This Vegan Pho (Phở Chay) or 越南河粉汤 (Yuènán hé fěn tāng) recipe is comforting and uses both fruits and vegetables in the broth. It is packed with wonderful aromatics from the herbs and spices used. Although Pho is traditionally not vegan, it’s definitely possible to make it without meat while retaining the flavorful broth.
I’m a big fan of soups; light, creamy or herbal soup which is why I love Pho. My first Pho experience or of most Vietnamese dishes was when I first came to the States.
While I have not tried traditional Pho before, I really love the vegan one that I’ve had at a restaurant near me. So, I was overjoyed when my good friend said he could show me how to make it from scratch.
When it comes to Pho, the most important component of the dish is in the broth. It involves a low simmer to allow the ingredients to slowly flavor. To be honest, Pho’s broth does take time to make but it’s totally worth it. It’s made with a variety of vegetables and fruits and toasted spices that gives the soup an amazing and complex flavor.
What are Vegan Pho (Phở Chay) Key Components?
- Broth – Use a variety of root vegetables and fruits to give the broth a savory and sweet taste. There are also lots of spices used such as Cinnamon, Star Anise, cloves, etc.
- Noodles – If you have had Vietnamese food before, there are a variety of rice noodles that go with different types of soup. For Pho, the noodle used is the flat version of the rice stick.
- Herbs and Veggies pairings – Similar to the noodles used, herbs and veggies pairing differ for the type of soup as well. For Pho, the common ones are mung bean sprouts, cilantro, culantro (Ngò Gai or Sawtooth herb), Thai basil, thinly sliced onion, mint, and green onions.
What you need to make Vegan Pho (Phở Chay) broth
Here is a list of ingredients you that you can refer to if you need to make the broth from scratch.
- Vegetables: Daikon radish or Jicama (or both), Leek, Carrots
- Must have: Ginger, White or Yellow onion (or green onions, but you’ll have to use a bunch or two)
- Fruits, pick 1: Asian pear or apple (preferably sweet ones)
- Mushrooms and Umami Seasoning – Mushrooms are a great addition to create the umami-packed broth. To top that, I used an umami seasoning that’s made from leek. You can also use mushroom seasoning if you prefer.
- Rock sugar – skip and add more Daikon radish or jicama
- Spices (or use store-bought pre-packed Pho spice)
- 1 or 2 Cinnamon Stick and black cardamom
- 4 to 5 Star Anise
- 1 teaspoon of each: cloves, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, white peppercorn
Tips to make a delicious Vegan Pho (Phở Chay)
- Toast your vegetables – it’s a crucial step to have that robust taste but you’ll only toast ginger, daikon radish, and onion. If you are using green onion tops, you can toast that as well.
- Use a variety of vegetables – I love to use jicama and daikon radish to prepare my soup broth. These two amazing vegetables give the soup a wonderful sweet taste. Add some fruits to create a more flavorful as well.
How to make Vegan Pho (Phở Chay)
Pho broth is the most time-consuming part, but the other steps are pretty straightforward and take less time than you may think.
First, you’ll toast the spices until aromatic over low heat (loose spices or store-bought pre-made spices). Then, transfer them to a spice bag and set aside.
Using the same pan, toast the Daikon-Radish, ginger, and onion until they look char on both sides.
Fill a 5-quart pot with 12 cups of water, add in all the broth ingredients, and bring it to a rolling boil.
Then, turn heat to medium and let it simmer for about an hour. You can use an Instant Pot to reduce the cooking time in this step. Once the soup is done, season with mushrooms powder or umami seasoning.
I’m using tofu as the toppings that I simply sautéed until golden brown and seasoned with some salt.
Prepare the noodles as directed. There are a variety of Pho noodles at the store and today I’m using the vacuum-packed fresh noodles. This only takes about 5 minutes to cook.
To serve, place noodles in a bowl, and ladle the hot soup over. Garnish with toppings of choice and don’t forget the lime. The sauces that normally go with it include Hoisin sauce and Sriracha. If you know me, my pick would be Sriracha. Enjoy!
Check out my other noodles recipes
This Vegan Pho (Phở Chay) is
- SOOO Cozy
- Delicious and Comforting
- Gluten-free and oil-free if you air-fried the tofu
- Easily customizable
- Packed with amazing aromatics, you’ll want to make a bowl today!
If you try this Vegan Pho, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful creation. Please leave me a comment or rate this recipe. Send me a picture to @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Vegan Pho (Phở Chay) 越南河粉汤
- Nut milk bag or spice bag
- 1 daikon radish cut into round cubes
- 1 large onion cut into wedges
- 4 slices of ginger
- 1 apple cleaned and core removed
- 1 ear of corn
- 3 carrots cut into small chunks
- 1 leek cut into large chunks
- ½ medium-sized jicama diced
- 5 dried shiitake mushrooms softened and stems removed
- 12 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon rock sugar
- umami seasoning of choice
- salt to taste
Spices or use store-bought mix
- 1 cinnamon stick used Cassia bark
- 1 black cardamom
- 4 star anise
- 1 teaspoon clove
- 1 teaspoon white peppercorn
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
Toppings and Garnishes
- 7 oz tofu cubes pan-fried and seasoned with salt
- 2 cups Mung bean sprouts
- Jalapeño slices
- Lime wedges
- a handful of: Thai basil, Culantro, Mint, thinly sliced onion, cilantro, green onion
Make the Pho broth
- In a heated non-stick pan, toast or char spices until aromatic. Transfer the toasted spices into a spice bag and set aside.
