Vegetarian Pho with Crispy Baked Tofu

AuthorLaLaLaMarsh
RatingDifficultyIntermediate

Pho is one of my favorite foods. I discovered it when I lived in downtown LA, there was the best Vietnamese restaurant down the street from my loft. I went there a couple times a week. After I moved I chased that flavor for years and nothing really compared to that little restaurant. I finally got brave enough to start playing with making my own version of pho and wanted to share with you what I came up with.

One of the keys to this recipe is freezing the tofu a head of time. Freezing tofu gives it a nice texture that's different than fresh tofu. I find it more spongy and absorbent of flavor. You can do this step the day before. Once you learn this trick you'll want to prep your tofu like this all the time!

This recipe takes time, its not a quick dinner. You can make the broth a day a head when you prep the tofu. I broke this recipe into sections because you could easily prep the different parts of this recipe a day or two ahead, which makes cooking it so much faster. Sometimes I'll prep the tofu and broth at the same time and freeze them both to enjoy at a later date. They last in the freezer for about a month and thaw out in the fridge over night.

I listed the veggies I most use for pho but you can really make it your own. Add as many veggies as you like or none at all!

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Vegetarian Pho with Crispy Tofu recipe

Yields4 Servings
Prep Time35 minsCook Time1 hr 15 minsTotal Time1 hr 50 mins

Pho Broth
 2 Cinnamon sticks
 3 Cloves
 2 Whole star anise
 1 Onion, quartered
 1 4-5" ginger, quartered and peeled
 1 Large garlic clove crushed
 4 cups Low sodium vegetable broth
 4 cups Aater
 1 tbsp Avocado or olive oil
Crispy Baked Tofu
 1 Package extra firm tofu, drained
 2 tsp EVOO
 2 tsp Brags Liquid Aminos
 2 tsp Arrowroot powder
The Good Stuff
 1 Package rice noodles (usually listed as Pad Thai noodles or Large Rice Stick Noodles)
 2 tsp EVOO
 ½ cup Mushrooms, sliced
 ½ cup Carrots, sliced
 ¼ cup Cabbage shredded or Bok Choy chopped
 ¼ cup Asparagus, roughly chopped
 ½ cup Spinach
The Additions (these are optional but the soup isn't the same without the basil and lime)
 A handful of fresh whole basil leaves
 1 lime sliced into wedges
 ½ cup Bean Sprouts
 ¼ cup Sliced Jalapenos
 Hoisin sauce

Prepping the tofu ahead of time
1

Slice your tofu into the thin layers and lay them on a towel down on the counter. Place another towel over them and a cutting board on that, with something heavy like a book atop it. You want to weigh down the cutting board so it puts pressure on the tofu, allowing it to drain. Let this sit for 10-20 min.

Vegetarian Pho with Crispy Tofu recipe

2

Thaw out the tofu. You can store it in the fridge like this for a day or two but I suggest allowing it to thaw in the fridge the night before you cook the soup.

3

Once the tofu has drained cut into 1" squares and freeze them.

The Broth
4

In a large soup pan sauté the avocado oil, whole spices, onion, ginger & garlic for 3-4 min over med heat. Until the spices are fragrant & onion softens.

5

Add the broth, water, liquid aminos and let simmer for about an hour. I like to partially cover it with a lid allowing the broth to cook down a bit keeping the simmer low.

6

Once the broth is ready strain out the spices/cooked ginger, garlic, onion, then place back on the burner on low to keep warm while you prep and cook your veggies and noodles.

Cooking the tofu
7

Preheat the oven to 375.

8

If you opted not to freeze the tofu follow this step. If not skip to the next step! Slice the tofu into 3 even slices, place between 2 towels & place heavy books or a weight on top. Allow to drain for 10 - 20 min. This gets the excess water out. Once the tofu has drained cut it into 1" cubes.

9

Toss the drained tofu in a large bowl with the olive oil, liquid aminos & arrowroot powder. Make sure all of the tofu is well coated and add a little extra liquid aminos or EVOO if it looks too dry.

10

Line a baking pan with parchment paper or greased tinfoil. And spread the tinfoil out evenly. Bake for 20-25 min until crispy & golden browned. Remember that ovens vary so keep an eye on the tofu and pull it out once it looks done.

Veggies and noodles!
11

Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions.

