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Two Peas and Their Pod: Vegetarian Pho

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Vegetarian Pho

What is Pho??? I honestly had never heard of it, until recently. Our foodie friend, Ben, was coming over for dinner and suggested we make Pho. I was assuming it was a food item, but I really had no clue. He had to explain it:) Once he did, I was sold!

I am sure most of you know what it is, but in case you are unsure here is a little Pho 101. First of all, it is pronounced "Fuh." It is
is a traditional Vietnamese thinly sliced meat and rice-noodle soup dish. The broth is generally made by simmering beef (and sometimes chicken) bones, oxtails, flank steak, charred onion, and spices, taking several hours to prepare.

The spices generally include:
cinnamon sticks, cloves, coriander pods, star anise and cardamom. The noodles in Pho are typically rice noodles, dried or fresh. The dish is garnished with ingredients such as green onions, cilantro, Thai basil, fresh Thai chili peppers, lime wedges, and bean sprouts. These items are usually provided on the side. Some sauces such as hoisin sauce and the Thai hot sauce, Sriracha are popular additions as well.

Is everyone feeling educated now? Most of you know we don't eat beef and are probably wondering why I would try Pho. Well, there are many variations and Ben was nice enough to let us create a vegetarian version. Ben made a homemade vegetable broth for the base of our Pho. We bought the rice noodles and a Pho spice packet from our local Asian Market, you can make your own packets, but this was easier:)

For the veggie version, we steamed bok choy, green beans, broccoli rabe, and snow peas. We also used cooked cubed sweet potatoes. For our toppings we used bean sprouts, lime wedges, chili peppers, Thai basil, cilantro, and green onions.

This really was a fun dinner. I enjoyed trying Pho, even if it wasn't technically the traditional version. The veggie Pho was outstanding. I loved incorporating so many vegetables into the soup and it was fun letting everyone choose their own toppings and flavors.

Would I make or eat this again? PHO SURE! Sorry there isn't an exact recipe. If you have questions let me know. If you would like to try a traditional recipe, Steamy Kitchen, has a great one on her blog. 

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Blogger Erica said...

Never heard of it but looks great! I love all of your ingredients laid out in different bowls- looks so professional!!! Love that you guys have other foodie friends. Have a good one ;)

5:08 AM  
Blogger LizNoVeggieGirl said...

HAHA!! The "pho sure" part cracked me up :-D

Looks delish!!

5:13 AM  
Blogger Live.Love.Eat said...

HAH, I loved that pho sure coming from you!!!!! This looks great! Something I would totally enjoy!!!!! It's great your friend came over like that and made part of it. It's fun to have fellow foodies living close by!

5:28 AM  
Blogger Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

It looks great, so healthy too!

5:33 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

We have a pho resturant on like every corner here! It's a great change from the typical fried foods. However I'd never thought to make my own...way to go!

5:37 AM  
Blogger Balance, Joy and Delicias! said...

wooooooo........ this is so interesting! I'll definitely make the vegetarian version of Pho! It must be delicious with so many spices! :D

5:40 AM  
Blogger Donna-FFW said...

I have never heard of it..But I must say it looks so delicious and very healthy. Light and perfect for spring!!

5:44 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I am bookmarking this one. I love pho but have never actually made it myself. Looks delish!

5:45 AM  
Blogger NKP said...

That looks awesome! Very healthy and alive.

6:07 AM  
Blogger RecipeGirl said...

Nice job! Everything looks so fresh and delicious.

6:08 AM  
Blogger The Purple Carrot said...

I am feeling educated now! Ha, I had no idea what Pho was but it looks good!!

I agree, with VeggieGirl, loved the "pho sure" part ; )

6:10 AM  
Blogger vanillasugarblog said...

ha ha!
looks like it was a huge success.
and it's a great way to eat your veggies. I love it with the lime. Came out great!

6:12 AM  
Blogger Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A great pho! That vegetarian version looks really good!



6:14 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

Thanks everyone! It was really fun to make and eat:) I love that everyone can choose their own toppings and the veggie version was really tasty and healthy!

6:18 AM  
Blogger Debbie said...

Never heard of this but it looks wonderful and soooo tasty!

6:23 AM  
Blogger The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

All of those vegetables look so pretty.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Pho 101 was exactly what I need - I didn't know what it was either! It looks delicious and healthy!

6:27 AM  
Blogger kat said...

Matt adores Pho I should bookmark this & surprise him with it

6:32 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

I absolutely LOVE PHO!! I have it at least once every two weeks-- there is a Vietnamese restaurant right near my office. Gorgeous photos!

6:45 AM  
Blogger Bunny said...

Oh I saw this on tv once it sounds wonderful!!

7:17 AM  
Blogger Netts Nook said...

Maria It looks great can't wait to share with my vegan daughter.

7:29 AM  
Blogger Lori said...

Yours looks so tasty! Glad it was a success. I'm always intimidated by Asian-inspired cooking. I can never seem to get it quite right.

7:32 AM  
Blogger Pearl said...

my friends in san diego loooooove pho. they consider it their hang-over food; nothing better than a hot bowl of soup + noodles the day after a drinking binge!

i tried pho once before but wasn't too enthralled by it; i haven't tried it again but your photos look better than how i remember it!

yay for trying new things!

7:38 AM  
Blogger Flourchild said...

What a great spread. It looks so healthy and tasty! Great meal.

7:44 AM  
Blogger stephchows said...

I've only had beef pho but I LOVE IT!!!! This would be a great version that my fiance would eat (he also doesn't eat beef) Thanks!!

8:08 AM  
Blogger Mary Bergfeld said...

Spectacular! This looks really great. Pho is the national breakfast in Viet Nam.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Elyse said...

