Easy Vegan Pho

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This vegan pho is made with tender veggies, silky rice noodles, and hoisin tofu in a savory broth that’s packed with warming spices. The best part? It comes together in less than an hour!

Have you ever had pho? It’s the most amazingly delicious Vietnamese noodle soup. Unfortunately, vegan pho seems to be in short supply. Most of the Vietnamese places I’ve frequented offer a meatless option called something like “vegetarian noodle soup,” which is not pho. I know this because I finally found some veggie pho, and it was way better.

Legit pho is all about the broth. Pho broth is infused with whole spices and charred aromatics. It has a distinctive flavor that will absolutely warm you up when it’s cold outside. This stuff isn’t any ordinary noodle soup!

Not only is this vegan pho delicious, it’s actually easier to make than traditional pho, which involves a long and involved meat cooking process. Obviously we don’t have to worry about that here! A brief thirty minute simmer is all we need to infuse our broth with loads and loads of flavor.

Jump to:
  • Ingredients You’ll Need
  • How It’s Made
  • Leftovers & Storage
  • More Vegan Noodle Soups
  • Easy Vegan Pho

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Onion.
  • Fresh ginger.
  • Whole spices. These are essential. In some recipes you can cheat and use ground spices, but whole spices are necessary to getting the flavor of your pho broth right. You’ll need cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamom pods, fennel, cloves, and coriander seeds.
  • Vegetable stock. I highly recommend using an unsalted or low sodium vegetable stock. This will allow you to season it with as much soy sauce as you’d like without risking oversalting it! I used Kitchen Basics unsalted vegetable stock.
  • Soy sauce. Tamari or liquid aminos can be substituted if needed.
  • Salt.
  • Rice noodles. Ideally you’ll want to use medium-sized flat rice noodles, though you can certainly make the recipe work with other types. I used Thai Kitchen stir-fry rice noodles.
  • Peanut oil. Another high-heat oil such as canola oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil could be substituted.
  • Shiitake mushrooms.
  • Tofu. The recipe calls for super firm tofu. You can substitute with extra firm tofu, but you’ll need to press it before cooking.
  • Hoisin sauce. Look for this in the international foods section of your supermarket.
  • Carrots.
  • Accompaniments. Toppings and accompaniments are an essential part of a pho dinner! They can include fresh basil (preferably holy basil or Thai basil), cilantro, scallions (also known as green onions), bean sprouts, lime wedges, hot peppers, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and sriracha sauce. You don’t necessarily need to use all of them, but the more the better!

Tip: To keep this vegan pho recipe gluten-free, just use gluten-free tamari and make sure your hoisin sauce is gluten-free.

How It’s Made

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!

  • The first step to making your broth is charring the onion and ginger. Quarter your onion and slice your piece of ginger in half, thickness wise.
  • Option 1: Open flame. If you have a gas burner or another open flame you can use to char them (such as a barbecue grill), use it! Grasp the pieces with tongs and hold them each one over the flame for a few minutes until it begins to char.
  • Option 2: Broiler. If you don’t have an open flame you can use, simply place them on a baking sheet and under a broiler until they darken.
  • Place a large pot over medium heat. Give it a minute to heat up, then add your whole spices. Toast them for about 1 minute, stirring often and keeping an eye on them to avoid burning.
  • Add your charred aromatics to the pot, along with the broth. Heat it up, bring the broth to a boil, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Remove the spices and aromatics from the broth when it’s done cooking, then season it with some soy sauce.

Tip: Feel free to let your broth simmer longer for extra flavor, but make sure to add some water if the liquid reduces too much.

  • Cook your noodles while the broth simmers. You can refer to the package directions for how to do this, but most brands require just a few minutes of boiling.
  • Cook the shiitakes. Heat some oil in a medium skillet, then add sliced shiitake caps. Cook them for a few minutes, giving them just one or two flips so they get browned all over.
  • Take the mushrooms out of the skillet when they’re done.
  • Add a bit more oil to the skillet, then add cubed tofu. Pan-fry the tofu for a few minutes on each side, until browned and crispy.
  • Pour some hoisin sauce over the tofu, flip it a few times and let everything cook until the sauce forms a thick coating on the tofu.
  • Once your broth has finished simmering, divide the cooked rice noodles, tofu, mushrooms and julienne cut carrots among four bowls.
  • Ladle the broth over everything, then pile on the toppings and enjoy!

Leftovers & Storage

Ideally you’ll want to store each of the components of your vegan pho in a separate airtight container in the refrigerator, where they’ll keep for 3 to 4 days.

The broth can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

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