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Keep Calm and Put the Pho On!

I hope many of you who celebrated Halloween yesterday had a safe and happy Halloween yesterday.

Windy days, causing leaves to spiral about on highways and roadways. Rainy days and misty mornings. A silver crescent moon shining through the blinds at night. Autumn is here, and so is blanket and boots weather. It’s time to make for decadent, velvety smooth soups to some of my favorites.

I hope everyone who celebrated Halloween had a safe and happy one, nonetheless. Halloween night is no different. It’s a night that calls for something comforting, but for our household  and with the temperatures starting to dip threatening our immune systems, that calls for an increase in greens and spices. Enter pho. 

The magic of pho is in the broth and the mushrooms. Pho is essential like a broth bowl but it’s not bone broth. It’s instead stock comprised of garlic, onions and a medley of Asian spices to create a robust flavor. True pho can take hours to cook. Like how the Italians gush over tomato sauce from scratch, the Vietnamese take pride in their broth. 

I can only imagine an small, but mighty Vietnamese woman stirring a pot of broth in her kitchen all afternoon that her grandchildren and family are fortunate to come close to the beautiful aroma and taste of it. Actually, I’m sure you can come close yourself if you live in or near a major city. 

The rest of us get to live vicariously in the Instagram photos.

No, seriously. How do you make it pretty like that? Realistically, most of us don’t have time to toil over broth or make art out of our suppers, but what if I told you you can have both in just 45 minutes?  

“Sounds like a miracle. Where do I sign up with my check for $79.99?” the critics will say.

Just. keep. reading. And sign your snark at the bottom line and put it away, please. That’s all! Thank you. 

Once the broth and mushrooms are prepared which can be made in advance, you just have to chop up your toppings and decorate them. As for toppings, think immune boosters. Herbs like cilantro to greens like bok choy and bean sprouts. Chopped tofu works well if you are not sensitive to soy. You are essentially creating a broth to sip if you were ill, but it’s mad tastier and less boring than lying on your bed sipping just broth. The flavors are robust and packed with so much flavor that it feels like a real meal that’s allergen friendly too!  My recipe doesn’t include soy, gluten, nuts or eggs. I also tried to include toppings in my broth that were relatively inexpensive too.  

Vegan Pho  (soy free, gluten free, nut free, olive oil free)

Serving for 4 (if less than four, the broth and mushrooms can easily be frozen for another time. If more than four, double or triple this recipe.)

2 containers of organic vegetable broth (I used Pacific here. I believe Swanson’s is the only brand that contains wheat at this time.)

1 medium Vidalia onion, quartered

6 cloves of garlic (We’re not shy about our garlic count here.) 

1 tbsp Chinese 5 Spice 

1 tbsp Allspice 

1 tbsp ginger, fresh or ground 

1 tbsp cinnamon 

Soy Sauce, to taste 

1 package of rice noodles 

For the mushroom sauce

1 package of cremini or baby Bella mushrooms, some sliced some not. 

2 tbsp of soy sauce 

sea salt and pepper 

1 tbsp of vegan butter (can be substituted with organic extra virgin coconut oil)

For the toppings 

1 tbsp of Thai basil or basil 

1 tbsp of cilantro 

2 cups of bok choy, chopped 

2 cups of organic kale, chopped 

1 bunch of scallions, chopped at the dark green ends

sesame seeds, optional 

Sriacha, optional 
Method 

Boil rice noodles according to package direction and drain. Easy enough.

Melt butter or coconut oil (I used both in this recipe) into a pan. Once simmering, add in mushrooms, sea salt, pepper and soy sauce. Stir until well coated and cook for several minutes. Set aside. 

Make your broth. Add in your vegetable broth. Once simmering, add in the onions and garlic. Cook for several minutes. Next, add in the spices. Give it a few several hearty stirs. It’s a big pot of LOVE! for LOVE! after all. Cover and cook for thirty minutes. Let it do it’s thing. 

Is this it, you’ll wonder? You will not feel as if you’re toiling. You will feel as if there is more to this. Me too, me too.  

Trust yourself and the process. Prepare your toppings. Or if you don’t want to do that… Read a book. Get back to your knitting. Play with the kitten or the puppy. 

Once thirty minutes is up, it’s almost ready!  If serving immediately, it’s time to assemble your bowls. And trust me, this isn’t as hard as it looks. 
Follow the pictures. (As a visual learner, this usually helps me too! 😊)

First, add in your noodles. At least a cup per bowl. Unless you’re dining alone then feel free to be your own glutton for carby comfort! 

Add a little bit of the broth. A little bit goes a long way. 

This step requires a teensy amount of patience. Deep breath, grasshopper. You have this! Take a slotted spoon and carefully apply some of the mushrooms to one side of the bowl and they will float.

Gather your toppings. This is why it’s helpful to chop them all while the broth is cooking so you can just pick and add them to your bowl without any further time gone by. Just my thoughts.

That way… you’ll have this. 

How did this recipe turn out for you? What other toppings have you tried adding? Please leave a comment below or tag us on social media using #thehoneyandallspiceblog. Thank you!! 

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