30-Minute Vegetarian Pho

30-Minute Vegetarian Pho
The first time I went out to eat at a Vietnamese restaurant with my family, I was very unsure of what to expect. I had the misconception that the meal would be your run-of-the mill greasy, heavy food, requiring a great deal of extra sweat time at the gym. I was surprised and delighted when I ordered pho soup and was presented with the largest bowl of fresh and flavorful ingredients I had ever happened upon in public.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, pho (pronounced ‘fuh’) soup is a classic Vietnamese dish. A typical pho includes rice noodles in broth, a combination of raw and sautéed vegetables, fresh herbs, and rare sliced steak. Since we’re making this meal meatless, we left out the steak and added in meaty sautéed shiitake mushrooms. I sautéed the shiitakes in butter and hoisin sauce, but you can easily switch out the hoisin for soy sauce or liquid aminos.

30-Minute Vegetarian Pho
The broth for a traditional pho usually involves a whole lot of spices and a whole lot of simmering–sometimes for up to 3 hours if you’re making the stock yourself! I wanted to make a pho that was doable for a weeknight meal, so I simplified things by making a quick ginger broth instead. I usually serve my pho with store-bought hoisin sauce and chili garlic sauce so that people can mix and match sweet and spicy flavors as desired.

30-Minute Vegetarian Pho
You can easily add your favorite vegetables to this 30-Minute Vegetarian Pho too. Since it is spring time, you can throw in asparagus, snow peas, fennel, or sliced radishes; for summer, try thinly sliced zucchini or yellow squash or green beans. Tofu, seitan, or cooked slices of tempeh can be added to up the protein in this recipe too. Pho is highly customizable, so everyone can assemble their own bowls with their favorite add-ins. Who doesn’t love that kind of dinner?!

30-Minute Vegetarian Pho

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

30-Minute Vegetarian Pho

A streamlined version of pho with a simple ginger broth base and shiitake mushrooms to make it meatless!


  • 64 ounces homemade or low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, tough stems removed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 14 ounces rice noodles, cooked according to package instructions
  • 8 ounces bean sprouts
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced
  • Fresh cilantro, basil, lime wedges, hoisin sauce, and chili garlic sauce or sriracha for serving


  1. In a large pot, combine the vegetable broth, green onion, grated ginger, and salt. Bring to a full boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. While the broth is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 6 minutes, or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in the hoisin and sesame oil and cook until the sauce thickens and coats the mushrooms, about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.
  3. Divide the rice noodles between four to six large bowls, then fill each bowl with the ginger broth. Add bean sprouts, sliced jalapeños, shiitake mushrooms, fresh basil, and cilantro and serve with lime wedges, hoisin, and chili garlic sauce.

About Julia

Julia Mueller writes the food blog, The Roasted Root, and is the author of Delicious Probiotic Drinks and Let Them Eat Kale!. A Lake Tahoe native, Julia loves to play outdoors, and enjoys developing recipes that are nutrient-dense and approachable to make any night of the week.   Read more from Julia →

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  1. Dee says

    What would be a good winter vegetable to add? I have some extra butternut squash, but not sure if it is suitable for this recipe… Thinking of adding some broccoli now.

  2. Dee says

    Would broccoli or edamame work as a vegg in this recipe ( or other winter veggie?)? I have some butternut squash, but I’m thinkin’ that may not work.

    • Rachel says

      I have had vegetarian pho with broccoli florets in–just tonight actually–and it was delicious! It also had big chunks of baby bok choy, carrot slices, and mushrooms in it, and it was SO good! I’ve only had pho that I’ve made myself at home (hardly authentic), but now I might try to replicate the recipe I had tonight.

  3. Beth Gardner says

    This dish, pho, is fantastic! My only replacement was ‘not beef’ broth instead of vegetable. I will definitely make it again.

  4. Kerstin LaCross says

    This was super good and I’ll be making it again; or at lease the broth to serve with wonton. But I feel that you should specify in the recipe to use Thai basil, not sweet basil (‘regular’).

  5. Fee says

    Very tasty! I substituted pea sprouts for bean sprouts and added some wheat sprouts. I like how this is very quick and does not require hours for the broth.

  6. Alice and Calum says

    Had our first bowl of pho a few weeks ago in a lovely Vietnamese restaurant in Manchester and absolutely loved it, so we decided to try and make our own. We found this recipe and added out own tweaks to it.
    This pho beats the pho we had at the restaurant. Absolutely delicious and so straight forward.

  7. Jeremy E. says

    I know this post is old, but it seems silly to include butter because simply using olive oil makes this recipe healthier and vegan, and it won’t alter the taste drastically.

  8. Louise says

    This might be tasty but there is literally NOTHING about this that’s pho. Maybe just calling it Asian inspired soup would be more accurate, otherwise this is just terrible cultural appropriation

  9. Diana B. says

    Made this today with beef broth and it was so spot on it surprised me! Used a lot of mung beans in place of noodles and it was a delicious low carb pho! I’ll def. be making this again!

  10. Connor says

    Please note that the prep time for this recipe is longer than 30 minutes, as the prep time needed for the rice noodles is not accounted for in the recipe.

    Otherwise, good recipe.

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