Vegetarian Pho Noodle Soup

What is Pho?

Pho is pronounced “fuh” and not foe. It is a famous Vietnamese noodle soup which fills the stomach of most Vietnamese people from all walks of life. It is rich and full of flavors and is normally made with beef stock or chicken stock for the broth. We’ll be introducing this vegan version of pho which is also fulfilling in the same way as the ones that use meat. This vegetarian pho noodle soup recipe is easy to follow and can be both innovative and creative. In its simplest version, it is very easy to prepare and even though other variations may involve a lot of steps, in the end it’s all worth it.

Utensils Needed

  • Chopping Board
  • Strainer/Colander

Ingredients

Soup Ingredients

  • 3 Star Anise
  • 3 Co-op Cinnamon Sticks
  • 6 Whole Cloves
  • 1 small ginger (cut in half)
  • 1 Large onion or 3 Shallots (cut in half)
  • Mushrooms (any kind, sliced)
  • 1 Block of Tofu (sliced)
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • 1-2 leek stalks (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 Carrots
  • 1 Turnip
  • 1 Apple
  • 1 pear
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube (Can be substituted with 5 spice powder)
  • 1/2 head broccoli (cut into florets)
  • 1 Whole Chinese Cabbage (Bok Choy)
  • 1 lime cut into wedges (for serving)

Ingredients for Garnishes

  • Green Onions
  • Fresh Basil
  • Fresh CIlantro
  • Bean Sprouts

Optionals

  • Chili sauce
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Bean Curd Sticks
  • 8 ounces seitan - can be added as a topping and cooked like tofu

Directions:

Now that we’ve provided the possible ingredients, let’s start cooking!

The Soup Stock/Broth

Step 1: In a large pot or pan, boil 3-5 cups of water and bring to a boil under low-medium heat.

Step 2: While the water is being brought to boil, roast the onion, shallots and ginger until dark grill marks appear. Simply put, char them a little. It takes about 5-7 minutes. You can use a mini toaster, an oven or a grill press.

Step 3: Prepare the fruits and vegetables:

  • Cut the apple and pear in half and remove the core. Cut each piece in half and  set aside
  • Quarter the turnip
  • Peel the carrots and cut into 1-inch pieces

Step 4: Using a disposable tea bag, put the cinnamon sticks, star anise, and cloves inside and drop it into the boiling water. Add the onions, shallots, ginger, fruits and vegetables into the pot.

Step 5: Change the heat setting to medium-low. Add the vegetable bouillon cube and let it simmer for 30-35 minutes.

Step 6: While it is simmering, you can add salt or soy sauce to taste. You can add the bok choy once the soup is cooked (blanch) since it cooks easily. This is to keep it fresh and crisp.

Toppings

Step 1: Put a small amount of cooking oil in a skillet and add half of the chopped leeks and fry until they are golden brown or fragrant.

Step 2: Add the sliced mushrooms and 1/2 head of broccoli then season with a little salt and pepper. Pour 1/4 cup of soup stock for flavor and set it aside.

Step 3: If the oil is not enough, add a little more then put in the rest of the chopped leeks then add the tofu slices and fry until golden brown and set aside.

Noodles

Once the soup and toppings are ready, you’re now ready to cook the noodles.

Step 1: Wash the rice noodles and immerse it in boiling water for about 5-10 minutes or until ready.

Step 2: Using a strainer or colander, drain the water and you’re now ready to eat.

Putting Everything Together

Step 1: Place the desired amount of noodles you would like and add your desired amount of toppings – tofu, mushrooms, bok choy, etc.

Step 2: Pour the soup stock over and sprinkle with garnishes – basil, green onions, bean sprouts or other herbs like cilantro or mint leaves

Step 3: Add hoisin sauce then squeeze some lemon over the soup.

Step 4: Serve and enjoy!

Tips:

  • Any type of tofu would be alright. You can use seasoned tofu, firm tofu, etc.
  • You can add more apples and pears if you would like sweet-tasting soup stock.
  • Put in as much toppings as you want since it is a homemade dish. You don’t have to restrain yourself. It is alright because the ingredients are healthy and good for your body.
  • If you want a spicy soup, you can add sliced jalapenos to your garnishes.

Trivia

Pho is said to have originated from the French dish pot-au-feu although it is being disputed by many. Pho is not complete with the following key ingredients:

  • Star Anise

Star Anise

This spice is native to China and Vietnam and is like a star-shaped flower with 7-8 petals. It is usually bronze-colored or rust-colored. It has a licorice-like flavor and is used as a sweetener in most dishes. It blends well with any type of soup. Health benefits include treatment of cough and colds, settles the digestive tract, decreases bloating and is rich in antioxidants.

  • Cinnamon Sticks

Cinnamon Sticks

The cinnamon sticks are made from a tree bark called Cinnamomum. It was considered as a rare and valuable ingredient in ancient history but is now a common spice. It has anti-inflammatory properties and helps fight infections and speed up the repair of damaged tissues.

  • Whole Cloves

Whole Cloves

Cloves are one of the Asian spices that are widely or commonly used. It is typically a dried bud of a certain flower and has antibacterial properties. They are used to add a deep and sweet aroma to dishes, especially to soup recipes. Even in small numbers, they are rather strong so only a few are used at a time. They are good for digestion and helps reduce flatulence and protects the liver.

  • Rice Noodles

Rice Noodles

This type of noodles are common in Asia where rice is abundant and is typically a basic staple food. These are made from rice flour and is a usual substitute to noodles made from buckwheat since it is naturally gluten-free. It gives energy to the body and is rich in carbohydrates, fiber and protein but low in fat and that is why it is ideal for those who are on a diet.

Videos

Below are some videos that would assist you in getting to know the different ways of cooking Vegetarian Pho or Pho Chay. The vegetables and garnishes may differ as well but it is still a hearty dish that a lot of people love.

Vegan Pho – Phở Chay

Ingredients

  • Carrots
  • Daikon radish
  • Sweet corn
  • Pear
  • 1 Large leek
  • Vegan Beef Meat Slice
  • 1 pack of rice noodles
  • Salt to taste
  • Tofu Skin / Bean Curd Sheet
  • Ginger
  • 3 Star Anise
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • 1 Onion or 2 shallots
  • 2-3 Black Cardamoms
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Vegan Balls
  • Asian Basil
  • Leaf Heart
    Sawtooth herbs

Easy Vietnamese Noodle Soup (Simplified Version)

Soup Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion, peeled, cut into large chunks
  • 2 shallots, peeled, cut in half
  • 2 cloves garlic, cut in half
  • 2”/5 cm chunk ginger, peeled, cut in half
  • 1 cinnamon stick, cut in half
  • 1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) soy sauce (tamari if GF)
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) rice vinegar (optional)
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 10 medium mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 oz (180 g) rice noodles
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) neutral-flavoured oil

Ingredients for Tofu Strips

  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) neutral oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 block (350 g) firm tofu, thinly sliced

Ingredients for Garnishes

  • fresh basil
  • bean sprouts
  • Leaf Heart
    sliced jalapeño peppers
  • Leaf Heart
    hoisin sauce
  • sliced green onions/scallions
  • Leaf Heart
    lime slices
  • Leaf Heart
    sliced radish
  • Leaf Heart
    chili sauce or Sriracha hot sauce

Recommendations

Vegan Pho is not limited when it comes to the soup stock. You can mix different types of fruits and vegetables and use different herbs and spices of your liking. As long as you use the key ingredients and noodles. The vegetarian pho noodle soup recipe is a nutritious meal that your family will love.

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