This vegan pho recipe is a simple take on the classic Vietnamese noodle soup. It gets its rich flavor from spices and mushrooms instead of meat.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this easy vegetarian pho recipe:
- Whole spices – I use a shorter list of spices than you’d find in a traditional pho broth, but they still pack it with flavor. You’ll need star anise, cinnamon sticks, whole peppercorns, and cloves.
- Onion, ginger, and garlic – These traditional pho ingredients work with the spices to make the broth aromatic and flavorful.
- Water – I prefer to make my pho broth with water instead of vegetable stock. That way, the flavor of the spices really shines through. Don’t worry – the broth won’t be bland at all. The spices, onion, ginger, garlic, and mushrooms give it plenty of flavor.
- Shiitake mushrooms – They give this soup delicious meaty texture and rich umami flavor.
- Tamari or soy sauce – I use it instead of the traditional fish sauce to make this recipe vegetarian. If you also need it to be gluten-free, make sure to use wheat-free tamari.
- Rice vinegar – It gives the broth a bright, tangy finish.
- Scallions, baby bok choy, and edamame – These vibrant ingredients make the soup feel light and fresh.
- Rice noodles – I ladle the hot broth over the noodles instead of adding them to the soup so that they retain a nice al dente bite.
These ingredients make up the base of the soup. When you’re ready to eat, you’ll finish it with garnishes like fresh herbs, lime, bean sprouts, chiles, and sriracha to enrich and balance its flavor.
This pho recipe serves 2, so double if you’d like to make a larger batch!
- 2 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
- ¼ teaspoon whole cloves
- 5 cups water
- ½ small yellow onion, cut into 1” chunks
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced in half
- 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and reserved
- ¼ cup tamari, more to taste
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, more to taste
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- 2 baby bok choy, sliced lengthwise into quarters
- ½ cup frozen edamame
- 4 ounces cooked rice noodles
- Lime slices
- Mung bean sprouts
- Fresh herbs: basil, mint, and/or cilantro
- Sriracha, sliced thai chiles, or sliced jalapeños
- In a medium pot over low heat, combine the star anise, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, and cloves and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the water, onion, garlic, ginger, and the stems of the shiitake mushrooms. Simmer for 20 minutes, then strain and return the liquid back to the pot.
- Slice the shiitake mushroom caps and add them to the pot along with the tamari, rice vinegar, and scallions. Simmer 15 minutes.
- Add the bok choy and edamame and cook until tender, 5-8 minutes. Taste and season with more tamari for depth of flavor, and more rice vinegar for tang, as desired.
- Ladle the soup into 2 bowls over the cooked rice noodles. Serve with the lime slices, sprouts, herbs, sriracha, chili peppers, and more tamari on the side.