I’m bubbling with excitement over the first Perfect Bite of 2012, and we’re starting off with a bang!  Jess here, and today I’m happy to serve you a bowl full of health and warmth for these chilly January days.  Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup loaded with fresh vegetables and rice noodles, and since this meal is naturally vegan and gluten-free, it makes for the perfect holiday detox dish. Quick enough for a weeknight dinner, yet pretty enough to serve to weekend dinner guests, I’m bookmarking this recipe as an instant favorite. Keep reading for the step by step instructions!

Veggie Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)

Adapted from The Kitchn

For broth

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 anise star
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)

Other ingredients

  • 1/2 pound dried, flat rice noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 1 head baby bok choy, chopped
  • 1/4 cup snow peas
  • tofu, chopped and baked  or  chicken, boiled and shredded, optional
  • sprinkle of red chile pepper flakes to garnish
  1.  In a large pot over medium heat, dry roast cinnamon stick and star anise for one minute.  Add the chopped onions, garlic, ginger, and carrots and saute for about 5 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add the stock and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.  Strain and keep hot until ready to serve.
  3. To prepare noodles, begin by placing them in a large bowl.  Cover noodles with hot water and soak for about 8 minutes.  (Check the recommended soaking time, as it’s dependent upon the width of your noodles.)  The noodles should be firm, but not hard.  Drain and set aside.
  4. While broth is simmering, lightly steam your veggies for 5 minutes.  Lightly cook so that they remain crisp, but not tough.
  5. To serve, divide noodles and vegetables into two bowls.  Top with broth.  Serve with red pepper flakes and an extra sprinkle of green onion,  if desired.

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Jess Simpson