Pho-Inspired Vegetable Noodle Soup

This weeknight meal inspired by the Vietnamese noodle dish pho is guaranteed to keep you cozy.

Easy Pho-ish Vegetable Soup

Fred Hardy

Prep Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
40 mins

Fragrant and incredibly satisfying, pho is a traditional Vietnamese dish made with medium-wide rice noodles and a clear broth infused with star anise, ginger, onion, and ngo gai, an herb similar to cilantro. It’s most commonly served with beef broth and thin slices of beef. But in this vegetarian version inspired by the original, it’s loaded with umami-rich shiitake mushrooms, tender tofu, and sweet carrots. Vegetable broth simmers with the traditional aromatics plus serrano chile for a mild kick. Don’t miss out on the squeeze of lime when serving, and if you happen to have fresh basil on hand, pile that on as well.


  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro

  • 1 1 1/2-in. piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced (3 Tbsp.)

  • 3 whole star anise (optional)

  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed and thinly sliced, divided

  • 5 cups vegetable broth

  • 14 oz firm tofu, drained 

  • 1 8.8-oz. pkg. vermicelli rice noodles

  • 3 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms (6 oz.)

  • 1/2 cup matchstick carrots

  • 2 Tbsp. lower-sodium soy sauce or tamari 

  • 1 tbsp lime juice


  1. Remove and reserve cilantro stems. Place ginger, star anise (if using), and half of chile slices in a large pot over medium. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth and cilantro stems; bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Using a strainer or slotted spoon, discard star anise, cilantro stems, and chile slices.

  2. Meanwhile, cut tofu into 12 squares. Place on a towel-lined plate. Drain for 15 minutes, patting to absorb moisture.

  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook rice noodles until al dente, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain; rinse well under cold water.

  4. Add mushrooms, carrots, and tofu to broth. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook, undisturbed, until tofu is heated through and vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in soy sauce and lime juice.

  5. Divide noodles among bowls and ladle on soup. Top with remaining chile slices and cilantro leaves.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

190 Calories
6g Fat
22g Carbs
15g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 190
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1297mg 56%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 15g
Vitamin C 6mg 30%
Calcium 309mg 24%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 511mg 11%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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