Vegetarian Pho Noodle Soup | Gluten-Free | Vegetarian | Vegan | Vegetables | Vietnamese | Recipe | Asian

Vegetarian Pho Noodle Soup

  • Author: Maggie
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Braising
  • Cuisine: Chinese


The most flavorful vegetarian pho noodle broth. Make sure to cook extra so you will have leftover broth to make soup with whatever ingredients you have on hand.


  • 3/4 pounds (350 grams) thick dried rice noodles
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 7 ounces (220 grams) five-spice tofu, sliced (*Footnote 1)

Topping options (*Footnote 2)

  • 1 pound (400 grams) broccolini (or broccoli), trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 to 3 heads baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise
  • 1/2 pounds (180 grams) bean sprouts
  • 1 pound white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • Salt and white pepper

Serving options

  • 1 cup Asian herb leaves (Thai basil, cilantro, green onion, Vietnamese mint, or perilla)
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • Hoisin sauce and/or Sriracha
  • (Optional) Red chili or jalapeno for garnish


  • 2 onions, peeled and halved
  • 3-inch (7-cm) piece of ginger, peeled and halved lengthways (*Footnote 3)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 white peppercorns
  • 3 star anise
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 8 cups (2 liters) vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
  • 6 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste


Pho soup base

  1. To char the onion and ginger, turn a gas stove or a grill to medium high heat and place the vegetables directly on the flame. Cook until the surface is slightly blackened all over. Alternatively, you can turn on the broiler (without preheating) and place the veggies on a lined baking tray. Cook right below the broiler for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Keep an eye on the veggies so they don’t burn.
  2. Heat a large pot over medium low heat. Add the cinnamon, white peppercorns, star anise, cloves, and coriander seeds. Toast and stir for about 30 seconds, until you can smell a strong fragrance.
  3. Add the vegetable stock, soy sauce, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, charred onion, and ginger to the pot. Cook over high heat until bringing to a boil. Turn to medium low heat. Simmer covered for 1 hour to 1 and half hours. Strain the broth and season with salt.
  4. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and cook rice noodles according to instructions on the package. Drain and rinse with running tap water.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cook the broccolini, 2 to 3 minutes per side, until it turns tender and lightly browned.
  6. You can cook the mushrooms and the baby bok choy with the same pan-fry method. Or you can boil them in the broth after you strain the broth, 5 minutes for the mushrooms and 3 minutes for the baby bok choy.
  7. To assemble the bowls, add noodles into each serving bowl and pour the broth over them. Top with broccolini, baby bok choy, mushrooms, tofu, bean sprouts, and herbs. Serve hot with lime wedges, Sriracha, and hoisin sauce on the side.


  1. If you cannot find five-spice tofu, cook baked crispy tofu according to this recipe, or make pan fried crispy tofu with this recipe.
  2. It is perfectly fine to choose 2 to 3 toppings you prefer.
  3. My favorite way to peel ginger is using a small spoon. It gets into the uneven surface without peeling off too much of the meat.


  • Serving Size: 1 of the 6 servings
  • Calories: 273cal
  • Sugar: 5.2g
  • Sodium: 240mg
  • Fat: 6.6g
  • Carbohydrates: 45.4g
  • Fiber: 6.3g
  • Protein: 12.1g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg