I had been wanting to make a vegan version of Pho for a long time, and this recipe that I found through VegNews was perfect! They list it as coming from cookbook author Robin Robertson and I promise you it doesn’t skimp on flavor. I used my own homemade seitan but you can use store bought seitan, or you can omit it all together. I think the soup would still be delicious and satisfying without it. You can also adjust the heat level to your own taste. I like it to be just enough to warm the back of my throat but not to overpower the other subtle flavors in the broth.
Most of these items can be found in your local grocery store in the international foods aisle and don’t cost much at all. However, if you have difficulty locating them I would suggest trying a local Asian market as they would probably have most, if not all, of them on their shelves. Most Asian markets I have been to have very reasonable prices too, so it shouldn’t cost you a lot to pick up some items there. You may even find some to be cheaper than at your local grocery.
It is not necessary to use the fresh herbs in this dish if you already have the dried versions on hand and do not wish to spend the extra money for something that you may only use in this dish. Just keep in mind that you will likely need to adjust the amounts that you use. Start with a little and adjust as you go until you’re happy with the flavor. I would suggest using the vegetable broth instead of water if you can because it adds more depth to the broth, but the water is fine if you don’t have veggie broth in your pantry.
What You Need:
8 ounces dried rice noodles
1 tablespoon canola oil
8 ounces seitan, drained and cut into strips
6 cups vegetable broth or water
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons miso paste
1/2 teaspoon Asian chile paste (or to taste)
1 cup fresh bean sprouts (or canned bean sprouts, rinsed and drained)
3 to 4 scallions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons basil leaves
What You Do:
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Turn off the heat, add the rice noodles, and let them sit for 30 minutes to soften. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the seitan strips and brown on all sides. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Bring the stock or water to a boil in a large pot. Add the onion, ginger, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in the lime juice.
4. Place 1/2 cup of the hot liquid into a small bowl. Add the miso paste and stir to blend well. Transfer the blended miso paste into the soup along with the chile paste, if using. Do not boil. Stir in the seitan and noodles.
5. Divide the soup among individual bowls. Add the bean sprouts, scallions, cilantro, and basil. Serve immediately.