One Recipe, Two Ways: Red Pepper and Coconut Soup/Sauce

by Gena on September 1, 2009

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Hey guys!

Thanks again for all of the thoughtful commentary on meal delivery! I think it was a great discussion.

So, remember when I tried to recreate the wonderful coconut and red pepper soup at Bonobos? It was a good attempt—certainly a winning recipe—but I’ll admit, it wasn’t an exact replica of the miraculous original. Recipes are like most things in life: there’s some trial and error before we can get them right. And this soup is so worthy that this week I decided that I would not settle for anything less than perfection.

As it turns out, the secret to a perfect soup was simple: more coconut. Lots more. I suspected this was true when I first made the soup, but having only one coconut on hand, I settled for a thinner consistency than the Bonobos version, which is really more of a red pepper flavored coconut shake than a soup, per se. This time, I approached the recipe armed with not one, but four young thai coconuts. Take that, thin soup!

Here’s the revised recipe, which came out nothing short of thick, decadent, coconut-rich bliss:

Red Pepper and Coconut Soup, Redux (serves about two)


Meat of four young coconuts*
½ cup coconut water
1 large or two small red peppers
4 dates, or a few drops of stevia
A small sprinkle of salt


Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender till thick and creamy.

*Modification for those of you who are scared of young coconuts or have lousy blenders: substitute two avocados in place of the coconut meat, and add some citrus juice to taste. It’ll be a different soup, but still a tasty one!

NB: This soup is extremely rich. All of the fat in here is good fat, of course, and the decadence is what makes the recipe so good, but if you are specifically trying to lose weight, this might be a recipe to save for when weight loss is no longer your goal.

The best thing about this recipe is its versatility. On the first night I made it, I enjoyed it as a regular soup:


And on the next night, I tossed it with zucchini pasta, basil, and a squeeze of lime for my version of red Thai coconut noodles:



Both dishes were delicious. And this soup could also be used as a dip, a rich salad dressing, or a sauce for any medley of vegetables—particularly an Asian inspired bunch. Hooray for versatility!

Hope your weeks are off to a good start. I’ll be back soon with a recipe and some musings on an important and overdue topic: “is it OK to eat __________ ”?


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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Pearl September 1, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Gina – everything looks so delicious!


melissa September 1, 2009 at 7:24 pm

yum! great photos too! always look forward to your musings!


A-K September 1, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Wow, those Thai red coconut noodles look awesome! I need to get my hands on some young coconuts again soon :-)


bibixs September 1, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Ahh! i love coconuts soo much i want to try this ASAP! :)


Nicole September 1, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Mmm! You are a genius :D


Lainie September 1, 2009 at 10:14 pm

These look SO good!! I love coconut anything. And that soup looks so creamy! Yum.


Casey September 1, 2009 at 10:35 pm

That looks Amaaaazing!!!! As we have no Bonobos here I can hardly wait to try it!


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) September 1, 2009 at 11:50 pm

It looks reallly rich and delish. I think I would like it as the option 2, the sauce over raw noods. Or as a dip like you mentioned. Did I mention I like a side of veggies with my main course of dip that I can bathe in? I love sauces and dips and this one would be yum.

Young coconuts…whack whack, try not to lose a thumb. Any tips?


astrorainfall September 2, 2009 at 1:56 am

Your zucchini is so perfectly julienned. I need to get me a spiral slicer of some sort.

This recipe is so simple but yet it seems so mouth-watering. I feel inspired to try this.


Shelby September 2, 2009 at 3:28 am

Mmm, the soup looks good…but the noodles?! Even better!


Shannon September 2, 2009 at 4:59 am

this sounds wonderful, and i love how you used it with noodles!


Katrina (gluten free gidget) September 2, 2009 at 5:30 am

How do you get the meat from a young coconut?


Gena September 3, 2009 at 8:33 am
VeggieGirl September 2, 2009 at 5:58 am

“Modification for those of you who are scared of young coconuts or have lousy blenders…”

Yes, even after you personally showed me how to open a coconut, I’m still terrified haha :-D

Sounds delicious though!


Metta September 2, 2009 at 5:59 am

Thanks for the tip about the avocado substitution. I’ve opened one young coconut; that was a bit tramatic and I’m still a little scared to try again.

I look forward to your next post topic!


rhodeygirl September 2, 2009 at 6:06 am

This looks really great Gena. My friend made a yellow pepper soup as an appetizer the other day and I thought of you because it was so light and fresh… then I realized it wasn’t raw whoops! The interesting thing though, is that there was a tough of VINEGAR in it to give it more flavor. I had never seen that before.

One day I WILL make this soup.


Gena September 2, 2009 at 8:36 am

You WILL, Sabrina, and I hope it’ll be awesome!


leslie September 2, 2009 at 6:07 am

thanks to you, i conquered my coconut fear a few months ago. :) i like the idea of using soup as a sauce – something to keep in mind!

btw, i haven’t had a chance to comment intelligently, but your past couple posts have been both fascinating and thought-provoking. thanks as always for sparking the discussion!


Diana (Soap & Chocolate) September 2, 2009 at 7:38 am

Ooof, that’s seriously tempting, dawg. And maybe I just purchased a cleaver. Maybe I’m gonna buy a coconut and show it who’s boss this weekend.

Maybe I’m scared anyway. :) But I think this is a fear worth conquering! My first coconut recipe replication project might just have to be the crack, though. Baby steps.


Gena September 2, 2009 at 8:36 am

D, I think crack is definitely worth your first experiment :)


Lauren September 2, 2009 at 7:52 am

Those noodles look perfect!


erica September 2, 2009 at 8:16 am

what a fantastic recipe! i’m going to give it a try asap!


