Vegan Pho - A classic Vietnamese comfort dish that is so hearty and nourishing, made plant-based with tofu and mushrooms! This recipe is quick and easy to make in under 1 hour, and is delicious and nourishing.
What is Pho?
Pho is the most popular Vietnamese dish - a nourishing, warm bowl of noodle soup, consisting of rice noodles, fresh herbs, a type of meat like beef or chicken and a flavorful broth. Vietnamese people like to serve Pho as a breakfast dish at street food stalls and restaurants.
It is considered a Vietnamese national dish and the pride of many Vietnamese people. If I have people over, I love to share a bowl of Pho with them to showcase my culture and the diversity of Vietnamese food!
To make this recipe, you'll need:
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 thumb-sized ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 star anise
- ½ tablespoon coriander seeds
- 3 liter water
- 3 carrots
- 250 g white mushrooms
- 2 daikons (or sub with 4 celery sticks)
- 2 teaspoon salt or mushroom seasoning
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Optional kombu seaweed
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 200 g king oyster mushroom
- 400 g firm or medium firm tofu
- Rice noodles
- Green onions
- Thai basil (optional)
- Lime wedges
- Chili slices (optional)
- Hoisin sauce
Make the aromatics:
Chop the yellow onion in half, and chop the ginger into thin slices (no need to peel).
Roast the onion, ginger slices, cinnamon stick, star anise and coriander on a pan or open flame. Flip the onion and ginger when they are charred on the other side. This takes about 3-5 minutes.
When the spices are fragrant, remove from heat. When they are cool enough to handle, use a knife to remove the charred outer layer of the onion and ginger. Wrap the spices in a cheese cloth or spice bags.
Make the vegan Pho broth:
Wash and chop the celeries, carrots and mushrooms into equal-sized chunks. In a big pot, add the water, followed by the chopped celeries, carrots and mushrooms.
Add the spice bag, kombu and bring to a boil.
Add all the seasonings: mushroom seasonings/salt, soy sauce, sugar and simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on.
Make the toppings
First, pat dry the tofu and cut into thin slices. Wash the king oyster mushrooms and slice them in half. The optional step is to use a knife to create a criss-crossed pattern.
Cut the tofu into bite-sized pieces
Cut the mushrooms in half and score to create a criss-crossed pattern
Fry the tofu until golden brown and crispy on both sides, add salt to taste
Fry the mushrooms until golden brown and crispy on both sides, add salt to taste.
Assemble the vegan Pho with rice noodles, the toppings, fresh herbs and chili.
Cook the Pho rice noodles according to package instructions
Add the tofu, mushrooms, and chopped scallions
Pour over the flavorful broth
Garnish with fresh herbs, like cilantro, Thai basil and chili slices
Variations of Vegan Pho toppings
There are many variants of toppings across Vietnam. I am using king oyster mushrooms and tofu, but you can use other types of mushrooms and plant-based meats. I fry them until golden and crispy, and they have a meaty texture that complements well with the veggie broth. The other toppings of Pho depend on the region:
- In the Northern region, we typically have pho with green onions, and herbs like Thai basil and coriander (cilantro).
- Southern region uses bean sprouts as a topping, a wider variety of herbs and a drizzle of hoisin sauce. Southern version of Pho is often served with condiments such as Sriracha hot sauce and Hoisin sauce.
In my Pho, I love to combine flavors of both regions and drizzle on the hoisin sauce and sriracha.
What makes a good Vegan Pho?
The secret of Pho is in the broth, traditionally made with a bone broth that is simmered overnight. In this vegan version, I use the natural sweetness of the white mushrooms, carrots and celery as well as the umami component of the kombu and mushroom seasoning. The recipe also creates the pho aromatics by roasting the cinnamon, star anise, coriander seeds, onion, and ginger on an open flame to activate the fragrance.
It takes around 30-40 minutes for the broth to absorb all the goodness. During this time, you can prepare toppings and cook rice noodles.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can keep the remaining vegetables to eat as they are, make soup out of them or add them as Pho toppings
The type of Pho noodles we use in Vietnam is a type of rice noodles, commonly referred to as Banh Pho, Rice Stick Noodles or Pho Noodles. You can get these at Asian supermarkets or in the Asian section of some supermarkets. This type is wider than vermicelli noodles. You can use fresh or dry and cook according to package instructions.
You could use other vegetables like bok choy, spinach or mock meats like plant-based beef or chicken.
If you have tried my recipe, please let me know what you think by leaving me a review on this page or tagging me on Instagram @veggieanh. I would love to see your creations!Print