Easy Vegetarian Vietnamese Pho


If any of you follow the weather or look at your smartphones at the weather map, you already know that it has been ridiculously cold throughout the country this week. With wind chills in the negatives and the highs in the single digits, this January weather has not made my morning commutes all that pleasant.

My coworker Rob and I ride the same bus in the morning, and our mean bus driver refuses to drop us off closer to work like other buses do. She has no pity for us and she isn’t a morning person. With our transit center in town being rebuilt, the buses are lined up across the street from it. Not a huge deal, except it adds about 2 minutes of walking to our normal walk to the office. Also not a big deal, except when it’s -6 degrees with a windchill of -20, so by the time you do get to the office, your legs are nonexistent, as is your face.


And hey, I dress for cold weather. I live in Michigan, I’m not an idiot. But no matter how warm you dress, or how many layers you wear, or how tight you have your scarf, nothing can prepare you for that cold that hits your face gets when you step off the warm bus. Then when you get home your dog, who has a double coat and is made for weather like this, wants to play outside. And since the light is staying out longer each day, you feel guilt if you don’t play fetch with him in the backyard before you feed him.

Routine, people. I’m getting used to it. Cold weather. Also getting used to it. I have to come to terms with the fact that we most likely will not have an unusually warm winter like we did last year. Sad truth. But there are things you can do to help.


And that’s to make soup. Not just any soup. Vietnamese soup or Pho. So that’s exactly what I did. I’ve never made pho before but I have had it and if I didn’t live in Ann Arbor – the city where hippies and yuppies coexist harmoniously – I might not be able to find decent vegetarian pho that isn’t made with meat broth. There are several places that make some decent pho around here, but I decided to try making it myself.

And you know what? It was PHOnomenal. See what I did there?

Try it. It’s delicious and while I did use a shortcut to make this version, it turned out great, reheated great (for REB after class), and kept me warm while watching Full House reruns. Don’t judge me. I’ll never tire of Uncle Jesse and the whole gang.


Vegetarian Vietnamese Pho
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Easy Vietnamese noodle soup to warm you up this winter.
Recipe type: soup, noodle soup, vegetarian
Cuisine: Vietnamese, Asian, Soups
Serves: 4
  • 1 carton (4 cups) Vegetarian Pho soup base (Pacific natural foods brand or similar)
  • 1 small ginger root, peeled and cut into discs
  • 2 Serrano peppers (jalalpeno is fine), sliced into discs
  • 2 tablespoons Lite soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 12 oz. Shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean, stems removed and sliced
  • 8 oz. (half a block) extra firm tofu, sliced thin into strips or squares
  • 8 oz. Stir fry rice noodles
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges
  • Garnishes: cilantro, basil, Serrano peppers and lime wedges
  1. Start by bringing a large pot of water to boil – about 20 minutes
  2. While the water comes to a boil, pour the entire carton of soup base into a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add the soy sauce, ginger discs and sliced Serrano pepper and heat through stirring occasionally.
  3. In a separate pan or skillet heat the olive oil.
  4. When it is hot, add the sliced mushrooms and cook until browned and tender, about 5-8 minutes.
  5. Remove the mushrooms, transfer to small bowl and set side.
  6. In the same pan, add the tofu slices and cook until browned on all side, another 8-10 minutes.
  7. When cooked, add the tofu to the simmering broth
  8. When the water is boiling, remove from heat and add the rice noodles. Let them sit/soak in the hot water for 8 minutes until softened.
  9. When done, drain and rinse noodles under cold water.
  11. Divide noodles among all bowls.
  12. Ladle some of of the broth over noodles, enough to slightly submerge them.
  13. Top bowls with tofu slices and mushrooms (about 2-3 pieces of tofu per bowl, a few mushrooms)
  14. Add your garnishes and squeeze lime wedge before serving
  15. Enjoy!


What foods are keeping you warm this winter?





13 thoughts on “Easy Vegetarian Vietnamese Pho

  1. Pingback: Cheap Cookware & Delicious Recipes » Easy Vietnamese Recipes

  2. Melissa

    Just made this after finally getting the broth from Whole Foods. I used a little less peppers and added scallions. This recipe is awesome, so great for the cold, snowy weather outside.

  3. Diana @ VeggieNextDoor

    I loooove Pho and have a carton of the Pacific Foods broth in my cabinet. It’s even delicious straight (I sometimes drink it like tea :-)) but your version sounds even better. I was actually sad when I went to Vietnam because it was so hard to find a good vegetarian Pho there – we have it much better here in the States!

    1. Aparna B. Post author

      That is so sad that you couldn’t find good vegetarian pho in its native land!! :( But I guess they probably use fish as a base for a lot of their broths so it would be hard there. You should definitely give this a try and put that fun Diana twist on it. I’m sure you will add flavors I wouldn’t even think to use, but will taste delicious :)

  4. dixya @ food, pleasure, and health

    this pho looks delicious- I am a big asian soup fan and spend many weekdays outside eating pho or udon soup. I did try making udon noodle soup quite a lot this winter- its keeping me warm. Pho would be different and would love to try it. I did not know pho base is available- will have to look for it. thanks for sharing that. your pictures are great- do you have a light box or studio??? Stay warm!

    1. Aparna B. Post author

      That sounds so awesome! If you have an udon recipe, I would love to try it! :) I have a studio/photo room in my house since I do some side photography as well :)

        1. Aparna B. Post author

          Thanks Dixya!! I will check it out. I also just subscribed to your blog (something I should have done days ago). Thank you for the nice comment! I prefer natural light but by the time I get home and have time to cook, that light is long gone. Especially during winter :(

    1. Aparna B. Post author

      Agreed – salt is a culprit. The soup base and addition of soy sauce gave plenty of salt to the dish that additional salt was not required. I think next time I make it, I’ll try making my own broth. Needed the shortcut this time around though ;)

  5. Jeni

    That Pho looks so good! Sometimes it is nice having a little shortcut in recipes!

    I having been making warm casseroles and stews to keep me warm in this freezing weather!

    1. Aparna B. Post author

      Hi Jeni! Totally agree with you – soup is a must in the cold winter! Shortcuts are definitely nice, but it’s so easy to make your own soup base with veggie broth, scallions, ginger, soy sauce, cilantro, and peppers :)


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