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Why This Recipe Works

Pho is perhaps the best-recognized rice noodle soup from Southeast Asia where all the effort is put into building a richly flavored broth that is poured over rice noodles and thinly sliced beef or chicken and then topped with an abundance of fresh herbs and bean sprouts. Creating this soup in a slow cooker certainly presented challenges, and we were after a vegetarian version that was flavorful and satisfying. To produce a broth with the flavor and complexity of the real deal in a slow cooker, we knew we had to create a flavorful base. To a combination of vegetable broth and water we added dried porcini for beefy flavor, onion, garlic, soy sauce, lemon grass, star anise, and cloves to bring complex spice notes. For substance and meaty texture, we added portobellos, which can hold up to the long simmering time in the slow cooker and impart their earthy flavor. For our noodles we preferred classic rice noodles and added them to the soup at the end of the cooking time, turning the temperature to high for 10 to 20 minutes. The must-have garnishes—bean sprouts for crunch, basil (preferably Thai basil, though Italian basil will work), lime wedges, and additional soy sauce—balanced the straightforward meatiness and mellow sweetness of the broth with heat, acidity, and freshness.

Ingredients

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1 onion, chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, minced
¼ ounce dried porcini mushroom, rinsed and minced
1 teaspoon canola oil
6 cups water
4 cups vegetable broth
1 pound portobello mushroom caps, gills removed, caps halved and sliced thin
3 stalks lemon grass, trimmed to bottom 6 inches and bruised with back of knife
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce, plus extra for seasoning
4 star anise pods
2 whole cloves
6 ounces (1/4-inch-wide) rice noodles
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce, plus extra for seasoning
Salt and pepper
2 ounces (1 cup) bean sprouts
½ cup fresh Thai basil leaves
Lime wedges
Nutritional Information

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Per Serving (Serves 6)

  • Calories 173
  • Cholesterol 0g
  • Fat 1 g
  • Sodium 1291 mg
  • Saturated 0 g
  • Carbs 34 g
  • Trans 0 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2 g
  • Monounsaturated 0 g
  • Sugar 3 g
  • Polyunsaturated 0 g
  • Protein 6 g

The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Instructions

Serves 6

Using 1/4-inch-wide rice noodles is important for the success of this soup; do not substitute other types of noodles. Be sure not to overcook the rice noodles or else they will become mushy.

1. Microwave onion, garlic, porcini mushrooms, and oil in bowl, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker. Stir in water, broth, portobello mushrooms, lemon grass, soy sauce, star anise, and cloves. Cover and cook until portobello mushrooms are tender, 4 to 6 hours on low or 3 to 5 hours on high.

2. Stir noodles into soup, cover, and cook on high until tender, 10 to 20 minutes. Discard lemon grass, star anise, and cloves. Stir in Sriracha and season with salt, pepper, extra soy sauce, and extra Sriracha to taste. Top individual portions with bean sprouts and basil and serve with lime wedges.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.