Vegetarian Pho with Crispy Tofu recipe

12

While the soup is simmering and you've just tossed your tofu in the oven lets get the veggies sliced up and ready to cook.

13

To a large pan add the EVOO, mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, asparagus. Sautee for about 5 minutes until the veggies are brightly colored and tender.

Vegetarian Pho with Crispy Tofu recipe

Dish it up!
14

I love to put fresh baby spinach leaves in the bottom of the bowl before the noodles. Then pile in the noodles, cooked veggies, tofu and pour hot broth over them. This allows the spinach to wilt just enough.

15

Garnish with Hoisin sauce to taste. I usually add 1/4 tsp hoisin, some lime, basil and beansprouts if I can find them in the store.

Ingredients

Pho Broth
 2 Cinnamon sticks
 3 Cloves
 2 Whole star anise
 1 Onion, quartered
 1 4-5" ginger, quartered and peeled
 1 Large garlic clove crushed
 4 cups Low sodium vegetable broth
 4 cups Aater
 1 tbsp Avocado or olive oil
Crispy Baked Tofu
 1 Package extra firm tofu, drained
 2 tsp EVOO
 2 tsp Brags Liquid Aminos
 2 tsp Arrowroot powder
The Good Stuff
 1 Package rice noodles (usually listed as Pad Thai noodles or Large Rice Stick Noodles)
 2 tsp EVOO
 ½ cup Mushrooms, sliced
 ½ cup Carrots, sliced
 ¼ cup Cabbage shredded or Bok Choy chopped
 ¼ cup Asparagus, roughly chopped
 ½ cup Spinach
The Additions (these are optional but the soup isn't the same without the basil and lime)
 A handful of fresh whole basil leaves
 1 lime sliced into wedges
 ½ cup Bean Sprouts
 ¼ cup Sliced Jalapenos
 Hoisin sauce

Directions

Prepping the tofu ahead of time
1

Slice your tofu into the thin layers and lay them on a towel down on the counter. Place another towel over them and a cutting board on that, with something heavy like a book atop it. You want to weigh down the cutting board so it puts pressure on the tofu, allowing it to drain. Let this sit for 10-20 min.

Vegetarian Pho with Crispy Tofu recipe

2

Thaw out the tofu. You can store it in the fridge like this for a day or two but I suggest allowing it to thaw in the fridge the night before you cook the soup.

3

Once the tofu has drained cut into 1" squares and freeze them.

The Broth
4

In a large soup pan sauté the avocado oil, whole spices, onion, ginger & garlic for 3-4 min over med heat. Until the spices are fragrant & onion softens.

5

Add the broth, water, liquid aminos and let simmer for about an hour. I like to partially cover it with a lid allowing the broth to cook down a bit keeping the simmer low.

6

Once the broth is ready strain out the spices/cooked ginger, garlic, onion, then place back on the burner on low to keep warm while you prep and cook your veggies and noodles.

Cooking the tofu
7

Preheat the oven to 375.

8

If you opted not to freeze the tofu follow this step. If not skip to the next step! Slice the tofu into 3 even slices, place between 2 towels & place heavy books or a weight on top. Allow to drain for 10 - 20 min. This gets the excess water out. Once the tofu has drained cut it into 1" cubes.

9

Toss the drained tofu in a large bowl with the olive oil, liquid aminos & arrowroot powder. Make sure all of the tofu is well coated and add a little extra liquid aminos or EVOO if it looks too dry.

10

Line a baking pan with parchment paper or greased tinfoil. And spread the tinfoil out evenly. Bake for 20-25 min until crispy & golden browned. Remember that ovens vary so keep an eye on the tofu and pull it out once it looks done.

Veggies and noodles!
11

Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions.

Vegetarian Pho with Crispy Tofu recipe

12

While the soup is simmering and you've just tossed your tofu in the oven lets get the veggies sliced up and ready to cook.

13

To a large pan add the EVOO, mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, asparagus. Sautee for about 5 minutes until the veggies are brightly colored and tender.

Vegetarian Pho with Crispy Tofu recipe

Dish it up!
14

I love to put fresh baby spinach leaves in the bottom of the bowl before the noodles. Then pile in the noodles, cooked veggies, tofu and pour hot broth over them. This allows the spinach to wilt just enough.

15

Garnish with Hoisin sauce to taste. I usually add 1/4 tsp hoisin, some lime, basil and beansprouts if I can find them in the store.

Vegetarian Pho with Crispy Tofu

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