Recipe: Phở Chay – Vegetarian PHO

Phở Chay - Vegetarian PHO

By Helen Le Published: May 2, 2014

  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Ready In: 1 hr 20 mins

  • Yield: 4-6 Servings

If you are a vegetarian wishing to have a taste of Vietnamese cuisine, you've got to learn one word: CHAY. It means “vegetarian” in Vietnamese. This is the vegetarian version of the national Vietnamese dish PHO. It's called PHO CHAY.

  • Peel and cut the vegetables into pieces. Mince the white part of the leek and cut the rest in 3-inch lengths.
  • Fill a large stockpot with 4 liters (16 cups) water. Add the vegetables, rock sugar and sale. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer for 30 minutes.
  • To create the PHO aroma, grill all ingredients for PHO aroma directly on the stove (open flame). Then rinse under warm water and scrape of the charred bits. Insert these items into large tea bags (or wrap securely in a piece of cheese cloth) and add to the soup pot. Season to your taste with salt, and mushroom seasoning powder.
  • Combine the deep-fried tofu, tofu skin, an vegan beef slices in a large bowl and season with salt, sugar, mushroom seasoning powder and some five-spice powder. Do the same with the mushrooms.
  • Add vegan balls to the soup pot if any. Adjust the soup to your taste with salt, and mushroom seasoning powder.
  • Cook the noodles following package instructions. Then rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and remove the outside starch. AND rinse again under hot water. This helps the noodles to get dried faster (hot water evaporates quicker) and become more fluffy (rather than stick to each other and turn lumpy).
  • In a large serving bowl, place a handful of noodle to fill one third of the bowl. (You can quickly blanch the noodle before serving to make it warm). Top up with the toppings of your choice and garnish with some chopped sawtooth herbs. Ladle the hot soup over the noodles.
  • Served with a lime wedge, some sawtooth herbs and sweet basils. Optional: blanched bean sprouts, Sriracha or hoisin sauce, pickled garlic chili etc.

Post By Helen Le (291 Posts)

Since 2011 Helen has shared her Vietnamese home cooking video recipes on Youtube, helping viewers cook Vietnamese Food in the easiest, fastest and most authentic way possible. Subscribe to receive her newest videos for FREE:

Website: → Danang Cuisine


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5 comments on “Recipe: Phở Chay – Vegetarian PHO

Paul Jove

beautiful, thank you……..i’m excited to try this at home from scratch upon just returning from Vietnam 🙂


This was the best pho chay I have made to date. My family was so happy to have this. I have not been able to make a good pho since going vegan. Now I can satisfy our pho cravings!


I would not recipe this vegetarian pho recipe. I made it exactly as described and no one liked it, not even me, which was disappointing because it took me over an hour to prepare. I am vegan and have tried so many variations of vegan and veggie pho- this was the WORST. Just trying to save someone the time of using this poorly written recipe, even the youtube video doesn’t match up to the ingredients.

    Zoe Glanville

    The Kale Sandwich show made a variation maybe check out their recipe on youtube.

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