Vegan Pho » Vietnamese Noodle Soup
If you like noodles, you'll like this.
If you like soup, you'll like this.
If you like noodle soup, you'll love this. Obviously.
I spent most of my adult life living in Vancouver, Canada, where you kind find a plethora of Vietnamese pho restaurants. And because it's the "hippie west coast" I almost never had an issue finding a vegan option or creating a vegan option for my noodle bowl - I love how accommodating places like Vancouver are to the plant-based lifestyle.
My only regret is I learned about pho in my later years. Had I learned about it before I think I would have eaten so many bowls I would have turned into noodles myself! And I can't make up for lost time, because now living in the Netherlands, especially in the smaller city where I live, there is no pho in sight... #phogoodnesssake!
So nearly 6 months later into living here I decided to take matters into my own hands and learn how to make this divine creation. It took 3 tries before I feel I got it "right". The first time I didn't dry roast the veggies and spices to make the dish more aromatic. The second time I realized the dish also needed a little touch of oil to help extracts some of the flavours from the spices and veggies and infuse it into the broth. But as they say: third time was a charm.
I highly recommend loading the bowl plenty with all the condiments, like you would be offered if eating at a traditional Vietnamese pho restaurant. Don't skimp out on this!
Be sure to use hoisin sauce and fresh basil (my two favourites of this dish), but also adding things like bean sprouts, fresh lime juice, and some chili or Sriracha sauce, as well as any other condiments you enjoy.
My favourite part about making this at home: how the home smells like you've walked into a pho noodle house. #phogoodnesssake again! So amazing. You'll just have to try it out for yourself to see.
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Vegan Pho » Vietnamese Noodle Soup
▸ ▹ Vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, nut-free
Yield: 2 large servings; 3 small servings Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 35 min Total Time: 45 min
INGREDIENTS: Noodle Soup
1 yellow onion, peeled, cut into large chunks
2 shallots, peeled, cut in half
2 cloves garlic, cut in half
2”/5 cm chunk ginger, peeled, cut in half
1 cinnamon stick, cut in half
1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
6 whole cloves
3 star anise
1 tsp (5 mL) neutral-flavoured oil
1 vegetable bouillon cube
2 Tbsp (30 mL) soy sauce (tamari if GF)
1 tsp (5 mL) rice vinegar (optional)
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 head broccoli, cut into florets
10 medium mushrooms, sliced
6 oz (180 g) rice noodles
INGREDIENTS: Tofu Strips
1 block (350 g) firm tofu, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp (15 mL) neutral oil
1 tsp salt
INGREDIENTS: Optional Garnish *But Highly Recommended
sliced green onions/scallions
sliced jalapeño peppers
chili sauce or Sriracha hot sauce
Place the onion, shallots, garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cloves, and star anise in a medium pot on high heat and dry roast until fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring throughout.
Then add 1 tsp oil and continue to sauté for another 60 seconds before adding 5 cups water and crushing in one vegetable bouillon cube. Bring to a boil, the reduce to a simmer for 25 min to allow the flavours to meld, partly covered.
Prepare the tofu by heating oil in a non-stick pan on high heat, and sprinkle salt to evenly distribute. Then add the sliced tofu to the pan, decrease the heat the heat to medium-high and do not disturb until golden, about 5-8 minutes. Then flip and allow other side to cook; again, do not disturb until golden, about 5 min. Remove from heat and set aside.
Add a strainer to the top of a large pot on medium-high heat and drain the broth from step #2, straining out the onions, garlic, ginger and spices. To this broth, add the soy sauce through mushrooms, and partly cover, allowing to simmer for about 5 minutes.
While the veggies cook, add the rice noodles to a small pot on high heat and cover with boiling water. Allow to cook until al dente, about 1 minute. Drain and set aside.
To prepare the noodle bowl, simply divide the noodles between the bowls, ladle veggies and broth on top, add the cooked tofu and load the bowl full with all the garnish. By favourites are the fresh basil, hoisin sauce, bean sprouts and chili sauce. Serve immediately and enjoy while hot!
Variations: add any other veggies like bok choy, edamame beans, shiitake mushrooms, fresh cilantro, crispy onion flakes, etc.
Speed-it-up: using edamame as your plant-based protein saves time compared to making your own tofu. If doing this, add at the same time you add the carrots to the pot.
Storage: best to enjoy immediately. Leftovers can be stored for up to one day and reheated before serving.
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