- Then, toast daikon, onion, and ginger until they look char on both sides.
- Fill a 5-quart pot with 12 cups of water. Place all the soup ingredients and spices in the pot and cover it with a lid.
- Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, then lower the heat and simmer for an hour. You may use Instant Pot to reduce the cooking time.
- Once it's ready, strain the mixture and season to taste. I used umami seasoning that's made from leek or you can use mushrooms seasoning.
How to serve
- Prepare your favorite toppings. I used pan-fried tofu cubes that were seasoned with salt.
- To put everything together, cook noodles as directed. Place noodles in a bowl and ladle the hot soup over.
- Top with herbs and veggies of choice and don't forget the lime juice. Serve warm and enjoy!
I haven’t tried this yet. I tried a recipe from another blog and it was Ok, but this looks more promising, I’m curious, is there anything to be gained (or lost) by cooking the broth longer, such as in a crockpot? Would it deepen the flavor or does the hour on the stove pretty much get you what you are going to get? Looking forward to trying this.
I made this today
The broth is sooooo tasty…
Will make it again this week.
Cant wait to eat it again…
Thanks so so so much for sharing this recipe. I wish I could upload the photo of my pho for you to see 🙂🙂
done this a couple of times and it is delicious! i too had some at a restaurant and immediately after i needed more LOL it was so good!!! i do have a question thats somewhat unrelated but. is it weird to put soy sauce in pho . just a little for some salt . i am unsure 😭
This recipe is SO GOOD! WOW, thank you for sharing! My partner who claims to have “never liked pho” loved this recipe! He said he likes how clean snd vibrant it is with all the different layers of flavors from all the herbs, veggies, and spices! So much complexity!
I do have a question though. Do you ever do anything with all the veggies that are leftover after straining the broth? I always hate wasting any food and was wondering if you have any clever ways of using the leftover ingredients?
Thanks again, I will absolutely make this regularly.
Hello Stacie, I’m SO happy you and your partner loved this recipe. This makes me so so happy. thank YOU!! For the leftovers, I always eat the mushrooms and the rest can be reused for another stock or mashed to make patties or in some cases I composed them for my garden. Hope this helps. 🙂 Best, WoonHeng
This looks amazing! If I try in the instant pot, what would you recommend the cook time to be for the broth?
Hello Priti, thanks for reaching out. It took about 30 minutes for me to make the broth in Instant pot and the veggies were soft enough and had released most of their flavor. Hope that helps. Best, WoonHeng
This was absolutely amazing, everything I wanted it to be and it was enjoyed by the whole family! Thank you for such an easy and absolutely delicious healthy Pho recipe! Looking forward to trying more! I could not find umami seasoning so added some miso. Definitely so good with sriracha too!
Many, many thanks Melinda. Pho is my favorite go-to if I need clear broth soup. So glad to hear that your whole family enjoyed this recipe. For the umami seasoning, I used Yondu or you can try mushrooms powder in the future. 🙂 Have the best day. Regards, WoonHeng
Hi there, this recipe looks incredible! I was wondering what is the point of using a spice bag if you strain the soup after? Love from Berlin, Germany 🙂
Hello Emma, I keep some of the vegetables for future use. So keeping the spices in a bag saves me time from separating them with the vegetables. Thanks a lot. Best, WoonHeng
Ooopsy, forgot to 5 stars rate, of course! 😋•😋•😋•😋•😋
oh my, you are so sweet, thanks so so much!❤️❤️❤️
Came randomly across your IG channel and subscribed.
Meatless not so long ago and hugely pleased to know that asian cuisine exists in vegan version.
Thank you very much for your sharing, as Pho is my favorite since childhood.
Hello Jeanne, thanks so much for sharing your feedback and welcome! So glad you liked it, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions at all. Happy to help. Hope you like this Pho version as well. Best of luck, WoonHeng
What is the leek seasoning you used?
It’s called Yondu, Debbie. You can check it out on Amazon. Let me know if you have any other questions at all.
i can’t wait to try this!! also i love your site – so much attention to detail, extra tips and amazing photos. excited to have found it and look forward to trying many of your yummy creations. thank you!
Yay, thanks so much for reading, that makes my day! 🙂 I can’t wait to see your creations too, happy cooking! Best, WoonHeng
Lovely, healthy, flavorful and easy! I wish I had remembered the hoisin sauce- next time 🙂
Thanks so so much! I love it and personally like the Sriracha more than hoisin sauce. 🙂
Such a clean and healthy broth. This is the most authentic vegan Pho version I have come across. Definitely going to cook this up for the cold weather. As always, thanks for the wonderful recipe!
thank you so much. So glad you loved it. 🙂
I can’t find whole clove but clove powder. Do you think it works?
Hey Gigi, yes you can, please use only 1/2 teaspoon and increase after tasting it. Thanks!