Vegetarian Phở

Vegetarian Phở

Thought I'd try something with a whole new set of flavor profiles today, to warm up my bones after a chilly night of camping under the stars, and to rid myself of the last bits of a cold I've been nursing. Soup it is! More specifically: Phở!

Toasting the star anise, cloves, and peppercorns for a spiced, autumnal start to a recipe.

Toasting the star anise, cloves, and peppercorns for a spiced, autumnal start to a recipe.

The recipe comes from Love and Lemons, and is a simplified, vegetarian version that is decidedly a bit of a departure from classic recipes. 

To start, I toasted the star anise, cloves, and peppercorns in the bottom of my Dutch Oven, until my apartment smelled almost unbearably like Autumn; sweet and floral and spicy all in one. It was quite nice, though I know that anise can be polarizing (some of my relatives made a cold carrot-anise soup during a cooking class once that still gives them chills, in a bad way). With that in mind, I moved forward, chopping onions, mushroom stems, and garlic to add in and simmer.

After adding the onion, water, mushroom stems, and garlic... Here, my classic phrase applies: "It ain't pretty, but it's good."

After adding the onion, water, mushroom stems, and garlic... Here, my classic phrase applies: "It ain't pretty, but it's good."

After simmering, I strained out the ingredients, leaving behind only a nicely golden broth. Oh, how that broth would evolve...

Closer to its final form...

Closer to its final form...

Then, I added in the mushroom caps, scallions, Tamari and rice wine vinegar. Here is where the broth started to take on its richer color and a deeper, more savory umami scent. 

Then we added in the baby bok choy and edamame after giving it a good simmer.

The large periods of simmering that punctuated this recipe was a nice way to force me to take a Sunday break... 

After simmering the final ingredients, I ladled the soup over the rice noodles that I had prepared on the side. Quite the complete meal. Next, we garnished with lime, Thai basil, and a little bit of Sriracha sauce, and dug in.

The final product, in all its Sriracha-drizzled glory.

The final product, in all its Sriracha-drizzled glory.

This recipe was certainly spicier than I expected, even outside of the Sriracha on top. One note: In my true style, I forgot one ingredient in the basket at the store. Fresh ginger was just not in the cards for us today, but this vegetarian riff on a classic soup felt nourishing and helped clear out my head with some of the spice. Not a bad end to a weekend.

In case you thought we were done, here...

In case you thought we were done, here...

For dessert, we picked up a dragonfruit -- my first time scooping one! After splitting it in half, we scooped it like a big, fleshy, white kiwifruit and dug in. Mild and sweet, it helped cool me down after going a little overboard with everyone's favorite chili sauce.