Vegan Pho – A classic Vietnamese comfort dish that is so hearty and nourishing! This recipe is quick and easy to make, yet full of flavors.
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!
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. You can create 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.
Vegan Pho toppings
There are many variants of toppings across Vietnam. I am using king oyster mushroom and tofu, but you can use other types of mushroom 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.
In my Pho, I love to combine flavors of both regions and drizzle on the hoisin sauce and sriracha.
What type of noodles are used in Pho?
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.
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!
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 thumb-sized ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 star anise
- ½ tbsp coriander seeds
- 1.2 liter water
- 3 carrots
- 250 g white mushrooms
- 4 celery sticks
- 2 tsp salt or mushroom seasoning
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 kombu a type of seaweed
- 1 tbsp 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 Pho aroma
- 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 pho broth
- Wash and chop the celery, carrot and white mushrooms into big chunks.
- In a pot, add the water and the chopped vegetables along with the kombu and spice bag. Bring to a boil.
- Add the mushroom seasoning/salt, sugar, soy sauce.
- Put the lid on the pot and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
Make the pho toppings
- Pat dry the tofu block and cut into thin slices.
- Wash the king oyster mushroom and slice in half. Optional step: Score the mushroom to create a nice pattern.
- On a pan on medium-high heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the king oyster mushroom and tofu pieces.
- Let them sit to crispy up, about 5 minutes. Flip when the other side of the mushroom and tofu is golden brown.
- After both sides are golden, remove from heat.
- Wash and chop the green onions.
- Wash the coriander, Thai basil and remove the stems.
Assemble the Pho bowl
- Cook the rice noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and avoid sticking.
- Season the broth to your taste with salt and sugar. Use a strainer to remove the vegetables and spices from the broth.
- In a bowl: add the pho noodles, the toppings (crispy tofu, king oyster mushroom, green onions, Thai basil, coriander, lime wedges) followed by the broth.
- Add sauces and a squeeze of lime to your likings and enjoy!