What better to eat on a rainy day than soup? That’s a rhetorical question of course. I’m used to making creamy soups and lentil soups, but I’ve never really ventured outside of those—until today that is. Our friend Shaunagh has been making her take on plant-based pho for a few years and she was kind enough to spend the afternoon teaching us her ways (that’s true friendship right there). If you know anything about traditional Pho, you know it’s far from vegan! So this is a treat 🙂
Pho? Let’s get the name right…
Before we got started, she made sure I could actually pronounce what i was about to eat (oops). I had always thought it was FO, as in “ are you fo real”, but turns out I was wrong. It’s actually pronounced FUH, like “ What the fuuu…””. You get the idea. And you’re welcome—that should save you any embarrassing moments in the future when it comes to making or ordering this Vietnamese dish.
Easier than it sounds!
The soup itself isn’t super complicated to make but it does take time for all the flavours to develop. A quick trip to the asian market and you’ll have all the ingredients needed to make magic happen. If you don’t have a grill, use a cast iron pan. Charr a large onion and 3 large chunks of ginger (with the peel on), and then once they have a nice char, transfer them to a bowl of water to peel off the skin.
While the charring action is going on, prep your pho spice mix in a cheesecloth-type bag, peel the carrots, remove the seeds from the apples, and fill a large pot with water over the stovetop. Next up, pop everything mentioned above into the pot, bring it to a boil and then play the waiting game. We did taste test it along the way, adding salt here and there and more water as it evaporates.
Develop the flavours.
I think in the future this could be something interesting to try making in a crockpot, you know? Shaunagh did share with us that its best to prepare this soup the day ahead but we just couldn’t wait that long—it smelled way too good NOT to try today! After 4 hours of simmering, we decided to give it a shot.
Dress it up!
We chopped up some bok choy and green onion and threw those into the pot for a few more minutes. Prepped the rice noodles (soaked and microwaved) individually into three bowls for all of us and then added the broth on top of them! Make sure to leave the onions, apple, carrot, ginger and spice bag in the pot. If there are any leftovers, it’ll allow the flavours to continue developing. Top the soup with Hoisin sauce (if you’re into that), cilantro, green onions, and bean sprouts. Voilà! One heck of a delicious, cruelty-free soup packed full of flavour.
We’ll definitely make this again… and again, I have no doubt! I love trying and learning to make new foods. If you could only eat one meal everyday for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Pho, veganized!Print Recipe
- — broth —
- pho spice blend
- 1 large onion, charred
- 3 large chunks ginger, charred
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
- 2 apples, halved and seeds removed
- — pho —
- baby bok choy
- green onion
- soya (bean) sprouts
- hoisin sauce
- rice noodles
Char 3 large pieces of ginger and 1 large onion (cut in half), skin still on in a cast iron pan.
Place the charred onion and ginger in a bowl of water, and peel off the skin.
For the broth: place pho spice mix into a spice bag and place in a large pot of water. (we bought 'nguyen lien nau pho' from a local asian market)
Add peeled onion and ginger into the pot.
Peel 2 large carrots, cut into 3 large chunks. Cut apples in half and remove the seeds. Add to the pot, along with a generous amount of salt.
Bring to a boil, and then simmer for minimum 4 hours to allow the flavours to develop, adding salt as you go. Add more water as necessary (some will evaporate). The longer you let it simmer, the more flavourful it will be.
Chop up cilantro, bok choy, and green onion. Add bok choy and the white parts of the green onion to the broth.
In a separate bowl, soak rice noodles in warm water, just enough to loose them up. Place them in the bowl you’ll be serving them in, and microwave them for approximately 1 minute until softened. You may need to turn them and microwave another minute.
Spoon the broth with the green onions and bok choy into your bowl on top of the rice noodles (leave the carrots, ginger, and onion in the pot).
Add your toppings. We added cilantro, green onion, and bean sprouts.
Drizzle some hoisin sauce, squeeze the juice out from a lime and get ready for a seriously flavourful soup to hit your taste buds.