Vegan Pho With Tofu & Herbs

November 23, 2020
3 Ratings
Photo by WoonHeng Chia
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This Vegan Pho recipe is so comforting and it's packed with the amazing aroma from the herbs and spices used. Although Pho is traditionally not vegan it's definitely possible to make it without meat while retaining the flavorful broth. A big thank you to my good friend for showing me how to make this soup from scratch.

This pho stock is made from a combination of vegetables, fruit, and spices that gives the broth a complex flavor. One important tip is to toast the spices and a few vegetables until they char for a more flavorful broth. The broth is then simmered for an hour until all the vegetables have released their flavor.

As for the toppings, they are easily customizable; I'm using pan-fried tofu seasoned with salt here. Some of the recommended garnishes for pho include culantro (sawtooth herb), cilantro, Thai basil, mung bean sprouts, mint, thinly sliced onion, green onions, and lime wedges. Check out the recipe below and make some to share with your friends and family today! —WoonHeng Chia

What You'll Need
  • Pho Stock
  • 1 apple, cored and cut into big wedges
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into big wedges
  • 1 ear of corn, shucked
  • 4 1-inch pieces ginger
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 daikon, cut into round cubes
  • 1 leek, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 medium jicama, diced into 2-inch chunks
  • 5 dried shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon whole black cardamom pods
  • 4 star anise pods
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 pinch umami seasoning of choice (such as Trader Joe's Mushroom & Company Multipurpose Umami Seasoning Blend), plus more to taste
  • 1 pinch kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Toppings & Garnishes
  • 7 ounces extra-firm tofu, cubed, seasoned with salt, and pan-fried
  • 8 ounces rice vermicelli noodles, cooked according to the instructions on the packaged
  • 2 cups mung bean sprouts
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges
  • 1 handful mix of Thai basil, culantro, mint, thinly sliced onion, cilantro, green onion
  1. Pho Stock
  2. In a cast-iron pan over medium heat, toast spices until aromatic, about 1 minute, tossing frequently. Turn off the heat and let cool for a few minutes, then transfer the toasted spices into a spice bag and set aside.
  3. In the same (now-empty) pan, toast daikon, onion, and ginger until charred on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Fill a 5-quart pot with 12 cups of water. Place all the soup ingredients and the spice bag in the pot and cover it with a lid.
  5. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, then lower the heat and simmer for an hour.
  6. Once it's ready, strain the broth, and season to taste with umami seasoning, plus salt as needed.
  1. Toppings & Garnishes
  2. To serve, divide the noodles into four bowls. Top with a few ladlefuls of broth, then with herbs and other garnishes of choice. Don't forget to squeeze on some lime juice! Serve warm and enjoy.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • FamilyandForks
  • WoonHeng Chia
    WoonHeng Chia
  • Jconrad22

4 Reviews

FamilyandForks December 1, 2020
Love this recipe! We were lazy and only fished out the ginger (and obviously the spice bag) and it was fantastic. Will definitely make this again. I was short on time so I made it in an instant pot for 30 min. on high pressure and added fresh mushrooms at the very end, which softened quickly in the hot broth.
WoonHeng C. December 1, 2020
Thank you SO much, really appreciate your wonderful feedback and tips. The Instant pot is really a lifesaver to make soup stock. :-) Great addition of mushrooms at the end. Thanks again and have a wonderful day!
Jconrad22 November 30, 2020
I am making this now, but am so confused. Do you strain the soup after? Those are huge chunks of ginger, carrots, and apple. And you don’t see any of that in the photo. Carrots are also listed twice. Hmmm. I’m puzzled.
WoonHeng C. November 30, 2020
Hi there, yes, you will strain the mixture and then season it to taste. Thanks for the feedback. Let me know if you have any questions at all.