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If you thought pho was for restaurants or weekend stove duty, think again. This vegan vegetable-filled soup is made in the time it takes for a takeaway delivery. Use the recommended edamame noodles for even more filling protein. Make double the stock and freeze some for another time. You'll be glad that you did.

If you thought pho was for restaurants or weekend stove duty, think again. This vegan, vegetable-filled soup is made in the time it takes for a takeaway delivery. Use the recommended edamame noodles for even more filling protein. Make double the stock and freeze some for another time. You’ll be glad that you did.

If you thought pho was for restaurants or weekend stove duty, think again. This vegan vegetable-filled soup is made in the time it takes for a takeaway delivery. Use the recommended edamame noodles for even more filling protein. Make double the stock and freeze some for another time. You'll be glad that you did.The first time I ate Vietnamese food, made by Vietnamese chefs, was about five or six years ago in London. I know it’s not “proper” proper, but I believe it was probably as authentic as we would get without flying nearly 7,000 miles. Less tiring. And cooler,ย too.

Me being me I researched this two-hour slot in our schedule in excruciating detail. Actually all London meals were thoroughly planned: menus were downloaded, recommendations elicited on Twitter, walking directions and ย Tube stations and stops were memorised. But when we got to where I had carefully selected, it was shut for a funeral. You can’t be mad about that of course, but we wereย left standing there, the tables, chairs and menus all tantalisingly on view through the lacy curtain, our stomachs ready for spicy slurpy food. I might have knocked my head against the door in a childish way. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you thought pho was for restaurants or weekend stove duty, think again. This vegan vegetable-filled soup is made in the time it takes for a takeaway delivery. Use the recommended edamame noodles for even more filling protein. Make double the stock and freeze some for another time. You'll be glad that you did.Disappointed, we wandered further into Sohoย and soonย spied a small queue outside a tatty frontage. Never wanting to be left out we wandered over to see why theyย were queueing (this being pre-cleaned up Soho, you couldn’t reallyย be sure itย was for something entirely legal, or indeed food). As we approached we saw that the inside was obscured not by lacy curtains but by steam. A young couple exited, wreathed in smiles and bringing withย them the distinctive humid aroma of star anise and rich broth. Without a word we joined the orderly line and pressed ourselves against the cold wall to wait our turn.

Soon the three of us were in possession of a small rickety table and an embarrassing number of dishes. We just kept ordering.

I can’t quite remember the names of the dishes, but all delighted. Aย bowl and plateย were standouts – the pho and the bรกnh xรจo (sizzling savoury cake). As we crunched and slurped our way through this visual and taste feast – so many colours and textures – I almost couldn’t wait to get home to have a bash myself.

Since that time I have mostly relied on the few Vietnamese restaurants in Edinburgh rather than my own kitchen to get my fix of this heady, light and healthy cuisine. Especially the pho (pronounced, of course,”fuh”).If you thought pho was for restaurants or weekend stove duty, think again. This vegan vegetable-filled soup is made in the time it takes for a takeaway delivery. Use the recommended edamame noodles for even more filling protein. Make double the stock and freeze some for another time. You'll be glad that you did.

One sticking point for homemade is the broth. A proper broth takes absolute ages to achieve the body and depth that makes proper pho a real standout. Most of us don’t have time for that. Over the yearsย I have, if not perfected my veggie broth, then refined it. Deepened it. Below I tell you how.

If you aren’t familiar with pho it is pretty much the national dish of Vietnam, so I really have no business telling you how to make it. But it really is too good not to share, even if a Vietnamese mama or chef would I’m sure scorn my 30 minute-ish effort. It is a most heavenly broth flavoured with singed spices and base vegetables then simmered before straining over cooked rice noodles and fresh herbs. Authentically it should include thinly sliced raw beef and loads of beansprouts. I do neither. Beansprouts and red meat are not really my friends these days. I have however made it a bit British by adding fresh lemon verbena instead of coriander/cilantro, and it really works and is a great option for those who can’t stand coriander. But use the coriander if that’s what you haveย and like. I likeย it too, but just didn’t have any for the photos. So, I’m not that much of a planner. ๐Ÿ™‚

What restaurant favourite do you make – or like me try to make – at home?

If you thought pho was for restaurants or weekend stove duty, think again. This vegan vegetable-filled soup is made in the time it takes for a takeaway delivery. Use the recommended edamame noodles for even more filling protein. Make double the stock and freeze some for another time. You'll be glad that you did.

