Vegan Pho

Hello!

Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a Vietnamese noodle soup that is based on a slow cooked, intensely flavorful beef broth. Traditionally it includes beef and noodles and is topped with all sorts of fresh accompaniments like cilantro, scallions, hot peppers and lime wedges.

Given this soup is so connected to its beefy roots, it is hard to imagine a vegan version would work. However, I think the lack of beef lets the other flavors shine through. It is still quite complex and I find it very comforting (perfect as we approach the winter months). If you want to increase the flavor even more, try charring the garlic and scallion greens under the broiler before adding them to the broth.

I lightly adapted this recipe from The Year in Food and I hope you tinker with it and make it your own, too. I have made this with brown rice instead of noodles when I didn’t have any on hand and it was just as good. And use whatever veggies you have on hand – carrots, kohlrabi, pak choi all come to mind.

Enjoy!

Vegan Pho
makes 2-3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 to 3 star anise pods or 1 teaspoon fennel seeds 
  • 2 black cardamom pods (optional)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce, or more to taste
  • 1 – 3-inch knob of fresh ginger, smashed with the back of a knife
  • 3 small scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 ounces brown rice noodles or pasta or choice
  • 8 ounces firm tofu, pressed, drained and cubed
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped sturdy winter greens, such as arugula, kale or mustard greens
  • Lime wedges, cilantro and/or mint, thinly sliced hot peppers or Sriracha for serving

Directions:

  • In a large stock pot over medium heat, toast the dry spices until fragrant, stirring often, about 3-4 minutes. Add the stock, soy sauce, ginger, green parts of the scallions, garlic and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes.
  • While the broth simmers, bring a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. Cook until just barely al dente – if they’re slightly undercooked, it’s okay. Drain and set aside, covered, until ready.
  • Strain the broth, removing all solids, and return to the stock pot. Add the tofu and simmer for a few minutes to allow the tofu to absorb the broth’s flavor. Add the broccoli florets and the sturdy winter greens and cook for a few minutes, or until slightly softened and wilted. Remove from heat.
  • Divide the noodles among two or three bowls. Ladle the soup over each. Garnish with any of the items listed above. Serve immediately.

“Cheesy” Collard Green Chips

Hello!

I have gotten into a collard green rut lately. I always seem to turn to my pressure cooker – with just a little onion, sugar and vinegar, and just 8 minutes, it transforms collard greens into something delightful. It will always be my go-to way to prepare collards but I needed a different option.

I was intrigued by this recipe for Spicy Parmesan Collard Chips as I thought the flavors would go well together. However, I was out of Parmesan (which is almost punishable in my house!) so I had to find another option. That is when I turned to nutritional yeast. If you aren’t familiar, nutritional yeast is a vegan cheese substitute known for savory qualities. I use it on popcorn (so, so good) and mixed with soy sauce on fried tofu but this combination is just as good, if not better. I dare you not to eat them all in one sitting.

Enjoy!

“Cheesy” Collard Green Chips
makes 2-4 servings 

Recipe note: if you like spicy food, add a few pinches of cayenne pepper.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound collard greens, stems removed, leaves cut into rough 2″ pieces

Directions:

  • Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil and set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients except collard greens until well combined. Add collard greens and toss until well coated. Arrange on the baking sheets in one layer (slight overlap is ok). Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating sheet pans half-way through baking, or until collards are crispy (start checking for doneness after 12 minutes and then every 2 or 3 minutes afterwards). Serve immediately.

Mustard Greens Soup with Poblanos and Almonds

Hello,

The combination of mustard greens, poblanos and almonds may seem like a strange mix at first but I urge you to give it a try. The toasty, roasty almonds and poblanos provide depth whereas the greens compliment with a bright, fresh flavor.

This recipe is lightly adapted from this one by Rick Bayless. He doesn’t puree all of the soup as I recommend below, but instead leaves about half of the ingredients roughly chopped and mixed into the rest. I like to puree all of the soup for simplicity and then get some textural contrast from the garnishes.

Enjoy!

Mustard Greens Soup with Poblano and Almonds
makes about 6 cups / 4-6 servings

Recipe note: you can use other greens in place of mustard greens – arugula, kale, collards, Swiss chard or even chickweed, dead nettle or henbit.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup slivered almonds, plus a few extra for garnish if you wish
  • medium fresh poblano chiles
  • medium (about 1/2 pound) Yukon Gold potato, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • bunch (about 8 ounces) mustard greens, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups vegetable stock or water, plus a little more if needed
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Garnishes: I suggest a mix of something fatty (diced hard-boiled eggs, avocado) plus something crunchy (tortilla chips, extra almonds) but you could also use diced tofu, mushrooms, chicken or shrimp.

Directions:

  • Toast almonds in a 12″ traditional skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly brown, about 4-6 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Adjust oven rack to the upper third of the oven and heat the broiler on high. Remove the stem end and seeds from the poblanos and cut into quarters lengthwise (you may need to cut them into smaller pieces to ensure they lay flat). Place on a foil lined sheet pan and broil until the skin is black and blistered, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool and peel skin from the peppers. Add to a blender jar and set aside.
  • Bring a large saucepan of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the almonds, potatoes, and garlic and boil for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add the mustard greens and cook until wilted but still bright green, about 1-2 minutes longer. Using a slotted spoon, scoop almonds, potatoes, garlic and greens into a blender jar and set aside.
  • Add 2-1/2 cups of stock or water, salt and lime juice to the blender and puree on high until completely smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add more stock or water to reach desire consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  • If you plan to serve immediately, transfer to an empty saucepan and heat gently over medium-low until warm. Top with garnish of choice and serve.