Weeknight Vegan Pho
This vegan pho is just the ticket for beating back the Winter blues, which I’ve admittedly been grappling with ever since we lost an hour with the time change. I think I’ve made variations on this soup almost every night for the last month. It’s all I want to eat, and I’m ok with that. It’s a very simple recipe which makes it perfect for weeknights. And I think I did a pretty good job of getting an authentic, bold flavor in this pho recipe without having to go to an Asian market for special ingredients.
The base of this soup is simply sauteed onions, garlic and ginger with broth, noodles and chopped lime. I gave it a big kick of flavor by adding nutritional yeast, tamari, spices, tamarind paste and gochujang (fermented Korean chili paste). I topped it off with some simple sauteed mushrooms and tofu as well as classic pho toppings like basil, mung bean sprouts, scallions and jalapeno slices.
The “weirdest” ingredient in this recipe is tamarind concentrate paste which I found the tamarind concentrate in the Indian section of my local supermarket. It’s tangy-sweet. You can sub it out for hoisin sauce if you like! If you can’t find tamarind or hoisin, just omit both. The gochujang I used is by a brand I really like called “Mother-in-Law’s”. Sriracha is an ok sub for gochujang. If you don’t want your pho spicy at all, omit the chili sauce.
Now, I know there are about a billion pho recipes on the internet right now. So why share this one, Renee? WHY?! I’ll tell you why… It’s really really REALLY good. It’s too good not to share. And considering that I try to share food I actually eat and love in this space, I feel it would be terribly selfish of me to keep this one all to myself. It’s bold, savory, tangy, spicy, herbacous, slurpable goodness. Get at it.
Sending you all very warm and cozy vibes — xo, Renee
Weeknight Vegan Pho
Active prep time: 12 mins - Inactive prep time: 8 mins - Total cook time: 20 mins - Makes: ~2-3 large servings - PRINT THIS RECIPE
Tips: I’ve made this recipe as tasty as possible with lots of spices, herbs and variety. But you could keep it super simple if you’re in a pinch by omitting the extra spices (clove, fennel), omitting the tamarind concentrate and by subbing gochujang for sriracha. I found my tamarind concentrate in the Indian section of the International aisle at Wegmans -- you could use hoisin sauce instead of tamarind concentrate if you prefer.
1 tbsp olive oil or sesame oil
1 medium white onion, diced
2 inch knob ginger, minced (~2 tbsp)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp rice vinegar
8 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp whole fennel seeds, ground
½ tsp black pepper, ground
3 tbsp tamari
1/2 whole lime (peel and all), chopped
1 tbsp tamarind concentrate OR Hoisin Sauce
2 tbsp gochujang paste OR sriracha (omit or reduce if you prefer a mild broth)
2 tsp coconut sugar
4 oz Rice maifun noodles or “pad thai” style rice stick noodles
Pan Fried Mushrooms and Tofu
Mung bean sprouts
Jalapeño or Fresno peppers, sliced
In a dutch oven or soup pot set over medium high heat, sauté the onion in oil until translucent and lightly browning around the edges, stirring frequently.
Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook 2 minutes longer.
Stir in broth, rice vinegar, nutritional yeast, clove, fennel seeds, black pepper, tamari, whole chopped lime, tamarind concentrate, gochujang / sriracha and coconut sugar. Bring to a simmer and add the rice noodles, and cook according to package directions (maifun is usually 4-6 minutes or less, pad thai noodles are usually 6-8 minutes).
While the noodles are cooking, start cooking your mushrooms and tofu.
Once noodles are tender, turn off the heat. Serve your bowls of pho with pan fried mushrooms and tofu, cilantro, basil, mung bean sprouts and sliced jalapeno. Enjoy!
Pan fried Mushrooms and Tofu Ingredients:
2 cups mixed mushrooms, sliced (I used shiitake and king trumpet oyster mushrooms)
½ block extra firm tofu, cut into long strips
2 tbsp sesame oil
4 tbsp tamari
Pan Fried Mushrooms and Tofu Method:
Add your sliced mushrooms, 1 tbsp sesame oil and 2 tbsp tamari to a 12” skillet set over medium-high heat. Cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping the mushrooms half-way through, until browned on both sides. Remove and set aside to serve alongside your pho.
Add your sliced tofu strips, 1 tbsp sesame oil and 2 tbsp tamari to a 12” skillet set over medium-high heat. Cook 10 minutes, flipping the tofu half-way through, until browned on both sides. If your tofu is very wet, you may need to cook for longer to get a browned and slightly dry texture. Remove and set aside to serve alongside your pho.