Thai Basil Pesto Soup with Shrimp

Asian Soups

Thai Basil Pesto Soup

If you like Thai cuisine and you like pesto, you’ll LOVE this recipe. It combines bone broth, Thai basil pesto, shrimp (you can sub any protein you want), rice vermicelli noodles, optional cherry tomatoes, and Thai seasonings for a unique twist on a regular Italian pesto.

Seriously, how amazing does this look?!

In my new book, The Thai Soup Secret, I include a fusion chapter where I create some fun recipes that combine Thai cuisine with other cuisines. Hands down, this recipe for a Thai basil pesto soup is my absolute favorite from this chapter.

All of the recipes are gluten and dairy-free broth-based soups that can help a wide range of digestive ailments. It includes a mix of classic Thai soups like Tom Yum and Tom Kha as well as many other unique fusion recipes like this one.

Thai Soup Secret cover

Transform Your Health with Thailand’s #1 Superfood!

Includes 40 restorative recipes for broths, congees, and soups. All gluten and dairy-free!

What is Thai basil? 

In case you’re unaware, Thai basil is similar to but different from the more common basil of western cuisine (also called “sweet” or “Genovese” basil). It has a unique licorice-like flavor and is a common part of southeast Asian cuisine, especially in soups and curries. As you can see from the pic above it has purple stems and slightly smaller, more pointed leaves than Genovese basil. 

Where do I find Thai basil?

Your best bet is an Asian market. They’ll almost certainly have it (along with some of the other Thai ingredients below). If you don’t have an Asian market near you, you might find it at a farmers market or even a gardening center as it can easily be grown at home like regular basil.

There are also a few sellers on Amazon that offer it.  (Amazon affiliate link)

Another option is the site www.importfood.com which sells a lot of fresh Thai produce.

How do you make a Thai basil pesto?

You make a Thai basil pesto the same way you make a regular pesto.  However, instead of pine nuts, I sub peanuts which are more common in Thai cuisine (and a lot cheaper than pine nuts). I’ve also added fish sauce and lime juice to give it a decidedly Thai flavor.

OK, on to the recipe…

How to Make a Thai Basil Pesto Soup 

Thai Basil Pesto Soup

Thai Basil Pesto Soup

This recipe combines broth, Thai basil pesto, shrimp and rice vermicelli noodles with Thai seasonings for a unique twist on a regular Italian pesto.

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Thai
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Craig Fear


For the Thai basil pesto (makes about 1 cup):

  • 2 cups Thai basil, packed
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½   cup roasted peanuts
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2 TBSP fish sauce
  • 2 TBSP lime juice
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded, optional

For the soup:

Seasonings, to taste

  • Fish sauce
  • Lime juice
  • Roasted peanuts, crushed
  • Chiles, chopped, or dried chile flakes or powder,


  1. To make pesto, add Thai basil leaves, peanuts, garlic, fish sauce and lime juice to a food processor and pulse until thoroughly blended.  Then add olive oil in small, steady stream while blade is continually running until it forms a paste.
  2. To prepare the lemongrass, you just want to use the bottom half (but save the top half for broth!).  So cut the stalk in half and then remove a few of the fibrous outer layers from the bottom half and then bruise the stalk with a blunt kitchen utensil like a meat hammer or the back of your knife. The idea here is to release the essential oils which will infuse the broth.  Then slice the stalk into a few 2-3 inch pieces.
  3. Add the lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves to a stockpot with broth and simmer for about 10-15 minutes to infuse their flavor. Discard lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves.

  4. While broth is simmering, prepare vermicelli rice noodles according to package directions.
  5. Add optional cherry tomatoes and shrimp to broth and simmer until shrimp is cooked through, about 2 minutes.

  6. Add a handful of noodles to individual bowls and add about 1 TBSP Thai basil pesto, mix well and taste.  Add more if needed. Spoon about a cup or two of soup over the noodles, taste, and add more broth and pesto, to taste.  Add seasonings, to taste.

More Thai Soup Recipes to Try

Fearless Eating may receive commissions from purchases made through links in this article. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. More info here.
Thai Basil Pesto Soup with Shrimp

About the Author

Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.

(2) comments

Add Your Reply