Vegan Pho is a comforting noodle soup that you can load up with your favorite toppings. This version is not at all traditional, but it’s definitely the fastest way you can make it at home!
What is Pho Broth Made Of?
Traditional Pho broth is made from beef bones that simmer for hours. This version skips the beef broth entirely, and uses store-bought vegetable stock as a time-saving shortcut.
What gives Pho its signature flavor?
Pho broth is typically simmered with spices (which are naturally vegetarian), so we can still get a plant-based broth at home using the following ingredients:
- Star anise
- Coriander (optional)
When making pho broth, it’s common to char the onion and ginger in the oven first, but if you know me, you know I like to use as few steps & appliances as possible when making a recipe.
Instead, I skip the oven entirely and simply brown some sliced onion, ginger, and garlic in the bottom of the soup pot. You can add a splash of water every now and then to help the onions pick-up the caramelized flavor, and everything will get nice and golden in 10 minutes or less.
No need to dirty an extra pan or wait for your entire oven to preheat.
How to Make It
To make this vegetarian Pho, you’ll briefly toast the spices with the tender onions, ginger, and garlic. I like to use whole spices when I can find them, but see the notes below the recipe card if you only have ground spices on hand.
Add in the veggie broth and tamari (which is gluten-free soy sauce), then bring the mixture to a simmer. Typically, you don’t let Pho broth come to a rolling boil, but you’ll let it gently simmer for 15 to 30 minutes.
Vegan Pho can be ready in as little as 15 minutes when you’re pressed for time, but the flavor develops even more if you can let it simmer for 30 minutes.
While the broth is simmering, cook the noodles so they’ll be ready to serve when the broth is done. The most traditional noodle to use is rice noodles, which look similar to fettucine or linguine, but you can use brown rice noodles, or even chickpea noodles, if you like.
When the broth is done simmering, strain out the solids. You’ll be left with a flavorful broth that you can ladle over the prepared noodles in individual bowls.
Vegetarian Pho Topping Ideas
Now you get to customize your bowl! Here are some ideas that will add texture, flavor, and nutrients to your meal.
- Mung bean sprouts
- Fresh cilantro
- Sliced jalapenos
- Chopped green onions
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Crispy tofu (try Air Fryer Tofu!)
You can also add any roasted veggies you have on hand, like cabbage, broccoli, or bok choy.
How to Eat It
Before you eat this Vegan Pho, be sure to stir the toppings into the broth. This will give extra flavor to your soup!
Then, traditionally you will use chopsticks to eat the noodles and veggies out of the broth, and use a soup spoon to drink the broth. (You can also lift up the bowl and sip the broth directly from there.)
I personally find it challenging to eat noodles with chopsticks, so you can also use a fork or spoon to help scoop the noodles and veggies out of the broth. I hope you’ll enjoy it!
Easiest Vegan Pho
Vegan Pho Broth
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion , sliced
- 3 inches fresh ginger , sliced
- 3 cloves garlic , sliced
- 2 whole star anise (or 1/4 teaspoon ground)
- 5 whole cloves (or 1/4 teaspoon ground)
- 2 cinnamon sticks (or 1/2 teaspooon ground)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- fine sea salt , to taste
- 8 ounces rice noodles
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms , sliced
- 3 green onions , chopped
- 1 cup mung bean sprouts
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- 1 jalapeno , sliced
- lime wedges , if desired
- To prepare the broth, heat the olive oil in a 6-quart pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the sliced onion, ginger, and garlic until golden, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add a splash of water, as needed, to prevent sticking. (This will also help stop browning on the bottom of the pot.)
- When the onions are tender, add in the star anise, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and coriander. Stir briefly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add in the broth and tamari, then bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Let the broth simmer uncovered for as little as 15 minutes, or as long as 30 minutes, for extra flavor.
- While the broth is simmering, prepare the noodles in a separate pot of water on the stove. You can also sauté the mushrooms in olive oil in a separate skillet over medium heat, until they are tender, about 8 minutes. This way the noodles, mushrooms, and broth should all be ready at the same time.
- When the broth is done simmering, strain out the solids and discard them. Season the broth to taste, with salt and maple syrup. (I usually add 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt total.)
- To serve, divide the noodles and mushrooms between 4 bowls. Ladle the hot broth over the top, and serve with your favorite toppings, like green onions, mung bean sprouts, cilantro, sliced jalapeno, and lime slices. Stir it all together to add extra flavor to the broth, then enjoy the noodles & veggies with chopsticks and drink the broth with a soup spoon. Leftover pho broth can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
More Vegan Soup Recipes
Need more comforting soup ideas? Try one of these dairy-free & vegetarian recipes below.
If you try this Vegan Pho recipe, please leave a comment below and let me know how you like it. And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too! We can all benefit from your experience.
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite comfort food?