Vegetarian Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup) Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Vegetarian Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)

The national soup of Vietnam is a bowl of rice noodles, fresh herbs, and bean sprouts swimming in a fragrant broth.


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6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
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3 large shallots, sliced (1 cup)
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½ cup dried shiitake mushrooms
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10 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
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3 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
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12 ¼-inch-thick coins fresh ginger
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1 Tbs. brown sugar
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1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
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1 tsp. ground black pepper
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2 cinnamon sticks
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2 star anise
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5-6 fresh basil stems, leaves reserved for soup
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5-6 cilantro stems, leaves reserved for soup

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1 8-oz. pkg. rice noodles
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1 8-oz. pkg. Asian-flavor baked tofu, thinly sliced
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2 cups soybean sprouts
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2 cups watercress
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4 green onions, sliced (½ cup)
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¼ cup chopped cilantro
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1 cup fresh basil leaves
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1 lime, cut into wedges


1. To make Broth: Place all ingredients in large pot with 8 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 1 hour. Strain broth, and return to pot. Discard solids.

2. To make Pho: Cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Divide among 6 large soup bowls. Ladle Broth over noodles, and top with tofu, sprouts, watercress, and green onions. Serve cilantro, basil, and lime wedges on the side to be stirred into soup.

Nutrition Information: 

16 g
Total Fat: 
5.5 g
Saturated Fat: 
1 g
42 g
0 mg
578 mg
3 g
5 g
Serves 6

Comments on this Recipe

Honestly, I thought this pho was delicious. Of course it is not going to as good as the stuff in restaurants made by professional Vietnamese chefs. For homemade though, it's pretty darn good. I only used 1 cinnamon stick, and added 3 whole cloves and 1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds to the broth solids. I also could not find dried shiitake mushrooms, so I subbed and 1.5 cups of fresh and quickly sauteed them before adding them to the broth. Overall, very good! Highly recommend!

Found this awesome vegan noodle soup called Happy Pho - a delicious Vietnamese noodle soup that's so flavorful and takes 10 mins to cook. I add mushroom, spinach and have a steaming bowl of soup. I came across them at Rainbow Grocery but think you can find them in other Northern California stores and online at –

Incredible, incredible!!! I just ordered some Happy Pho Ginger from amazon after reading your post and it arrived yesterday. WOW! The noodles are made of brown rice - I have never seen pho with brown rice. And, I can't believe it is low sodium yet taste so amazing. And it was SO easy to make. I think my next order will be the Shiitake mushroom flavor. Thanks for the recommendation.

I just made this for dinner tonight! How wonderfully delicious! I think the next time I make it I will only put half of the cinnamon and half of the star anise in, but what a satisfying and healthy meal! Thank you for sharing it!

I usually love Vegetarian Times recipes, but this one was not good. I don't think using a veggie broth as a base was a good idea and the anise was overpowering. The flavors did not taste good together. Even with modifications, I don't think this recipe is salvageable, so I'm sticking to my local pho place that offers vegan pho!

Ok, this may sound dumb, but do they want you to add 8 cups of water to the already existing 6 cups of broth?

I made this last night and loved it! I will say, I had sliced jalapeños as a condiment as well as green onions, basil, cilantro and watercress and lime! The peppers really added a nice layer.

Making this right now. Added Bok Choy and Sriracha. No anise. Needs a little bit of salt.

I like this version of Pho. While not completely accurate it's a great substitute for the other versions (traditionally beef and sometimes chicken). I'm not big on Tofu or Star anise but lots of veggies! Oh, and bring on the hot stuff! (jalapenos, hot sauce, etc)

I added broccoli and carrots. The broth was delicious!

I don't like to give a bad review but this just wasn't very nice.. It took 2 hours and the flavours were not representitive of a traditional pho.. I think with things like this the local pho restaurant is the way to go. Sorry..

Tasted great, I added more vegetables to make it a little hardier. This is something I will make over and over again.

The first time I made this pho the only thing I could tast was the cinnamon and it was awful. However, the next time I tried it without the 2 sticks of cinnamon and (in my opinion) the recipe is now perfect. I have made it several times and it never disappoints!!!

Pho was excellent--my executive chef brother-in-law just called to tell me how good it was--ultimate compliment!

After reading some of the comments I was tempted to omit some of the cinnamon or star anise, but hey, first time follow the instructions.So we did , to a point. The broth was sensational, everything we expecteed from a Thai soup. This one deserves 6 stars.

This broth is so healthful! Lately I omit all else and drink the broth when I'm under the weather. *Also good for hangovers :p

I made this... It was nasty. Maybe its just an aquired taste though.

I would recommend cutting out one of the cinnamon sticks, and adding a cardamom pod, 1/2 tsp fennel, 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds and 3-4 cloves to give it more of a traditional pho taste. You can also cut an onion in half and throw it in with the broth as well. I make traditional pho quite a bit, so I merged my recipe with this one (as much as I could).

This is the best pho I've ever eaten. Sometimes the restaurant versions (vegetarian) are a bit greasy. This was authentic and very light tasting. Even my son, the pho connoisseur, and my husband, the pho phobic, really loved this soup.

There are heeps of other recipes on there to. Thanks protein diet plan


This was my first time trying to make Pho- and it turned out great! I added a few dried chilly flakes to add some spice, and served it with rice noodles, tofu, green onions and mushrooms. Yum!

I made this Saturday and it was okay. You definitely have to doctor it up a bit by adding some salt and playing around with the spices. It is something I would maybe make if I was at home, couldn't get out, had the ingredients at home, and really wanted some Pho; Otherwise, I would just go out and buy some Pho or find a better recipe.

This was just... not good. Whatsoever. My boyfriend and I took a couple of bites and then threw the entire pot away. We literally couldn't eat it.

Made this last night and it was a hit....even with my partner who is not normally into this type of soup. And the fragrance of the broth simmering during in the while I worked was great. Will be making it again.

I am Vietnamese and I think this recipe will be better, more like a really vegan pho if you do not put the following ingredients : vinegar, garlic, basil, watercress, soy sauce, shitake ....... instead of those, cook the broth with daikon, root vegetable ( not beet).....onions Spices : anis flower, ginger, cardamon ( black), cinnamon stick..... Herb: cilantro, green onions Try it and you ll see the difference

pardon my stupidity.. i'm assuming low-sodium vegetable broth means low-sodium vegetable stock?


I first got addicted to Pho at a little Vietnamese place near my house, but the restaurant changed hands a couple times and the new chef clearly has no clue how to make good pho. I have made this recipe several times and whether or not it's "authentic" it is hands down better than the pho broth at the restaurant, even when they had a Vietnamese chef!

Good recipe. Roasting/toasting the shallots (or onions), ginger, cinnamon and star anise before slicing them adds a nice depth of flavour too!

This wasn't like any pho I've ever had. It tasted more like herbal tea than broth. I had to throw it away. Much too much cinnamon and anise.

This is a favorite for my family. I love how the broth is so complex and flavorful-hard to do as a vegetarian in my opinion. I can see how it can be an acquired taste though. We love it with sizzling rice thrown into the hot broth instead of noodles although I know that is not traditional.


I would leave the cinnamon out. It tasted weird with cinnamon requiring me to pull the cinnamon sticks out right away and adding more of the other ingredients to get rid of the cinnamon taste. I like a couple jalapeño slices in it myself.


The broth tasted like water. Hardly any flavour at all. 8 cups of additional water to the vegetable stock seems like a bit much.

Very nice recipe!

I left the cinnamon out. Added baby bokchoy!