This incredible vegan pho recipe puts a new twist on the classic Vietnamese noodle soup. It’s bursting with flavor, and simple to prepare in just 30 minutes. Plus, it’s 100% vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free!
I’ve always been a big fan of pho, the classic Vietnamese noodle soup. But we recently moved, and I’ve had trouble finding a vegetarian or vegan pho nearby. It was such a bummer! So of course, I had to try my hand at creating my very own vegan pho recipe!
So, first things first. How do you pronounce “pho” anyway? While it’s been the subject of much debate, the correct way to say the name of this soup is “fuh”. So there – I just saved you a few seconds of embarrassment at your next dinner party. 😉
So what exactly is vegan pho?
Good thing you asked. It’s heaven.
More or less.
Pho is a traditional Vietnamese street food. It’s a very specific type of noodle soup made with long, flat rice noodles. In fact, the term pho technically refers to the noodles themselves.
Traditional pho soup is made with either beef or chicken broth, but our vegan pho recipe uses a hearty vegetable stock. I promise, it’s even more delicious than the classic!
This big slurpy bowl of noodles is then loaded up with all kinds of veggies and belly-warming spices!
This vegan pho makes a regular appearance in our dinner roster as it’s one of my husband’s favorite meals – and one of mine too. Even our son will dive into this!
Let’s Make Vegan Pho!
The key to this vegan pho, is a good quality vegetable stock.
I prefer to use homemade stock, as I make a big pot of it every weekend from the tops of my farmers’ market haul. But it’s also totally fine to use store bought, especially if you want to get this recipe on the table in under 30 minutes! I prefer liquid based vegetable stocks over the stock cubes, as they are typically more flavorful.
This vegan pho isn’t a soup that works well as leftovers. So I suggest only cooking the amount you need to serve it straight away. If you do however want to make it in advance, say for a dinner party, follow the recipe to make the broth and then reheat the broth when you are ready to serve and follow the recipe from there.
To get the broth started, place a big soup pot on the stove over medium heat. Don’t add the broth yet! Instead, add in the spices. I used star anise, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, and cloves. You can experiment with different types of spices to customize this vegan pho to your liking!
When the spices are lightly toasted, add the vegetable stock.
Next, I like to char some spring onions over the gas cooktop. This is completely optional, but really gives them some amazing depth of flavor. And it only takes a minute. Simply turn on the gas burner and hold them just above the flame (carefully) for a minute or so. If you don’t have a gas burner – just skip this step – the pho will still be amazing.
Add the spring onions to the broth – along with some garlic, ginger, a bit of cilantro, and dried shiitake mushrooms. Bring the stock up to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
With just a few minutes left, add the bok choy and the noodles. Cook for about five minutes, depending on the noodles you are using.
The noodles are critical for this vegan pho recipe. They soak up all the flavors of the broth! I love to use thin vermicelli rice noodles, but you can really use any style of long noodle that you prefer!
Just before serving – add in the oyster and enoki mushrooms, edamame, and snow peas. They really don’t need any true cooking time, as the heat from the vegan pho is plenty to soften them up.
Serving Vegan Pho!
I love the contrast of the soft noodles with the crunchy snow peas, firm edamame and tender mushrooms. For the mushrooms I’ve used a mix of enoki mushrooms and thinly sliced oyster mushrooms. But you can use any variety that you like and can find easily. Shiitake mushrooms always work well and are available in most grocery stores.
I also love that you can customize this vegan pho too. The most fun part of eating pho is getting to top it with your personal favorite toppings. Serve the pho with soy sauce, lime wedges, fresh cilantro, sliced chili peppers, and mint leaves.
I like a lot of chili in mine, and a dash of soy sauce. I also like a big squeeze of lime, adding the lime wedge to the bowl for an extra bit of flavor.
If you are looking to add a bit more protein to your vegan pho, tofu would be a great addition. My Burmese Chickpea Tofu also works wonderfully in this recipe.
Vegan Pho in 30 Minutes!
- 7 oz rice noodles vermicelli, or other style
- 3 bok choy quartered lengthwise
- 4 oz mushrooms mix of enoki and oyster, or substitute shiitake
- 2/3 cup shelled edamame
- 10 snow peas thinly sliced, lengthways
- lime wedges
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves chopped
- red chili peppers sliced
- soy sauce, gluten-free variety if needed to taste
- If you have a gas cooktop turn on the burner you intend to use for the soup and place the spring onions over the flame. Cook until the spring onions are lightly charred. If you don't have a gas burner cooktop you can skip this step, however I find it adds a lovely subtle charred flavour to the stock.
- Now place a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the star anise, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, and cloves and toast until fragrant. This should take about 30 seconds or so.
- Add the vegetable stock, spring onion, garlic, ginger, coriander (cilantro) roots and the dried shiitake mushrooms. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl and return to the saucepan and place over the heat.
- Add the bok choy and cook for 4 minutes. If using a mix of flat rice noodles and vermicelli add the rice noodles first, wait about 1 minute and add the vermicelli.
- Add the oyster and enoki mushrooms, edamame, and snow peas just before serving. Stir into hot soup and remove from heat.
- Use tongs to divide the noodles between serving bowls and then ladle in the stock.
- Serve with the lime wedges, cilantro mint, chili peppers, and soy sauce.