Vietnamese Vegan Pho Noodle Soup

June 7, 2014

Vietnamese pho soup

Noodle houses are all the rage here in Los Angeles because who doesn't love noodles?

My personal favorite is Vietnamese style noodle soup, but it is very difficult to find vegan pho. A traditional pho consists of noodles in a light sweet broth usually accompanied by basil, lime and chili. You can judge how good a pho soup is by how much concentrated flavor is packed in the broth.

Traditional pho is often made with animal protein so last weekend I decided to make some homemade vegan pho. My goal was to create the same balance of  sweet, salty, and spicy flavors of a traditional pho soup.

I am happy to say this noodle soup was a success.

Pho is also the perfect summer soup because of all the fragrant herbs and summertime vegetables that are available. Once you make the broth, anything goes.

You can ladle the broth over many delicious plant based ingredients including spinach, broccoli, asparagus, radishes, bok choy, grated zucchini, grated carrots, sprouts and tofu. I chose my vegetables by what I had in the fridge.

When storing left-overs, I recommend keeping the broth separate from the noodles so the noodles don't absorb all the broth. Also, I didn't have any rice noodles so I used capellini pasta and it worked perfectly. Hope you enjoy this delicious plant based vegan pho soup as much as I did.

Vietnamese Vegan Pho Noodle Soup

Vegan Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
You can make this pho oil-free by omitting the oil and sautéing in vegetable broth.
Serves: 6
  • 1 tablespoons chili oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos or fresno chilis, chopped (or more if you like heat)
  • 10 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 stalks lemon grass, chopped
  • ½ cup ginger, peeled and chopped (or more)
  • 4 whole star anise (star-shaped spice) or 1 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 2 cinamon sticks
  • ⅓ cup fresh basil leaves and stems
  • ⅓ cup fresh mint leaves and stems
  • ⅓ cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 7 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 8 ounce package of rice noodles (or cappelini pasta)
  • 1 8 ounce package of cubed extra-firm organic tofu, grilled *
  • 2 cups sprouts
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves (or green of your choice)
  • 2 baby bok choy, chopped and lightly steamed
  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 serrano chilies, thinly sliced
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  1. Heat the chili oil in a large pot. Add all the ingredients except for the veggie broth, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and broth sugar. Saute for about 3 minutes stirring constantly adding a little veggie broth if sticking until fragrant. Add all the vegetable broth, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and brown sugar. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, 1 hour. Strain broth, and return to pot. Discard solids. Return to heat to keep hot.
  2. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to directions. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Divide noodles, tofu, sprouts, spinach leaves, radishes, basil, cilantro and mint among bowls. Ladle hot broth into bowls. Stick a lime slice inside of the bowl. Top with sliced green onions and thinly sliced chilis. Serve with cilantro and lime wedges on the side.
* To prepare tofu.
  1. Remove cubes from package. Wrap in a towel and lay something heavy on top like a cast iron pan for 15 minutes to remove moisture. Saute dry cubes in a non-stick pan until golden on both sides.



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