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How to Make a Delicious Beef-Free Version of Pho, Vietnam’s Iconic National Soup

How to Make a Delicious Beef-Free Version of Pho, Vietnam’s Iconic National Soup

Known for its vibrant flavors and fresh ingredients, Vietnamese cuisine has quickly become an American favorite. There are now almost 8,000 Vietnamese restaurants in the country. But while bánh mì—a sandwich fusion of Vietnamese and French textures and flavors—is undeniably popular, another dish takes the top spot for many US consumers. Pho, a comforting, fragrant, and aromatic noodle soup, is hard to beat. While you can order a hearty bowl of pho from many restaurants, it’s also simple to make this iconic dish from home. And it’s easy to make it vegan.

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What is pho?

Pho is a soup consisting of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and protein. It’s usually made with beef or chicken, but tofu and mushrooms are also popular choices. The exact origin of the dish is still up for debate, but most experts agree that it hails from Northern Vietnam, and started to become popular in the early 20th century.

Pho may be a relatively new dish, but it is the result of a long and complex history. Like many Vietnamese recipes, pho likely represents a blend of cultures. France occupied Vietnam in the late 19th century, while much of the country’s early history is linked closely with China.

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“Rice noodles and other spices used in making the broth undoubtedly have a connection with Chinese people in the north,” Alex Tran, a Vietnamese chef and food writer, told the BBC. “However, beef is not the daily meat of the Vietnamese as we use buffaloes for farming. Only under the French colonial regime did the consumption of beef start to appear and bloom.”

Today, pho is loved not just in Vietnam and the US, but all over the world. It is incredibly adaptable and can be customized to suit most tastes and preferences. If you want to make pho at home, here are some of the best brands and recipes to try.

RELATED: 7 Vegan Asian Noodle Recipes to Try: From Pad Thai to Ramen

Where to get the best vegan pho: 5 brands to check out

VegNews.phodiybox

1Get Cultured Box

Founded by Mimi Nguyen, who was evacuated from Vietnam in 1975, this brand is all about helping you make the best, most authentic versions of Vietnamese recipes from home. The Get Cultured Box mission is to make traditional, homemade Vietnamese cuisine accessible globally. It is not a totally vegan brand, but it does offer plant-based options, like its DIY Pho Kit with shiitake mushrooms.
Check it out

VegNews.miraclenoodlepho.miraclenoodleMiracle Noodle

2 Miracle Noodle 

Wellness-focused, plant-based noodle brand Miracle Noodle offers a wide range of delicious, healthy meal options, but one of the best is arguably its Vegan Pho Noodles. Packed with a medley of vegetables, they are warming, aromatic, and delicious. Plus, they’re high in fiber and low in calories.
Check it out

VegNews.oceanshalophonoodlesoup.oceanshaloOcean’s Halo

3 Ocean’s Halo

Seaweed brand Ocean’s Halo offers a wide range of vegan broths, including Ramen, Miso, and No Chicken. One of its most flavorful options is its Pho Broth, which is the perfect base for the traditional Vietnamese dish. Plus, it’s a good source of vitamin D and iodine.
Check it out

VegNews.samabilapho

4 Samabila

Pho can be made with many different protein sources, but, as highlighted above, one of the most common is beef. If you’re craving that signature beefy flavor, you need to check out Samabila. The vegan brand offers a delicious umami-rich Viet Beef Phở Powder, which has all the same flavor, but none of the actual animal products.
Check it out

VegNews.anniechun'sphobowl.anniechunsAnnie Chun’s

5 Annie Chun’s

Annie Chun’s specializes in healthy, Asian-inspired cuisine. To enjoy the brand’s take on Vietnam soup, all you need to do is pop the noodles in the microwave after adding water and wait for two minutes. It’s easy, low in fat, and delicious.
Check it out

How to make pho: 5 vegan recipes to try

If you’ve got a little bit more time on your hands, it’s easy (and rewarding) to make pho from scratch. Check out these five vegan recipes to learn more.

VegNews.vietnamesepho.vietveganThe Viet Vegan

1 Authentic Vietnamese Vegan Pho

This tasty plant-based soup from The Viet Vegan “rivals the beef version,” the recipe developer notes. It’s packed with shiitake mushrooms, carrot, charred cabbage, daikon, and onions, all of which work together to provide a delicious combination of smoky and sweet.
Get the recipe

VegNews.VeggiePhoCarina Skrobecki Photography

2 Vegan Pho-Inspired Zucchini Noodles

This flavorful dish is loosely inspired by pho, so it’s not 100 percent accurate to the real thing. It is, however, packed with anti-inflammatory spices and features healthy zucchini noodles as the base. If you need more protein, it will taste delicious with seasoned fried tofu.
Get the recipe

VegNews.veganpho.lazycatkitchenLazy Cat Kitchen

3 Vegan Pho With Spicy Tofu

In this recipe, the Lazy Cat Kitchen takes inspiration from cookbook author and pho expert Andrea Nguyen by flavoring the broth with nutritional yeast extract for an extra boost of umami. The result is a light soup that is still filling and packed with flavor.
Get the recipe

VegNews.veganpho.veggieanhVeggie Anh

4 Vegan Pho With Tofu and Mushroom

King oyster mushrooms and tofu bring a delicious meaty texture to this vegan pho recipe, which Veggie Anh created. It’s nourishing, hearty, and bursting with flavor, especially when it’s served with green onions and herbs.
Get the recipe

VegNews.veganpho.goodchefbadchefGood Chef Bad Chef

5 Vegan Pho With Plant-Based Chicken

If beef flavor isn’t really your thing, then this recipe from Good Chef Bad Chef offers a way to make a chicken pho, but without the actual chicken. The recipe blog combines chicken-free pieces with plant-based ingredients like bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, and spring onions to create a meaty, satisfying, nutritious vegan dish.
Get the recipe

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Here at VegNews, we live and breathe the vegan lifestyle, and only recommend products we feel make our lives amazing. Occasionally, articles may include shopping links where we might earn a small commission. In no way does this effect the editorial integrity of VegNews.



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