I thought we needed another vegetarian pho recipe to help balance all the meat versions, and here is a great easy one. It’s similar to our earlier vegetarian pho recipe with tofu but the spice blends are a bit different and there are more vegetables in this version. Variety is the spice of life after all.
- 1 large white onion, in quarters
- 2-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
- 3-inch cinnamon stick
- 1 whole star anise
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 8 oz dry rice noodles
- 6 oz firm tofu (about half a package), in cubes
- 1 cup bok choy or napa cabbage, sliced thin
- 2 medium scallions, sliced thin
- 1 chili pepper, sliced thin
- 1 lime, in slices or wedges
- 1/2 cup fresh bean sprouts
- Fresh cilantro, basil, mint
Start off with the usual charring of the onion and ginger if you have access to a good open flame. Then start up the broth.
In the bottom of a large soup pot, give the cinnamon, anise, cloves and coriander a brief dry roasting to get the flavors coming out. Once they start to brown, pour in the vegetable broth, soy sauce, carrots and the charred onion and ginger.
Bring it to a hard boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer. Let it cook for at least 30 minutes. While that is simmering, cook up the other elements of your pho. The noodles will soften in just a few minutes in a pot of boiling water, and you should brown the tofu in a little oil. Steam the bok choy or cabbage, whichever you are using. Leave everything just slightly under done as the hot broth will add a little extra cooking when you serve your pho.
When the broth is ready, skim out the spices (leave the carrots). Divide up the noodles, tofu and greens between 2 big bowls. Heat up the broth again if necessary, then spoon over each bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes to let the heat warm up everything and then top off with your choices of garnishes.
This vegetarian pho recipe really just makes 2 good bowls, so it’s a fantastic recipe to start with if you are new to pho.