This soup isn't exactly a pho, but the collection of rich savory flavors and fresh herbs definitely get my mind thinking "pho pho pho" when I eat it. If it were a true pho, it would have beef instead of mushrooms, and the noodles would be clear rice noodles instead of thick, chewy wheat noodles. Despite these obvious discrepencies, I shall persist in titling this recipe "Faux Pho". Personally, I think that for a vegan, this soup is just about the closest you are going to come to finding the satisfaction that lies buried inside a bowl of steaming hot Pho.
Know why? Because this shit is umami as hell.
The mushroom broth and fresh green herbs are the key to this recipe. Be sure not to skimp on either one. You can use boxed mushroom broth, but you'll be sorry if you substitute dried basil or scallions for fresh. There is something about their earthy aroma and crisp bite that would be sad to miss out on. Feel free to swap the noodles out for whatever is your favorite. Rice noodles would be the most authentic, but I think this recipe would be delicious using soba, ramen, or gluten free pasta too.
And yes, I know, it's hot as the devil's armpit outside and noone probably wants to eat noodles right now. But one of these days it's bound to rain, or get cloudy, or something, and you're gonna be thanking your lucky stars for the red hot comfort of noodle soup. It is known.
Faux Pho, Vegan Noodle Soup
Makes 2 big servings
- 6 oz. noodles
- 1 teaspoon cooking oil (mild flavored, such as peanut, vegetable, soy, or canola)
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 1/2 inch knob of fresh ginger, sliced
- 1 teaspoon szechuan peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup cooking oil (mild flavored, such as peanut, vegetable, soy, or canola)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 baby bok choy, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 4 ounces portabella mushrooms
- 4 ounces shitake or oyster mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 quart mushroom broth
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari for gluten free)
- 1/2 bunch scallions, shredded or sliced
- 1 handful fresh basil, shredded or sliced
- salt & pepper to taste
- Cook the noodles according to package directions, then immediately drain, and rinse in cold water. Toss with 1 teaspoon of cooking oil to keep from sticking.
- Add the sliced garlic and ginger, szechuan peppercorns, crushed red pepper, and 1/4 cup of cooking oil to a cold wok, very deep skillet, or small stock pot. Mix together, then increase the heat to medium. Allow the ingredients to sweat for 10 - 15 minutes. They should become fragrant, but do not let them burn.
- Strain the solid ingredients from the oil, then return the oil to the pan. Heat the oil over medium, then add the minced garlic, bok choy, and red bell pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes, just long enough for the vegetables to begin to soften.
- Add the sesame oil, and the mushrooms. Saute for about 2 minutes.
- Add the minced ginger, followed by the mushroom broth.
- Bring the ingredients to a boil, then quickly reduce to a simmer.
- Add the soy sauce and the noodles.
- Taste, then add salt and pepper as needed. You may also want to add a little crushed red pepper or siracha sauce to add a little heat.
- Divide the soup, noodles, and vegetables into bowls, then garnish with the fresh basil and scallions.