By Sara May -
Since becoming a vegetarian, I have missed that sublime pleasure that comes from diving into a steaming bowl of pho. Pho is a Vietnamese rice-noodle soup,
traditionally made with rich beef stock and dotted with thin shavings of steak or
tendon or tripe. The broth is flavored with a highly aromatic combination of spices, and the pho’s richness is cut by the addition of fresh herbs and a squeeze of lime juice at the last minute. It’s comfort food at it’s most basic, a perfect pick-me-up whether you’re fighting a spring cold or just a serious case of the blahs.
I tinkered around a bit and came up with a vegan version of this delicious noodle
soup that satisfies my cravings for a rich, umami-packed pho that doesn’t require
any animal products to make it last-drop-of-broth-slurpin’ gooooood. Roasted
daikon radish adds a pleasantly bitter bite to the broth, but if you’re not a radish fan, feel free to leave it out.
A vegan pho has the added advantage of being much quicker to prepare than its meaty counterpart– because there are no bones to parboil or animal fat to skim, the broth comes together in about a half hour. Because it’s so easy to throw together,
this soup makes a great weeknight meal, but it’s so darn tasty that is shouldn’t be overlooked as an option to impress a date with a homemade version of this takeout classic. You don’t have to tell your sweetie how quickly it came together– just smile mysteriously and let ‘em gush.
Editor’s Note: This recipe is part of our “Quick & Easy” recipe series,
where some of our favorite bloggers create some new recipes for us that can be made in a snap. Interested in creating an original recipe for us to feature?
Email us a link to your blog at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vegan Pho with Roasted Daikon Radish
Prep Time: about 15 minutes
Cooking Time: about 30 minutes
Makes: 3 2-cup servings
1 large daikon radish, peeled and cut into 1/2″ squares
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
sprinkle of sea salt
pinch red pepper flakes
6 cups vegetable stock (preferably homemade)
1 large white onion, stem and root ends removed, papery skin peeled off
1 2″ long piece ginger, peeled
3 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, brushed free of any dirt
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and roughly smashed
1 teaspoon anise seed
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 cinnamon stick
1 cardamom pod
8 ounces thin rice noodles (dried or fresh)Garnishes and Condiments:
mung bean sprouts
fresh lime slices
cilantro, roughly chopped
gluten-free hoisin sauce
Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, toss daikon pieces with 1 tablespoon olive oil, a sprinkling of sea salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Spread onto a sheet tray and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. Place sheet tray back into oven and continue to roast for 10-15 minutes more, or until daikon is golden around edges and slightly soft in the middle. Remove roasted daikon from oven and set aside.
While daikon is roasting, char onion, ginger and shiitake mushrooms in batches over a gas burner on high flame, carefully turning each vegetable with tongs to ensure an even char on all sides. (If the thought of charring vegetables directly on your stovetop makes you uncomfortable, simply place onion, ginger and mushrooms under broiler until slightly blackened. Flip veggies and blacken other side.) Roughly chop charred vegetables.
In a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot combine 6 cups vegetable stock and chopped charred vegetables. Add smashed garlic cloves, anise seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom pod and cinnamon stick. Bring mixture to a boil and immediately reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes of simmering, remove pot from heat and strain broth through a fine mesh or a piece of cheesecloth, taking care to squeeze out as much broth as you can from the vegetables. Discard vegetables and spices. Season broth to taste with shoyu (fermented soy sauce).
If using dried rice noodles, place in a shallow heat-proof container with steep sides. Pour boiling water over the noodles and allow to soften, about 5-8 minutes.
To assemble the soup: place 2 cups of broth in your prettiest soup bowl. Add softened rice noodles. Garnish with lime slices, mung bean sprouts and roughly chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.
Offer diners tamari sauce, sriracha and gluten-free hoisin sauce as condiments.
Sara May is a vegetarian recipe developer, a fresh produce junkie and a bourbon lover living in the great city of Philadelphia. She blogs at The Cozy Herbivore and is currently hard at work on her first cookbook. Sara’s day job is working as a pastry chef at the Franklin Fountain, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. Check out her stuff on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.