Vegetarian Pho

Vegetarian Pho
Like most people, I wish I made it to the gym more often, but with a toddler it’s a miracle that I get out the door looking presentable. Since I can’t carve out time for exercise, I figured my eating could use a revamp. About 3 weeks ago, I decided to do an experiment focusing my diet on less dairy and more plants. There were times when I cheated, but my plan isn’t to go cold turkey. I am being realistic about my lifestyle and not taking away things that I eat that bring me joy.

I don’t know if it’s the lack of cheese or being more aware of my overall diet, but I have more energy and brighter skin. Basking in veggies might be a good thing, and I haven’t felt like I’m missing out. To be clear, I ate EVERYTHING at Thanksgiving, so I’m not rushing to overhaul my pantry. I couldn’t give up chocolate chip cookies or ice cream, but I am attempting to be a more thoughtful eater especially about snacking and indulging.

One of my favorite new recipes that I tried was vegetarian pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup. I loved the anise, coriander and cinnamon-scented broth along with the rice noodles and cilantro. Soup makes it easy for me to consume more veggies, and now that temperatures have started to drop, I can’t say no to a warm, hearty bowl.
Vegetarian Pho
Vegetarian Pho
Adapted from The Kitchn

Serves 2

For broth
1 large onion, peeled and halved
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and halved lengthwise
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
2 teaspoons soy sauce
4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

For noodles
1/2 pound dried flat rice noodles

For toppings
Baked tofu (optional)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
4 cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
Handful fresh cilantro
2 lime wedges

For the broth, preheat the broiler on high. Place the onion and ginger on a foil-lined sheet pan and cook them until they are slightly charred, about 5 minutes per side. Rinse with water.

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, toast the cinnamon, anise and coriander for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the stock, soy sauce, carrots and charred onion & ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Strain the broth.

While the broth is cooking, make the rice noodles according to package instructions.

To serve, divide the broth, noodles and toppings between 2 bowls.