of that Mexican salsa cream sauce I used to love on my nachos- oh to go back in time:) I’m off to Whole Foods tomorrow so I’ll pick up the ingredients!:)

  13. Yes, please clarify the kind of coconut milk… is it the kind that comes in about a 14-15 oz can and do you use full fat or light version? Thanks!

  14. Are we talking coconut milk from a can or from a carton in the milk section?

    And thank you! Your recipes are the best!

  15. This looks fabulous! Can’t wait to try it! I bet a pinch of turmeric would be good too. Or freshly grated turmeric.

  16. Sounds delicious! What is the modification using curry powder? I didn’t see it in the recipe.

    • I was clearly in a rush when I posted 😉 I added the modification — 2 tsp curry powder, pinch of cayenne.

  17. What an innovative way to use up curry paste and coconut milk! I’ll give this a try at some point. I love dressing bowl meals with interesting sauces.

  18. Sauces and dressings can make or break a meal and this one looks like it could turn a lot of meals from blah to winner status. I need to add curry paste to my list of staples to keep on hand. Thanks for sharing this!

  19. I’m totally making this. When I first saw the title of this post, I wasn’t expecting the recipe to be this easy! I love the idea of making a few fresh dressings at the beginning of the week. I’m a total dressing snob, too. So much of the time when I’m debating what to make for dinner, quinoa/brown rice with veggies is usually what comes to mind, but it always sounds so…meh. Then I end up doing takeout and getting basically the exact same thing from Real Food Daily but with one of their delicious sauces. It’s always sauces and dressings that make the meal! I could save a lot of money if I just made my own dressings at the beginning of the week…#lazy

  20. Yum. I’m on a big coconut milk kick (so dreamy–most recently, I made a luscious garlic-herb sauce that’s great on veg sandwiches, curries, everything). I’ll have to add this to the list. The maple addition sounds interesting.