Oh man, Maria, your pho looks totally fabulous! I may have to make this, ahem, ASAP. I promise to write you an email back as soon as I get done with all my work today, but suffice it to say, I'm so sad I won't get to see you (for now, that is), and I hope you're starting to feel better!! Focus on getting well so you can reschedule your trip!

8:22 AM  
Blogger priscilla joy said...

My Dad loves Pho we get from a Vietanemese Restaurant. This looks so good!

8:50 AM  
Blogger Cookie baker Lynn said...

Mmm, that looks outstanding! I love that you made a vegetarian version.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Culinary Wannabe said...

This does sound right up your alley with all the veggies. We actually order something like this in all the time, and I just pick around the meat (something about meat from the little corner not-so-clean-looking take out places just gives me the heebie jeebies).

9:01 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

"Pho sure" (giggling). This sounds so interesting! Love the flavors of the veggies and the spices. This will be a fun one to try!

9:03 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

Elyse-I am so bummed we aren't coming but it is just not a good time with all of my stomach issues. We will come out another time though. I would love to meet you!

9:22 AM  
Blogger La Bella Cooks said...

I had this at a kids' birthday party my son attended. The boy's mom is Vietnamese and made this. It was one of the best dishes I had tasted. I had a blast tasting so many authentic family dishes that day. Yours looks so vibrant and it!

10:35 AM  
Blogger Francesca said...

this looks delcious! thanks for the compliment! how do i add your blog to follow it?

12:25 PM  
Blogger Mary Ann said...

What a fun dinner. It looks so good!

12:52 PM  
Blogger Katie @ goodLife {eats} said...

That looks amazing! I had some once (chicken) prepared by a Vietnamese friend. I really want her to write up the recipe for me sometime.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Teanna DiMicco said...

That looks so delicious! I've never had pho (I always pronounced it FO... glad I have never said it in public! haha!) but I have been dying to try it! This is a great recipe!

2:03 PM  
Blogger Jescel said...

yum! it's healthy, pho sure! LOL! just too many slicing/dicing.. but that's how asian cooking is :o)

2:05 PM  
Blogger Dewi said...

Wow, I never tried vegetarian version of this Pho, I am it's delicious as well.

2:16 PM  
Blogger pinkstripes said...

I love pho. This is right up my alley. Love it. Of course, I add a bunch of sriracha. YUM.

3:43 PM  
Blogger sugarlens said...


I made chicken pho at home about once a week during winter. It's so good. Star anise makes it really authentic! My mother-in-law lived in Vietnam for several years so she makes a lot of Vietnamese food - I actually learned to make pho from her.

Good job on your first pho! Looks super healthy!

3:59 PM  
Blogger Shannon - said...

Just found your blog and wanted to say hi! You guys are adorable!!

I love your blog, the photos are awesome ;)

I just started a blog of own, I hope you check it out!

4:00 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

mmm. there are so many pho places near my house - i love it. i also have a few clients that are vietnamese and one of them made me some pho as a thank you for handling her case. it's so delicious. i love it when it's spicy!

4:30 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I've never heard of pho either! I love that you were adventurous enough to try it. Looks great!

4:35 PM  
Blogger Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I've never made Pho, but this looks easy enough and delicious too!

5:24 PM  
Blogger Nummy Kitchen said...

Wow Maria, that looks absolutely delicious! You know, I had heard of pho and thought it was a meat dish but didn't know much else about it. I loved your explanation and the vegetarian version, sounds like something I will have to try :)

6:05 PM  
Blogger Reeni said...

I am always hearing about how great it is, and was never sure exactly what was in. Your version sounds wonderful!!

6:23 PM  
Blogger Spryte said...

Cool!! I've been going to make Pho all month (the beef kind) and haven't gotten around to it yet!

Your veggie version looks great!

6:28 PM  
Blogger Kerstin said...

Yum - looks so light and healthy! Thanks for posting the pronunciation!

8:12 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Wow, I love pho! It's my favorite cold weather soup. I have yet to make it myself but when I go out for it I always get the veggie version. Your pho loks amazingly delicious and healthy. Love it!

8:23 PM  
Blogger Not Another Omnivore said...

This looks great! I've seen SOOO much Vietnamese food lately, I really need to jump on the bandwagon I guess!


8:23 PM  
Blogger grace said...

wow, good thing i read your post. if i hadn't and i wanted to order this somewhere, i would've made a fool out of myself asking for vegetarian faux. :)

12:02 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

This looks scrumptious, warm and healthy all in one. I love this kind of cooking and, as you have proven, you can easily ad lib with this beautiful soup.

3:24 AM  
Blogger Lori Lynn said...

YAY for Pho. One of my all time favs. Your steamed veggies look incredible.

4:16 AM  
Blogger Connie said...

That looks so healthy! Pho Sure! LOL!

12:32 PM  
Blogger Heidi Leon Monges said...

finally! A good vegetarian pho! I can make this hundreds of times without feeling too guilty bcs of all that (animal) fat!.


10:27 PM  
Blogger The Food Librarian said...

I love pho. Luckily, living in Southern California, there are a lot of Vietnamese restaurants where I can pick it up. Yours looks great! My favorite part are all the toppings!

10:36 PM  
Blogger Peter M said...

LOL...Pho sure! I adore this soup, the aromas alone make me so hungry. I still like my rare beef in there, tho.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Esi said...

Pho is one of my favorite soups. Especially when I am not feeling well. Nice job!

2:56 PM  
Blogger Jaime said...

you'll have to eat it w/the thin noodles to get a more authentic feel for's ok if you don't eat beef, my mom would make the chicken version for me whenever i want sick, she'd just shred some chicken into it for me :)

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Dana said...

Love all the veggies in there! Good for you for trying something new!

2:48 PM  

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