Vegetarian pho with rice noodles
Our vegetarian take on a popular Vietnamese broth loaded with herbs and vegetables.
Originally a traditional Vietnamese dish, pho has become popular around the world in several variations. Authentic pho calls for beef bones and meat; we pulled a switcheroo and created a delicious vegetarian version here, cutting back slightly on some of the more intense flavors in the original recipe. But no worries – we left enough exotic flavors so you know this is not your grandma’s vegetable soup. And if you’re a meat lover, go for it – add beef bones and a pound of sirloin strips or other meat pieces to the broth before simmering.
A note of caution – this is not the type of food you want to eat on a first date. It’s messy, but worth it!
- 3-4 anise stars
- 2 tablespoons coriander
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 large onion
- 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled
- 1 head garlic
- 1 32-ounce container vegetable broth
- 4 stalks baby bok choy
- 3 tablespoons Bragg's liquid aminos
- 12 ounces brown rice noodles
- 5 ounces sprouts
- 1 cup loosely packed Thai basil
- 1 cup loosely packed parsley or cilantro
Turn oven to broil. Line baking sheet with foil, and coat with non-stick spray.
Peel and slice onion in half. Lay cut side down on baking sheet. Slice top off garlic head to expose tops of bulbs, and place on baking sheet with ginger.
Broil for 10-15 minutes, watching carefully to prevent burning. Once veggies begin to darken, turn over, and continue broiling until crisp at edges and browned.
In a large non-stick pot, heat cinnamon, anise and coriander for several minutes until aromatic. Add onion, ginger and garlic, vegetarian broth, and an additional 6 cups water.
Bring to a boil, then simmer at medium low for one hour.
Pour broth only into another pot, and reserve onion and garlic. Discard coriander, anise and ginger.
Add 3 tablespoons liquid aminos to broth, and stir over a low flame. Add half the chopped herbs to the broth. Taste, and add salt and pepper if needed.
Thinly slice bok choy and cook for 4- 5 minutes in boiling salted water. Remove bok choy with slotted spoon, and place pot with water back on flame and bring back to a boil. Cook rice noodles 5-6 minutes. Drain.
Divide rice noodles, bok choy and reserved onion into serving bowls. Cover with broth, and garnish with remaining herbs.
Reserved garlic can be mashed and used as a spread on toasted bread or crackers, served on the side.
This recipe was adapted from Vegetarian Times.