Easy Vegetarian Pho Recipe with Rich 30-Minute Broth

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

If you thought pho was for restaurants or weekend stove duty, think again. This vegan vegetable-filled soup is made in the time it takes for a takeaway delivery. Use the recommended edamame noodles for even more filling protein. Make double the stock and freeze some for another time. You’ll be glad that you did.

Oh, and do use whatever veggies that you like to eat only very lightly cooked or just blanched. My Scottish homegrown tweaks include freshly-picked lemon verbena, carrots in the stock to add sweetness, and fresh purple sugarsnap peas, teeny yellow squash, steamed eggplant, ribbons of chard and kale, plus cherry tomatoes straight from the bush. xx

The Broth

4 star anise

6 cm piece cinnamon stick, broken

1 rounded tsp coriander seeds

2 tsp black peppercorns or Vietnamese peppercorns

3 whole cloves

1 thumb-sized piece of gingerroot, peeled and sliced lengthways

3 peeled garlic cloves, sliced lengthways (I actually prefer it without garlic)

1 large onion or 4-5 shallots, cut in thick slices/or in halfย – peel on or off OR 1 large leek, sliced

3 medium carrots, roughly cut up

4 dried shiitake mushrooms (optional)

2 litres water orย light vegetable stock (I use Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon)

1-2 tbsp soy sauce, fish sauce or coconut aminos – to taste

Add-Ins – add a few, not all

Cubed eggplant/aubergine

1 pack flat dried rice noodles (brown or white), edamame noodles (I use Asian Explorer brand, available online or at health food stores), courgetti/zoodles

Diced sauteed tofu (I used frozen deep-fried tofu from my favourite Chinese supermarket), rehydrated crumbled yuba sheets ,or any protein you like (if meat or chicken, cook first or use leftovers)

Sugarsnap peas, cut longbeans or fine beans

Pea shoots

Summer squash or courgette/zucchini, thinly sliced (if not used as noodles)

Chard or kale, de-ribbed and sliced into ribbons (or pak choi for closer authenticity)

Cherry tomatoes, halved

Sauteed mushrooms

Blanched bean sprouts

Sliced hot chillies

Lime wedges

Lemon verbena, basil, coriander/cilantro or mint – any variation that you fancy

Method:picmonkeypho

1. Heat a heavy skillet or pan and add the spices. Let them toast for 2 minutes, until they release their aroma. Set them aside for a moment. Add the ginger, onion and garlic slices and allow to sear on all sides – really brown them. This is essential. I find a cast-iron skillet the best pan for this job but it is not essential by any means.

2. Bring the stock or water to the boil and add the toasted spices and vegetables, as well as the carrots andย mushrooms, if using. Return to the boil then reduce to simmer and pop on the lid. Let the stock simmer undercover for 30 minutes at a minimum. I sometimes do this for an hour, but at a very low simmer. Strain through a fine sieve or muslin cloth laid in a colander and add the soy or fish sauce, to taste. Some of you might like to add a bit of brown or palm sugar, or a little salt, especially if you used water rather than stock.

3. For the pho itself, cook the noodles to packet directions. The aubergines, if using, you will steam too – either hung in a sieve over the simmering broth for 8-10 minutes, or steamed separately (or indeed use leftover roasted). The rest of prep is just making sure everything is cut into bite-sized pieces.

To serve, tong cooked noodles into each bowl, top with your desired add-ins, ladle over the steaming broth and serve with lime and the fresh herbs.

Soft food diet: This broth can be the basis of many soft diet soups using any produce and protein that you are able to manage in the form that is suitable for you.

If you thought pho was for restaurants or weekend stove duty, think again. This vegan vegetable-filled soup is made in the time it takes for a takeaway delivery. Use the recommended edamame noodles for even more filling protein. Make double the stock and freeze some for another time. You'll be glad that you did.

Other Vietnamese-style recipes on Food To Glow:

Marinated Mushroom Bahn Mi

Bรกnh xรจo – Over-stuffed Vietnamese Savoury Crepes

and my older, longer version of this recipe, A Really Useful Asian Broth

***I have loads and loads more southeast-Asian dishes in my Food To Glow recipe indexย for youย to peruse.***

Slurpy Asian soups from fellow food writers:

Japanese Miso, Kale and Tofu Soup

Chicken Ramenย 

Asian Kale, Noodle Coconut Broth

Grilled Tofu, Bok Choy and Soba Noodle Soup

Vietnamese-inspired Noodle Soup (not a pho)

Super Simple Noodle Soup For Every Season

Hot and Sour Mushroom and Tofu Soup

Keep In Touch!

