Pho (pronounced fah), the ever popular Vietnamese noodle dish has finally made it to the recipe collection! Its flavorful warming broth, noodles and assorted herbs and vegetables make for a deliciously healthy meal. I’ve adapted my version of pho from these two wonderful recipes: New York Times Cooking and Food 52.
The pho broth we’ll be making starts with charred onion & ginger, lemongrass, dried shiitakes, carrots, a few spices and vegetable broth creating a robust and flavorful soup base. Once the pho broth is completed you’ll strain/discard the vegetables and spices. But I do encourage you to reserve and slice up the mushrooms and carrots if you like using them as part of your add-ins.
The noodles can be varied using traditional rice stick noodles or you may prefer 100% soba noodles, both are gluten free options. If you’re not going for gluten-free feel free to use udon, ramen or your favorite noodles such as linguini, spaghetti or angle hair pasta. Nothing wrong with using unconventional noodles!
Along with the broth and noodles, pho is traditionally served with some kind of protein and/or assorted vegetables. I’ve chosen to use cubed tofu but edamame would be great here too. The vegetables can range from sliced carrots, bok choy, shredded cabbage, broccoli florets, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, asparagus, etc. You can keep the vegetables on the fresh side, lightly steam them or add them to the broth after you’ve removed the unwanted vegetables used to make the pho broth. Cook your desired vegetables an additional 10 -15 minutes over medium heat to help soften them up.
Finally, garnish with plenty of bean sprouts, lime wedges, fresh cilantro & thai basil for added freshness and herbaceousness. Pho is a hearty and filling meal, enjoy often!
SIMPLE VEGETARIAN PHO
- 1 onion, ends removed and sliced in half lengthwise
- 3 inch piece of ginger, sliced
- 3 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, slightly crushed
- 6 – 8 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 2 – 3 lemongrass stalks, cut into 2 – 3 inch pieces and slightly smashed
- 2 – 3 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 12 cups vegetable broth (or half water and broth)
- 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- carrot slices/ribbons
- sugar snap peas
- 14 oz. firm or extra-firm tofu, cubed
- napa cabbage, sliced
- 14 oz. rice stick noodles or 100% soba noodles
- beans sprouts
- green onions, sliced
- jalapeno, sliced & most seeds removed
- thai basil (regular basil is fine too)
- lime wedges
- sambal oeleck chili paste
Prepare the broth: Place the onion and ginger on a small baking sheet. Place under the broiler until the onion and ginger becomes scorched and browned. Slice the ginger. Lightly crush the peppercorns, fennel and coriander seeds. Add them to a tea strainer or tie them up using a piece of cheese cloth and string or small mesh bag. In a large pot or dutch oven, add the ingredients for the pho broth, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hour. You can also make the pho in the crock pot/slow cooker, cook on low for 4 – 6 hours. Taste for seasoning. Strain or remove spices, ginger, lemon grass and onion. Reserve the mushrooms and carrots, once slightly cooled, slice and add back to the pot.
Cook the noodles: Cook noodles according to package directions, set aside.
Prep additional add-ins and garnishes: Gather and prep the add-ins. Serve veggies fresh when serving or add them to the pho broth and heat over medium heat for an additional 10 -15 minutes to soften a bit.
Serve: In individual bowls add noodles, veggies and broth. Top with plenty of bean sprouts, greens onions, jalapenos, cilantro & basil, add a squeeze of lime and some chili paste for heat.
Serves 4 – 6
Add any vegetables you prefer or have on hand. Broccoli florets, cut asparagus, bok choy, favorite mushrooms and/or leafy greens.