A Healthy Vegetarian Pho recipe with a flavorful and nutritious mushroom broth. This veggie-packed meal will make you ditch the takeout and whip up this Vietnamese classic at home.
Here’s the thing about pho – it’s one of those meals that seems completely unattainable at home, but is actually deceptively easy. I’m not going to say it’s a quick process, but good pho requires simmer-time so as long as you have some patience, I have full faith in your ability to pull off pho at home.
I’ll be honest though, it wasn’t fulling confident in my abilities to pull off vegetarian pho at home. The one thing that sets apart a good pho from a bad pho is the broth. Pho-real, it’s all in the broth. And the base for standard pho is usually meat.
But about 6 months ago a new vietnamese place opened up close to us that was advertising vegan pho made from a mushroom broth. I was skeptical at first but also deeply excited because I’m trying to consume less meat. Plus mushrooms have amazing health benefits so I tried it with an open mind.
Little did I know that it would eventually turn me into a complete pho diva. I should preface this comment by saying that this is not your traditional Vietnamese restaurant…not unless most Vietnamese restaurants have a smoothie bar with a selection of plant-based protein powders at the front of the store. But now when I crave pho I just want my mushroom broth, which you’re almost guaranteed not to get at a Vietnamese restaurant.
So why develop a recipe to eat at home when I can literally walk 1/2 a block (okay, send C to walk half a block) to do take-out from a restaurant? I’ll tell you why…Sundays.
Sundays we usually find ourselves on struggle street when it comes to dinner. If you’ve ever tried to grocery shop at a grocery store in downtown Toronto on a Sunday, you will know why. There is nothing more anxiety provoking than every single yuppie of Toronto picking up their goods for the week. And especially not for someone who doesn’t do lines.
So I reserve grocery shopping for Mondays, when I can shop in peace and know that they won’t be out of bananas before 11:00 AM.
And to make matter worse, every single one of our favorite restaurants in the hood is closed on Sundays. No tacos, no sushi and especially no pho. God forbid we should go beyond a 4-block radius of our apartment!
This means that Sundays are a mishmash of whatever is left in our fridge, defrosted from our freezer or we patiently await the invite up to my parents for a home-cooked meal.
….or we make pho ourselves. What a thought!
Sometimes I actually have enough forethought to pick up the ingredients for this Healthy Vegetarian Pho earlier on the week so we can have our beloved mushroom broth pho on Sundays. Because I don’t have to worry about meat going bad, the ingredients keep throughout the week or I can whip it up earlier and eat leftovers on Sundays.
Which is why this week’s SOUPER SUNDAY recipe is my favorite one yet. I mastered vegetarian pho at home. If that doesn’t make Sunday SOUPER I don’t know what will.Print
Healthy Vegetarian Pho
- Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
- Yield: 6 large bowls
- 1 large onion
- 3 inch knob of ginger
- 3 star anise
- 6 whole cloves
- 10 cups of vegetable stock
- 1/2 lb shitake mushrooms (2 cups)
- 2 tbsp tamari
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- optional: 1/2 hot pepper, sliced
- 2 heads of bok choy, chopped
- 1 small head broccoli (about 2 cups), chopped into florets
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 package of rice noodles (around 400 grams)
- 2 cups bean sprouts, cooked
- fresh basil leaves
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
- Chop off end of shitake stem and discard. Chop remaining stem and caps into bite-size pieces.
- Add shitakes to stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and let simmer while onion and ginger bake (see below)/
- Peel onion and chop in half.
- Peel ginger and slice into 3 small chunks.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake on top rack for 20 minutes. Flip halfway through.
- Add in star anise and whole cloves to roast slightly for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove ingredients from oven and chop up ginger and onions and add to stock.
- Add toasted star anise and cloves, tamari, coconut sugar, salt, black pepper and hot pepper if using to stock.
- Bring stock to a boil and then lower heat and let simmer for 40 minutes.
- Add in bok choy, broccoli and carrot and cook in stock for 20 minutes.
- Cook noodles according to package instructions.
- Divide noodles in bowls and top with soup, bean sprouts, basil and lime wedge
- If storing for several days, keep stock separate from bean sprouts and noodles so they don’t get mushy.
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