You can also find me on:

Instagramย โ€“ behind the scenes with my recipe development (triumphs and tragedies!) and mini, Instagram-only recipes;

Twitterย โ€“ย tweeting on health, nutrition and global news, as well as sharing other bloggersโ€™ content;

Facebookย โ€“ย posting on the latest nutrition and food stories, as well as sharing recipe links;ย 

Pinterestย โ€“ loads of boards on food, travel, food writing, blogging,ย health and novelย ingredients;

Huffington Postย โ€“ย writingย bespokeย recipes and opinionย pieces on my own Huff Post blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29 thoughts on “Easy Vegetarian Pho Recipe with Rich 30-Minute Broth

  1. It sounds simply divine and pretty simple to make – thank you!

  2. Wow this looks heavenly, I need to experiment more with Vietnamese dishes – they are so delicious and flavoursome! I am so in love with your crockery – its gorgeous!!

    1. Thanks Isabella. I like it too. I have tons of crockery stuff but I am always drawn to these bowls. I really need a clear out!

  3. Archana says:

    LOVE pho! The recipe looks amazing and re pictures are incredible. Would make this soon for sure.

    1. I am honoured. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Oh my gosh, this looks a.maz.ing. Allll those veggies and noodles and tofu… yum. I love the idea of making extra broth and freezing it, as I’m not sure I’d get around to making it from scratch every time!

    1. I always like comments with full stops! Thanks Becca. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. superfitbabe says:

    Ah pho, as a Vietnamese gal, I LOVE THIS! To make it vegan, I would use vegan oyster or vegan fish sauce! I always am intrigued as to how Vietnamese restaurants make their pho broth SO delicious!

    1. Of course! I know it isn’t traditional but… Thanks for your enthusiastic and not at all skeptical reaction. Very much appreciated. I doubt your grandmother would think much of though! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I love a good pho, Kellie. Ate the best beef pho ever at a seaside market recently. Do love the sound of this one, thank you for a cracker of a recipe.

    1. Thanks so much, Liz. It will get made more often. I’ve neglected this recipe for far too long. The reaction of my daughter reminded me that I should blog it. Thanks for taking the time to comment xx

  7. This looks brilliant – I have dreams of making pho but I think I get intimidated (and occasionally disheartened by a disappointing one in a cafe). I love all the colour and vegies in this and even the lemon verbena as I am not a coriander fan.

    1. Thanks, Johanna. I do like coriander but I grow the verbena and am always trying to find ways to include it, and luckily this works. Basil and of course the more usual mint are great, too. No need to torture yourself with coriander!

  8. thecraftylarder says:

    Mmmmmmm… I had my first Pho on Friday and I LOVED it. Until then I’d only had ramen which I guess is very similar but still different. The restaurant I was eating in saw me begin to eat and the waiter said “this looks like it’s going to get messy” and returned quickly with a paper bib for me! Ha!

    1. I wish someone would give me a bib when I go out, Kevin. I wouldn’t be insulted, just grateful! I think I must have a magnetic chest lol. Thanks again for the pointer to the Miranda vid. I think it has made quite a few readers laugh. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. This is such a wonderful recipe Kellie, I love the bowls you’ve used to serve it in too – it makes the colours of the pho really pop! I’m not much a fan of tofu, but I suppose I could use chicken for my protein. My faourite restaurant dish is Pad Thai, and whilst I have tried to recreate it, its never quite the same (probably as I won’t use sugar – lol!). Beautiful as ever!

    1. Thank you, Ceri. It is really very good if I say so my self. The intense broth makes it, of course. Yes, chicken would be good. Or prawns. The bowl came from Japan and the little dishes are from Copenhagen. One of them is actually a zinc plant saucer!

  10. This looks amazing! Have you ever been to Hoxton? You can’t move for Vietnamese restaurants ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I haven’t in years, Cathy. If you have a recommended one, do let me know will you? I will pop it on a Pinterest board for the next time I am down.

  11. I tend to order out for pho, but now I want to make this. I bet all those spices in the broth make for something intensely fragrant.

    1. It does! The aroma is transporting stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. This looks delicious, I would not hesitate to order it in a restaurant. Your recipe makes it sound simple though, so I might brave it. Love using aubergines in my cooking.

    1. Do let me know if you find the time to try this. I think you will like it. The broth is a definite keeper. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Katka says:

    Kellie it looks great! I never tried Vietnamese food but I’m saving this recipe to try it soon. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I hope you enjoy it very much, Katka. It’s a flexible recipe so add what you fancy to the broth once it is made up. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Sally says:

    If I ever come to your house you may have to check my handbag for those bowls! Love

    1. Ha ha! I should install a ceramic-detecting body scanner. I have a few people eyeing up my dishes!

If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

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