Now that the 100 degrees days are just a memory and it’s dark before clocking out of work for the day, it’s time for booties, sweaters, scarves and food to warm up with.  Autumn might be a faux season in Texas but a big bowl of pho can help you pretend other wise.


One of the biggest challenges of being vegetarian or vegan is that most restaurants use a beef broth base for their Pho leaving us disappointed and seeking other options.  Rejoice!  There is now an answer for vegetarians and vegans wanting to get their Pho on.  Family owned Vietnamese restaurant PhoNatic has your non animal eating taste buds covered.  Established in 2011 and now spread over town with 5 locations, they are one of the only establishments in Austin to use a vegetable broth for their veggie and vegan pho, Pho Chay.  


Swimming in the homemade vegetable broth is crispy tofu, mushrooms, bok choy, broccoli and more topped with fried shallots. It’s an easy way to get all your veggies in for the day, stay full and most likely have leftovers for a meatless Tuesday.  The tofu spring rolls pair great with this as a starter.   Want to try and make it at home? Chef Pat Lee has provided his recipe. Bon Appetit!



For the Broth

  •         2.5 quarts vegetable broth
  •         1 med yellow onion
  •         1 (3inch) piece of ginger
  •         2 whole cloves
  •         1 (2-3 inch) stick of cinnamon
  •         1 teaspoon whole coriander
  •         3 star anise
  •         1 teaspoon mushroom seasoning powder
  •         1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Pho Bowl

  •         24oz fresh/frozen “Banh Pho” noodles
  •         1 cup straw mushrooms
  •         1 cup fresh oyster mushrooms
  •         1 cup fresh shitake mushrooms
  •         1 cup sugar snap peas
  •         2 cups broccoli
  •         2 large pieces of baby bok choy cut into fours
  •         1 pack medium hard tofu cubed
  •         1 cup sliced cilantro
  •         ½ cup sliced green onions
  •         1 cup sliced red onions

Garnishes and Sauces        

  •         Beansprouts
  •         Basil
  •         Limes
  •         Sliced Jalapenos
  •         Hoisin Sauce
  •         Sriracha Chili Sauce


  1. In a small wok or fry pan, roast cloves, cinnamon, coriander, star anise over medium heat until fragrant. About 5 minutes total. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, tie all toasted spices in a tea bag or cheesecloth. Place ginger and onion over open flame and char with tongs until both are soft to the touch. About 8 minutes over low heat.
  1.    Bring vegetable broth to a boil, add spice pack, onion and ginger to broth, reduce heat to med low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add kosher salt and mushroom seasoning. Taste and add addition salt if needed. Simmer for another 5 to minutes.
  2.    Remove spice pack, onion, and ginger with a strainer. Strain any loose particles that may be left in pho broth.
  3.    Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  4.    To assemble bowls, take a fist full of noodles and put into boiling water for about 10 seconds. Remove, drain, and pour banh pho noodles into a large bowl.
  5.    Ladle pho broth into bowl until all of the contents are submerged. Top with green onions, red onions, and cilantro.
  6.    Add beansprouts, basil, jalapenos, limes, hoisin sauce and sriracha chili sauce to your liking. Voila, you now have a delicious, steamy bowl of veggie pho. Quick and easy. Enjoy!