Plant based pho, a vegan alternative to the beefy original

By Alexandra V. Jones
August 18, 2013
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Author Notes: I think if I was on death row and had to pick my last meal, it would be Pho. Traditionally a long simmered, complicated, meat a thon, it is AWESOME(Imagine that last sentence spoken in Oprah’s voice for full impact)! I usually order the #2…that’s basically the whole kitchen sink without the meatballs….never developed a taste for those. So it’s full of tripe, tendon, and the whole animal, which I think is great, waste not want not. I have done a chicken version and now this is a plant based version. Pho is all about the broth….that being said, a vegan version could pose a challenge, the vegetarian option at my local pho hut, is chicken broth based…haha! So I have been given a challenge….I researched, I shopped, read some “easy” recipes, that being said, I came up with my own, and even cooked some leeks, shitake, and rutabaga, in the same fashion as the meat, to add to the richness and mouth feel. This isn’t really simple nor easy, but the best things in life don’t come easy!Alexandra V. Jones

Makes: 8 servings


  • 2 shallots, charred in a hot pan
  • 3 inch piece of ginger, charred in a hot pan
  • 1 stem lemongrass, smashed with the back of knife
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 8 shitake mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1 Leek, tough part removed and cleaned well
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 rib celery
  • 1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash or other salt free seasoning, this is used to replace MSG
  • 3 tablespoons Bragg's liquid aminos, or soy sauce
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 carrots
  • 2-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 rutabaga
  • 2 ribs celery
  1. In a stock pot combine all the ingredients except Braggs,honey, and radish. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, reduce heat and cook 1 hour.
  2. Remove shitake caps, the white part of leek, rutabaga, slice, and set aside to top each bowl.
  3. Strain broth and return to pan over low heat, add Braggs, honey, check salt level, add additional if needed, I am trying to avoid over salting things, plus your guests can add their own addition to their own bowls after it is served. Leave in pot on low while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

Baked Hoison tofu, noodles and other toppings

  • 1 pound firm tofu, drained and pressed of excess moisture
  • 1 tablespoon Hoison sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Bragg's liquid aminos, or soy sauce
  • 8 ounces brown rice noodles
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bunch basil leaves
  • 1 lime, cut into eight pieces
  • 2 cups mung bean sprouts
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced thin
  • 1 other chili sauces such as sciracha, chili paste, hoison, whatever you like
  • 2 radishes thinly sliced
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375, slice your tofu into four slices, rub hoisin and bragg’s on to each piece, place on a parchment lined sheet pan, bake 30 minutes. Use 1 piece of tofu, sliced, for each bowl.
  2. In a pot of boiling water, add noodles, cook 5 minutes, drain, and rinse with cold water, portion into 4 bowls. Top your bowls with some sliced onion, broth, veggies from broth, thinly sliced radish,tofu, and let everyone pic their own toppins.

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