Vegan Pho





Pho is a popular Vietnamese street food that has become one of the most well-known Vietnamese dishes in the US. It is so popular that there are entire restaurants sprouting up all over the place devoted to serving this steamy, fragrant, and brothy noodle soups. Generally, pho is treated as the entree of a meal, but you can always serve smaller portions to be used as a starter or side.

As with most street foods, this soup is a comfort food that is FULL of flavor. However, unlike the rest of the street food genre, this noodle soup can be much more healthy for you. It can also be adjusted to accommodate most any aversions…just omit the offending ingredient!

The problem: Restaurant soups can be so tricky for vegetarians because stock and broth seem to find their ways into even the most vegetarian sounding foods. Pho is no different. Pho is traditionally made with a beef broth and served with beef or chicken. Sigh…!! But no fear, I’m not about to let something like that get in the way of our gustatory experience!

This soup is a little more complicated and requires more planning ahead than some of my other recipes – especially if you need to make an extra stop at the local Asian grocery store for some of the special ingredients. I promise though, it’s totally worth the effort!!! This recipe also makes a ton of broth so you can easily freeze it for quick use later.

Pronunciation note: Due to its spelling, many people mistakenly pronounce pho as “FO”, when in fact, the pronunciation is more similar to “FUH”…as in “fun” without the “n”.

Happy slurping!

Nutrition Facts
4-8 servings per container
Serving size 1.5 cups

Amount per serving
Calories 221
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6.1g 8%
Saturated Fat 0.8g 4%
Trans Fat g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 902mg 40%
Total Carbohydrate 35.5g 12%
Dietary Fiber 2.7g 10%
Total Sugars 4.7g
Includes g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 8.6g

Calcium 11.6mg 1%
Iron 8.6mg 48%
Manganese 23.5%
Copper 6.2%
Folate 2.5%
Phosphorus 9%
Selenium 11.6%
Thiamin 3.4%
Zinc 4.1%
Magnesium 5.2%
Not a significant source of vitamin D, or potassium.

The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
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1 small unpeeled onion, quartered
2 unpeeled shallots, halved
8 garlic cloves, halved
1" ginger, sliced
Two 3" cinnamon sticks, whole
3 star anise, whole
4 cloves, whole
1 tsp black peppercorn, whole
1 tsp coriander seeds, whole
1 tsp fennel seeds, whole
3 black cardamom pods, whole
8 cups clear stock or water
3 tbs soy sauce
salt and sugar to taste (I don't generally have to add these)
Remaining Ingredients:
1 package banh pho noodles (or any rice noodle of choice)
8 oz seitan/fried tofu/fresh tofu
6 scallions, chopped
1.5 cups bean sprouts (the thick kind, not the stringy kind)
6+ white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup shredded carrot
basil, cilantro, mint
1 lime, wedged
* Click to ingredient to choose one


Heat a very large pot over med-high heat. Do not add any kind of oil.
Add the quartered onion, shallots, garlic, ginger, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, peppercorn, coriander seeds, fennel, and cardamom pods.
Keep an eye on these as you dry roast them until they char.
Once charred, add stock and soy sauce and bring to a boil.
Cover and turn heat to med-low to simmer for as long as you have. Seriously, the longer the better. At least 30 minutes but up to 3 hours.
Once you've simmered to your heart's content, strain the solids from your broth and discard. Taste the broth and adjust seasoning if necessary.
At this point, you can stop if you want to keep this broth for later. Freeze or refrigerate and continue with the next steps only before serving.
Warm the broth over low-medium heat.
Meanwhile, prepare the noodles (soaking per package instructions) and seitan/tofu. Wash and chop the vegetables and herbs. You don't need to include all the vegetables/herbs that I've listed and you can certainly choose to add others. I'd highly recommend keeping the basil and cilantro.
Add the noodles and protein to the heated broth.
Now you have a decision to make. You can add all the vegetables and herbs to the Pho before serving, or you can serve them on the side for your eager eaters to stir in however they'd like. Me? I typically add the vegetables prior to serving and serve the herbs and lime on the side so the herbs don't get soggy...and, more importantly, so my husband is forced to eat the veggies. Bwahahaha! I'm an evil mastermind.