Anna September 2, 2009 at 8:33 am

Hi Gena,
I want to make your pizza cheese, but I was wondering if you know how much a recipe makes (like how many cups)?


Gena September 2, 2009 at 8:35 am

Hi Anna,

I’m actually not sure! I tend to be lazy about “yields” because I don’t pay attention to portion size. My guess is that it yields about 1 or 1.5 cups, and I’d say that 1/4-1/3 of a cup is a reasonable portion.



fitforfree September 2, 2009 at 10:48 am

Beautiful soup/sauce . . . I’ll definitely have to check out this Bonobos place, too!

I made a raw tomato sauce in the blender last night, and was thrilled with the taste but disappointed by how watery it was! Any tips for thickening raw sauces? Maybe I just didn’t blend it for long enough?


Gena September 2, 2009 at 11:21 am

Hey Vani!

I would really need to hear more about the recipe and how you made it. Usually, too much water and using a conventional blender are to blame — but it might have been blending time, too! What did the recipe call for?



fitforfree September 2, 2009 at 10:58 am

(I would use your coconut tip from this post, but I never have them on hand!)


Emma September 2, 2009 at 12:15 pm

I’m not a massive fan of coconut in savoury things but I have to admit, it looks great served with the noodles!


Bianca- Vegan Crunk September 2, 2009 at 1:43 pm

This sounds crazy amazing! I love coconut and red pepper. I may to make this very soon. I also like the idea of using it as a sauce, but I wish I had a spiralizer to make fat zucchini “udon” style noodles like yours! BTW, I made your banana soft serve again last night…you are my hero, Gena.


Kimberly@Living Free September 2, 2009 at 2:06 pm

That looks really good! I have had a very hard time finding good young coconuts lately. Went to the Asian Market today and they only had two that didn’t look good. Are they something that you can only find at certain times of the year? I have just recently started buying them so I was just curious:)


Gena September 2, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Hey Kimberly,

Odd! These don’t tend to be a seasonal food. But they can fluctuate, it’s true, in availability. Just keep trying the market!



Gliding Calm September 2, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Wowieeeeeeeee! those noodles look so amazing!! thanks for another awesome recipe, Gena!!!!!! Happy WEDNESDAY! :)


Alison September 2, 2009 at 5:54 pm

Those noodles look incredible! I am a bit afraid of coconut. I wonder if I bought one already cut and peeled whether I could just chop it into large bits and pulverize it in my food processor.


coco September 2, 2009 at 6:24 pm

delicious!!! I need to find coconut to recreate it!
Gena, where do you buy fresh coconuts? local groceries stores? I’ve never seen them in my local stores.


Hayley September 3, 2009 at 5:40 am

Both meals look sooo good!! Especially the zucchini noodles – YUM! Are coconuts easy to cut? I’m hesitant to buy one because I’m thinking I’ll be in the kitchen hacking away for hours.


Gena September 3, 2009 at 8:33 am
Christy September 3, 2009 at 8:23 am

This looks so good. I am trying to lose weight at the moment, but this one is going in the book as one to try soon.

One question though, would you consider this a summer soup? Or does it have any fall flavors? I’m assuming more of a ‘summer’ soup.

Thanks again!


Gena September 3, 2009 at 8:33 am

Hey Christy,

It’s got a summery flavor, but the texture is definitely rich enough for winter :)



Kat September 3, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Made this today: I halved the recipe because although I am brave enough to open TWO young coconuts, I am not brave enough for FOUR (and that’s all the Asian market had). I have to say, this recipe is wonderful and simple, and everything I hoped for. I’m probably going to use this as a salad dressing, but haven’t decided yet. Thanks!


Michelle-pure2raw September 3, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Recipe looks amazing and sounds delicious. Will have to try it sometime. I understand about the trial and error of creating recipes. Practice makes perfect! I am new to your blog, and love to see more raw foodies. I look forward in getting to know you. Great blog.


mikey September 3, 2009 at 6:16 pm

ohmygosh! it looks delicious!


Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen) September 3, 2009 at 6:17 pm

But an amazingly awesome recipe for peeps who desperately need to put on body mass (in healthy ways of course). Looks deelish.


Gena September 4, 2009 at 6:27 am

Bingo, Meghan! Or simply a great standy for petite women like me, who like to eat healthy, yet calorie dense foods within a plant based diet.


astrorainfall September 3, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Gena, I just want to say this recipe is AWESOME. I just tried the Thai Red Curry version (with lime and basil) and it was an unbelievable lunch. I can’t get fresh coconut here so I blended dried coconut flakes with some water. And it tasted wonderful. Imagine fresh coconut — sigh, it would be out of this world. Thanks for sharing such gorgeous, simple raw meal ideas.


Iris September 4, 2009 at 5:02 am

Maybe you already noticed this, but I just saw your blog on a Top 100 nutrition blogs list…way to go!


Gena September 4, 2009 at 6:28 am

I saw, Iris, and was so psyched! Thanks for mentioning it :)


elise September 8, 2009 at 9:47 am

i love how simple your recipes are. the fewer ingreds – the better! simple is the way to my heart. oh, and good food. question: are there ways to get raw coco flesh/juice without buying one and doing it myself? and feel free to say “yes, but they arent as good” as your answer bc i want to know. gary nulls? the new UWS whole foods?


Damon November 20, 2009 at 8:26 pm

Great work! Especially with using the rest the next night for something else. I love that since I have been eating raw foods. Honestly a lot of my soup leftovers end up getting turned into salad dressings for lunch the next day. Seems to make a great pair. Keep up the raw love!


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