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Monday, January 3, 2011

Vegetarian Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)

When I discovered vegetarian pho I was so delighted – typically pho is a beef-based dish so when I went vegetarian I thought pho might have left my life for good. But then I discovered it in my favorite Vietnamese restaurant. And I was so excited that is was as delicious as it was that I started looking for recipes for this fantastic “long life” soup. This one is packed with subtle, sophisticated flavors and will be part of my regular repertoire for a long time to come. And, of course, it’s husband tested, husband approved. Super yum!

Vegetarian Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)

"The national soup of Vietnam is a bowl of rice noodles, fresh herbs, and bean sprouts swimming in a fragrant broth."

6 C low-sodium vegetable broth
3 large shallots, sliced (1 cup)
1/2 C dried shiitake mushrooms
10 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 T low-sodium soy sauce (tamari, for gluten-free)
12 1/4-inch-thick coins fresh ginger
1 T agave nectar
1 T rice wine vinegar (I use ½ T rice vinegar; ½ T rice wine – for alcohol-free, use rice vinegar)
1 t ground black pepper
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
5–6 fresh basil stems, leaves reserved for soup
5–6 cilantro stems, leaves reserved for soup

1 8-oz. pkg. gluten-free rice noodles
1 8-oz. pkg. Asian-flavor baked tofu, thinly sliced (I use regular fried tofu from an Asian store)
2 C soybean sprouts
2 C bean sprouts
4 green onions, sliced (1/2 cup)
1/4 C chopped cilantro
1 C fresh basil leaves
1 lime, cut into wedges

Broth: Place all ingredients in large pot with 8 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 1 hour. Strain broth, and return to pot. Discard solids.

Pho: Cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Divide among 6 large soup bowls. Ladle Broth over noodles, and top with tofu, sprouts, watercress, and green onions. Serve cilantro, basil, and lime wedges on the side to be stirred into soup.

Nutritional Per Serving: Calories: 290, Protein: 16g, Total fat: 5.5g, Saturated fat: 1g, Carbs: 42g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 578mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 5g

Adapted from a recipe on vegetariantimes.com from Vegetarian Times Issue: January 1, 2008

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