The only Pho Recipe you need.
A pho recipe that is so easy to make in either a slow-cooker or the Instant Pot Both are convenient ways to have vegetarian pho that tastes like take-out, but without the cost! You gotta try this flavor-packed pho recipe.
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When I say easy, I mean it.
This pho recipe is almost too easy.
Ok, as a mom of four, there’s no such thing as too easy of a dinner.
This vegetarian pho is quick to throw together, tastes absolutely delicious, and seriously makes a TON of pho! Like, we have pho all week for lunches.
That’s not something I will ever complain about.
So, if you need a pho fix and want a super easy-to-put-together meal, this is for you.
Authentic Pho recipe?
Now, if you’re wondering if this ai “authentic” Vietnamese pho, I have to start with this disclaimer:
I have never been to Vietnam. I am not Vietnamese, and have never had anyone teach me how to make authentic Vietnamese pho.
But I do go to a lot of pho restaurants. So, I like it, a lot. I just don’t want to insult anyone by claiming this is authentic when I just can’t verify that.
Now that we’re clear, let’s talk about this super tasty, just as good as take out. pho recipe.
You’ll need a few ingredients for this vegetarian pho that aren’t standard to every kitchen but are actually pretty easy to get your hands on.
Ingredients needed for this Pho Recipe
- I get a spice packet from a local Asian market that is called Pho Hoa from Gia Vi and it contains cinnamon, star anise, clove, and ginger. You can find it here on Amazon (just for reference so you can see what it looks like), but if you can’t find it locally it might be more worth it to use whole spices. I only pay $2.99 for a box of 4 at my local market.
- HOWEVER, I started using spices that you can buy pretty easily in just about any store.
Fresh or ground ginger
Coriander (whole or ground works)
Anise star (or “star anise”)
- You’ll also need Asian rice noodles. Don’t use rice spaghetti noodles. Don’t. It’s so not the same. I almost cry when I see recipes that should have Asian rice noodles that use rice spaghetti noodles. I can’t even.
I’ve found these rice noodles at Walmart. Winco, Kroger, and Safeway have also all carried them. I find the best deal at our local Asian store, but they’re pretty accessible these days!
Everything else you should be able to find in any grocery store.
I know pho is supposed to be a long process, but this vegetarian slow-cooker version is just so easy and tasty, I am completely hooked.
Two methods to make this Pho recipe
This pho can be made in both the Crock-Pot or the Instant Pot. I actually prefer the Instant Pot method (it infuses the broth really well in a short amount of time), but the slow cooker method is still a fantastic option. Especially if you prefer the dump and go method.
If you’re making this pho in the slow-cooker, you can saute the onions and spices in another pan and then add them to the crock-pot. But I never do. It’s just one more step that I choose to skip. However, the saute method really amps up the flavor, so bear that in mind.
Ok, here’s the pho recipe so YOU can have a pho-filled life, too (yes, I’m making myself laugh).
- 6 cups vegetable broth (you can also use all water if you want)
- 4 cups filtered water
- ½ cup tamari or soy sauce
- 1 whole onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp salt (more or less depending on your taste)
- 2 tsp black pepper
- Pho spice packet (or see homemade option below)
- 1 12 oz package extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into ½ inch-1 inch pieces. You can easily replace tofu with chicken, shrimp, or beef if you are wanting to use meat.
- 3 large whole carrots, sliced diagonally
- 3 cups cabbage, chopped into 2 inch pieces
- 4-5 cups fresh or frozen broccoli
- 8 oz rice noodles
- Optional: Mung bean sprouts, fresh basil, Sriracha, mint, peanuts, lime slices , sliced jalapenos
Homemade pho spices
For Slow Cooker
- Pour broth and water into slow-cooker, and add onion, garlic, and spices or spice packet.
- Set slow-cooker to high for 4 hours (you can do it at whatever setting you need! Low totally works if you need it cooking all day)
- One hour before eating time, drain the broth and discard spices (or simply remove the packet and skip the straining).
- Add in tamari, salt (if needed), pepper, carrots, cabbage, and broccoli, and set slow-cooker to high. Allow the vegetables to cook for 5-10 minutes until soft, but still crunchy.
- Follow directions below to prepare tofu.
- Add rice noodles to pho and let soak with the lid on for 5 minutes. Check the noodles for done-ness.
- Add tofu or meat to bowls and pour broth over.
- Use tongs to grab the noodles and vegetables to add to bowls.
- Top with desired toppings (I really can’t imagine pho without bean sprouts, basil, and sriracha).
For Instant Pot
- Set saute for 10 minutes. Add 1 T oil to Instant Pot and add onion, ginger, and spices to pan. Saute while stirring constantly.
- Add in broth and water, lock lid in place with valve shut, and cook on high pressure for 30-45 minutes.
- Quick release pressure and strain the spices out of the broth (or simply remove spice packet). Return broth to pot.
- Add in the carrots, broccoli, and cabbage and replace the lid for 5 minutes.
- Remove lid and add noodles, replacing the lid and letting them sit for 4-5 minutes.
- When the noodles are the right consistency, you're done!
Preparing Crispy Tofu
- Drain your tofu. You do this by wrapping the extra firm tofu in a cloth napkin (or two), placing it on a plate, and adding weights on top to squeeze out the liquid. I like to put a cutting board with a heavy glass bowl on mine. Let it drain for 10-15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Slice tofu into 1/2-1 inch strips.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet or griddle to medium-high, and add 2 T of oil.
- Place the tofu pieces in skillet without the pieces touching. Allow them to cook on one side for a few minutes until crispy on the side. Flip and allow them to crisp on the other side.
- Place the skillet into the oven for 10-15 minutes until extra crispy (pan frying works well enough, but the time in the oven helps to dry out the tofu and give it an extra crispiness that's AWESOME).
- When pho is done, place tofu on top of individual bowls of noodles.