A super flavorful broth, crispy tofu, herbs and banh pho; this Vegetarian take on Vietnamese Pho is super delicious. Plus it takes less than an hour thanks to the Instant Pot!
Have you ever tried Pho?? The super yummy Vietnamese broth FULL of flavor and served with a LOT of toppings? If you have tried this, you will know how good this on a cold windy evening. It is August yet but the evenings here in the Bay Area are getting chilly. All i am craving for is something like a broth based meal that is healthy, easy to make and full of flavor!
For those who do not know, Pho is a Vietnamese broth based soup. Pronounced as 'fuh', this is probably the MOST well known Vietnamese dish here in the US. It consists of a flavorful broth, rice noodles called banh pho, herbs and protein of your choice. It can be customized to be spicy using chilli flakes in the broth or as a topping. But don't fret; this tastes amazing even without the spice.
Traditionally Vietnamese Pho has some kind of meat in it and the broth takes HOURS of simmering time to extract the flavors. However, this recipe breaks away from both the ideas. It is a vegetarian recipe that has tofu as the protein and the broth is made quickly in the Instant Pot. Ready in under an hour, this Pho recipe can easily be customized to suit your tastes.
With the cold days not far away, I am already dreaming of bowls full of pho and other soups. If you are like me; you have to check out these Asian Soup recipes for the cold days:
- Asian Ginger Broth
- Sweet Corn Vegetable Soup
- Vegetable Dumpling Soup
- Vegetable Manchow Soup
- Thai Lemongrass Soup
Pho has been something that I have always been wanting to make at home. The only reason I pushed it out so much is because I hated to stand by the stove as the broth simmers to infuse the flavors. With the Instant Pot it was as easy as dump, saute and cook! The broth was just as flavorful as I have had at the Vietnamese restaurants here in the Bay Area.
The greatest contributor to the soup is the broth. Once you have the broth ready; the rest is just adding in your favorite toppings to make something that you would enjoy on a cold evening. So I would urge you to get the ingredients fresh and use them right away. That way the flavors come through really well and the soup is ALWAYS a hit!
I made the broth using spices just like they do in North Vietnam. Feel free to drop any spice you would not want in your soup. For the toppings I used what I see most in the restaurants. However, adding basil leaves, protein of your choice, shiitake mushrooms and edamame is an option. Tofu is generally not THE ingredient in Pho, but it works well in the vegetarian version.
The Instant Pot makes this recipe in NO time compared to the traditional method without compromising on the taste. If you are looking for more Instant Pot recipe, try one of these:
- 30-Minute Vegetable Biryani
- Matki Misal
- Peanut Tofu Curry with Rice
- Vegan Tofu Lettuce Wraps
- Spinach Artichoke Mac & Cheese
- Perfect 5 Minute Quinoa
- Simple Plain Yogurt
- Strawberry Chia Jam
Plus, follow my Pinterest board All Instant Pot recipes in ONE for more recipes from all the contributors. There are TONS of recipes on the board for you to try! Now, head straight to the recipe below!
For the Broth
Onion 1 medium, diced
Garlic 3-4 cloves, peeled
Ginger 2 inch piece, cubed
Lemongrass 2-3 stalks, tied together
Cinnamon 4-5 sticks
Star Anise 3-4
Coriander seeds 1 tsp
Sesame Oil/Vegetable Oil 2 tsp
Vegetable Broth 4 cups
Salt and Pepper as required
Five Spice Seasoning 1 tsp
For the toppings
Firm Tofu 14 oz
Corn Starch 1 tsp
Wide/thin Rice Noodles 1 cup
Bean Sprouts ½ cup
Jalapeño 1 sliced
Lemon slices 1-2
Mint Leaves a handful
Scallions 2-3 stalks
Salt 1 tsp
Pepper Powder 1 tsp
Chilli Oil/Vegetable Oil 2 tsp
Optional: Sriracha Sauce or hot sauce of your choice
To make the Tofu
Drain and press the tofu between a couple of kitchen towels. Once the water drains, cut the tofu into equal size cubes. Toss them in salt, pepper and corn starch. Mix well.
In a pan heat oil or chilli oil. Place the tofu pieces and let them brown. Turn them around to allow the tofu pieces to brown evenly on all sides.
Remove and set aside.
To make the Broth
Set the Instant Pot to 'Saute' mode and 'Normal'. Add oil and let it heat. Once the display reads 'HOT' add star anise, cloves, cinnamon and coriander seeds. Let them roast for a minute and then add garlic, ginger and onion.
Mix and let the onions and ginger char. Then add in the lemongrass, vegetable broth, salt, pepper and five spice powder.
Set the mode to 'Pressure Cook' and 'High Pressure'. Close the lid, set the valve to sealing and set time to 15 minutes. Once done, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then move the valve to venting.
Once the pressure is released, open the lid and use a fine mesh sieve to remove the solids from the broth.
To build the Pho
Cook the rice noodles as per the package instructions. Prepare all the vegetables as mentioned.
In a bowl add the broth. Top with rice noodles, tofu, jalapeño, mint leaves, scallions and lemon slices.
Add hot sauce or chilli oil of you like that. To enjoy, squeeze the lemon, mix everything together and enjoy!