One of my fave go-to meals is pho! I’m obsessed. And homemade vegan pho is even better. Let’s make it!
Sometimes when I need a quick fix I order take out. I also make it at home using this #hotforfoodapproved brand of pho broth. But usually take out ends up a little lack lustre and too subtle in flavor. Also using the store bought broth sometimes leaves me bloated (too much salt!).
Making homemade vegan pho and broth means you can adjust things to your liking, including saltiness and acidity. This recipe is pretty simple, uses all the traditional spices, and is completely vegan friendly!
The broth gets a deeper flavor from roasting the onion, garlic, and ginger. I also highly recommend using whole spices for this broth as it makes it cleaner when strained. But in a pinch if you have to use the ground versions that’s ok, but your broth might have some bits and pieces in it.
You can top your homemade vegan pho with whatever you choose, but there’s just some things you gotta have like lots of fresh cilantro, mint and/or thai basil. I also love broccoli, bok choy, onions, and carrot. And don’t forget the tofu! The tofu pictured in this recipe is not homemade. I bought it at a Japanese grocery store and it already comes beautifully fried and airy like that.
homemade vegan pho
Make your own homemade vegan pho for something super flavorful, cozy and fresh.
broth (makes 8 cups)
- 1 whole white or yellow onion, halved
- 1 small bulb garlic
- 1 large knob of ginger
- leek tops (optional)
- 4 whole star anise
- 1 tbsp whole cardamom pods
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 tsp whole coriander seed
- 1 oz/28 g package dried shitake mushrooms
- 1 tbsp neutral vegetable oil
- 10 C water
- ¼ C soy sauce
- 1 ½ tbsp agave nectar or sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
- 8 oz/227 g flat rice noodles
- 3 baby bok choy
- 2 to 3 C broccoli florets
- 2 carrots, sliced thin diagonally
- ½ white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 5 oz / 142 g package fried tofu puffs, cut into smaller cubes
- 1 large bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 2 to 3 springs thai basil and/or mint leaves, roughly chopped
- lime juice, to taste for serving
Set oven to broil. Place onion halves, garlic bulb, ginger, and leeks (if using) on a large baking tray and place under the broiler for 15 to 20 minutes or until softened and charred in spots. Watch closely to prevent burning. Time may vary depending on your oven.
Heat a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the whole star anise, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, and coriander seeds. Toast until fragrant and browned about 6 to 7 minutes. No smoking should occur in the pot, if it does lower the heat.
Add the onion and leeks tops to the pot. Slice up the ginger knob and cut the garlic bulb in half and add to the pot. Also add the shitakes and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Turn heat to low to prevent burning and stir with a wooden spoon to coat in oil for about 2 minutes. Then add 10 cups of water and bring to a boil covered with a lid
Once at a boil, reduce heat to keep at a simmer with the lid on for another 15 to 20 minutes.
Carefully strain the broth through a large sieve placed over another large stock pot. Squeeze the strained vegetables and spices with the spoon to get excess liquid out. Place the strained broth back over medium-high heat and season with soy sauce, sugar, and sea salt.
I prefer to cook the noodles in a separate pot of boiling water so that leftovers can be stored separate as well. You don't want to leave anything in the hot broth for too long. If eating all servings immediately You can bring the broth to a boil and cook the noodles for 3 to 5 minutes or according to package instructions.
You can cook the vegetables in boiling broth too for about 2 minutes. Do not over cook the vegetables! It's best when they are still slightly crisp, and they will continue to cook in the hot broth while you're eating.
You can place your packaged fried tofu puffs in the hot broth as well or heat them in a microwave or air fryer quickly to get them warmed through. Serve the pho topped with fresh cilantro, mint and/or thai basil, and add lime juice to taste.