Thanks to some real inspiration, this is what I’m making for John’s dinner tomorrow night.  Thought I’d share the recipe with you.

Vegetarian Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)

Serves 6

Broth
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 large shallots, sliced (1 cup)
  • ½ cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 3 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 12 ¼-inch-thick coins fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. 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

Pho

  • 1 8-oz. pkg. rice noodles
  • 1 8-oz. pkg. Asian-flavor baked tofu, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups soybean sprouts
  • 2 cups watercress
  • 4 green onions, sliced (½ cup)
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

1. To make 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.

2. To make 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.