Thai & Vietnamese

Vegan Pho with Smoky Marinated Mushrooms

Vietnam's most famous soup made vegan! Start with a killer vegetable broth with a few select spices and add your garnishes. The best part of this dish is the smoky marinated mushrooms.

We’ve been weirdly obsessed with pho for quite a while. I’m not really sure where this obsession came from seeing as how we’ve never actually had pho in a restaurant (you know, meat and what not), but I would imagine we became captivated by it after watching some cooking show or another. So when some friends invited us to a Vietnamese restaurant last week which has some vegetarian options, we were cautiously optimistic about the possibility of trying pho for the first time.

Indeed they had pho on the menu, and when we asked the waitress if they could do a vegetarian version, it was clear that she had been asked that question before. Alas, despite the obvious demand, the answer was no, they only made a meaty version. Undeterred, we decided to make vegan pho at home. It’s not really that hard, you just need to make a killer vegetable stock with tons of veggies and a few spices, and then you have a multitude of options for the garnishes.

Vietnam's most famous soup made vegan! Start with a killer vegetable broth with a few select spices and add your garnishes. The best part of this dish is the smoky marinated mushrooms.

Our supermarkets here offer packages of mixed veggies for making stock and the combinations vary, but what’s important in the recipe is to pack the broth full of as many vegetable as you can to give it maximum flavour. Take my stock recipe as just a guideline, this is what my veggie stock package included, but you can use the combination of vegetable that you like and/or have on hand, just be sure to use LOTS.

Same for the garnishes, take my recipe as just a guideline. Pho is uber-flexible and lends itself well to lots of different combinations. If you don’t like what I used (although the smoky marinated oyster mushrooms are amazeballs!) then try Asian greens, tofu, carrots, broccoli, basil, spicy chilies, etc., etc. The choice is yours!

Vegan Pho with Smoky Marinated Mushrooms

Vegan Pho with Smoky Marinated Mushrooms

Yield: Serves 4
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour

This vegan pho features a from-scratch spiced broth and hearty, smoky mushrooms for a delicious take on this Vietnamese soup!


For the smoky marinated mushrooms

  • 300 grams (10 ounces) oyster mushrooms, chopped into bite-sized pieces (can substitute for other meaty mushrooms like shiitakes or portobellos)
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoky paprika
  • 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided

For the vegetable stock

  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 4 cloves of garlic, cut in half
  • 4 cm (1.5 inch) piece of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 star anis
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro seeds
  • 2 small turnips, roughly chopped
  • 1 parsnip, roughly chopped
  • A wedge of cabbage
  • 5 carrots, roughly chopped
  • A bunch of celery leaves
  • 1 small leek, roughly chopped
  • 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 8 cups packaged vegetable stock
  • Water, as needed
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce, adjust to taste

For the Pho

  • 225 grams (8 oz) flat rice noodles
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • A couple handfuls of bean sprouts
  • A couple handfuls of fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  • Sriracha or other Asian hot sauce, to serve


    For the smoky marinated mushrooms

    1. Put the mushrooms and all the marinade ingredients except for 1 tablespoon of the oil in a ziplock bag and shake. Leave to marinate, shaking from time to time, while you prepare the vegetable stock.
    2. Just before the stock is ready, heat 1 tablespoons of oil in a large pan over high heat. Sauté the mushrooms, stirring frequently, until dark brown and almost to the point of burning.
    3. Pour over remaining marinade from the ziplock bag and sauté while stirring until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and reserve.

    For the vegetable stock

    1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat without oil. Add the onions, garlic and ginger and fry, stirring occasionally, until they begin to char and blacken.
    2. Add the star anis, cloves, and cinnamon and dry roast for a couple more minutes until they become fragrant. Finally, add the cilantro seeds and roast for 20 – 30 more seconds.
    3. Add in all the vegetables and vegetable stock. Top up the pot with a bit of water so that all the vegetables are submerged, if necessary. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for an hour to an hour and a half until the stock is deep and flavourful. Add soy sauce to taste.

    For the vegan pho

    1. While the stock is simmering, cook the rice noodles according to the package directions. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
    2. Place a small handful of noodles in the bottom of each serving bowl. Ladle over some vegetable stock and top with a small handful of bean sprouts, cilantro, smoky marinated mushrooms, green onions, and a slice of lime.
    3. Serve along with sriracha or other Asian hot sauce if desired.
    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 186Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2909mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 8g

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  1. Reply
    Sarah Wille
    February 4, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Just tried this recipe. It’s really really good! Especially the mushrooms are soo delicious!!! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Reply
      February 4, 2016 at 4:58 pm

      Great, I’m so happy you enjoyed it. Thanks for coming back and letting me know!

  2. Reply
    Makenna Wilson
    March 14, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Maybe a silly there a difference between cloves and garlic cloves?

    • Reply
      March 15, 2017 at 9:19 am

      Yes, cloves is the spice – whole cloves, not ground cloves.

  3. Reply
    December 15, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    This looks great! But when you add the broth to your bowls, do you only take liquid or veggies as well?? Could I freeze the whole pot?

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