gluten-free soup soup sunday vegan

SOUPER SUNDAY: Healthy Vegetarian Pho

February 7, 2016

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.

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.

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.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.

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.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.


Healthy Vegetarian Pho

  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 large bowls 1x


  • 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


  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. Chop off end of shitake stem and discard. Chop remaining stem and caps into bite-size pieces.
  3. Add shitakes to stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and let simmer while onion and ginger bake (see below)/
  4. Peel onion and chop in half.
  5. Peel ginger and slice into 3 small chunks.
  6. Place on a baking sheet and bake on top rack for 20 minutes. Flip halfway through.
  7. Add in star anise and whole cloves to roast slightly for an additional 5 minutes.
  8. Remove ingredients from oven and chop up ginger and onions and add to stock.
  9. Add toasted star anise and cloves, tamari, coconut sugar, salt, black pepper and hot pepper if using to stock.
  10. Bring stock to a boil and then lower heat and let simmer for 40 minutes.
  11. Add in bok choy, broccoli and carrot and cook in stock for 20 minutes.
  12. Cook noodles according to package instructions.
  13. Divide noodles in bowls and top with soup, bean sprouts, basil and lime wedge
  14. If storing for several days, keep stock separate from bean sprouts and noodles so they don’t get mushy.

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.Do you have a typical Sunday meal? Have you ever tried making pho?


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  • Reply
    Kelly @ Eat the Gains
    February 7, 2016 at 10:17 am

    I don’t think I have actually ever had pho! The place you described sounds like my kind of place though. Pinning this to try!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      February 7, 2016 at 10:51 am

      You will LOVE it! It’s like a rich, veggie-packed chicken soup without the chicken (duh!) and more kick 😉

  • Reply
    February 7, 2016 at 10:59 am

    What is this patience thing you speak of? Pho real. 😉

    Just kidding, I love soup and I find the longer it simmers, the better it is. Pho sure.

  • Reply
    Christy @ Feasting Not Fasting
    February 7, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Oh wow, I’m super impressed! I’m so incredibly obsessed with pho but haven’t tried it at home because I’ve heard how time consuming it is. You make this vegetarian one sound easy as can be. Maybe I’ll get over my at-home pho-phobia and make this soup happen. Maybe…

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      February 7, 2016 at 11:53 am

      no more PHObia for you! It’s not hard at all, just a little bit of patience 🙂

  • Reply
    February 7, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    I’ve had pho only once and that was in San Francisco, I loved it! It was a huge bowl though haha. Never tried at home but this broth sounds delicious! I’ll give it a try once I find those mushrooms.

  • Reply
    Emilie @ Emilie Eats
    February 7, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    These pics are so freaking ON POINT. Gah, can I just come over for a photography workshop? And of course a huge bowl of pho.

  • Reply
    Liz @ I Heart Vegetables
    February 7, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    This looks amazing! I love how colorful it is 🙂 My husband loves Pho (and so do I!) so this would be a fun one to make together!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      February 9, 2016 at 7:28 am

      It’s the perfect couple’s dinner! Perhaps a little Valentine’s Day date night in action?! 😉

  • Reply
    February 7, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Can’t wait to make this for my carnivore boyfriend! Thanks 🙂

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      February 9, 2016 at 7:25 am

      He will LOVE! One of the recipes that’s gotten my boyfriend over to the dark side 😉

  • Reply
    Stella @ Stellicious Life
    February 11, 2016 at 9:39 am

    That photo is so incredibly crisp it almost hurst the eye! Gorgeous! 🙂

    No, I’ve never tried making pho at home, always thought it was complicated (just like tortilla soup -> my two fav take out soups I eat). Pho has a romantic connotation for me, as one of our first date took place at a Vietnamese restaurant and I made Boyfriend discover the wonders of pho (he became such a fan he ate it at least 4 times a week for some time ;-). To this day we love to stop by that place and eat big bowls of vegetarian pho (they don’t have such an option on the menu but for us they don’t add the meat).

    I love mushroms, so will have to give this a try … once I get over my trepidation of making pho at home 😉

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      February 12, 2016 at 9:18 am

      I promise you can handle it!!! The instructions are pretty straight-forward. You just need a bit of patience while the broth simmers 🙂

  • Reply
    February 12, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    I like to use shirataki noodles in my pho. It tastes amazing! Yay for Vietnamese recipes!

  • Reply
    GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth
    February 15, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Obvs, I’m dying for pho right now and have everything BUT the mushrooms. And ofc, it’s family day so I can’t run to the store that’s literally half a blog away to get some. Sigh.
    Determined to make this soon tho!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      February 15, 2016 at 5:08 pm

      I’m like the grinch of Family Day! It’s putting a real kink in my plans…

  • Reply
    August 26, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    What is the approximate number of servings for this recipe? I have been searching for a vegetarian pho recipe and so I cannot wait to try this one! Many thanks!! 🙂

  • Reply
    April 3, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Hi Davida,
    How can I buy the license of your photo?
    Thank you!!

  • Reply
    Trung Cương
    July 3, 2019 at 4:37 am

    Look so tasty. I feel interesting in the pho made by foreigners

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