Traditional Vietnamese pho uses rice noodles to soak up the flavorful broth, but this plant-based remix substitutes tender strands of spaghetti squash for a veggie-forward version that’s equally delicious. Shiitake mushrooms and warming spices add a rich depth of flavor to the soup while soy-marinated tofu slabs add substance to the lightness of this dish. Top each bowl with a colorful assortment of garnishes such as edamame, carrots, radishes, and scallions for the full-on pho experience!

By Nancy Macklin, RDN,


  • 1 medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise
  • 1 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 3-inch piece fresh turmeric, peeled and sliced
  • 4 leaves Thai basil, plus additional for garnish
  • 6 cloves garlic, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 heads baby bok choy, sliced (8 oz.)
  • 4 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • ½ of a 12-oz. package extra-firm silken tofu, cut into four ¼-inch-thick slabs
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy or tamari sauce
  • 1 cup shelled edamame, steamed
  • 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
  • ½ cup slivered radishes
  • ½ cup slivered scallions
  • Lime wedges
  • Sriracha sauce (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)


  • Scoop seeds out of spaghetti squash. Place, cut sides down, in a 2-quart square baking dish. (Squash halves will overlap slightly.) Microwave 5 to 8 minutes or until starting to soften. (Squash will not be fully tender at this point.) Cool until easy to handle. Use a fork to scrape pulp into a 4- to 6-quart pot.
  • Place ginger, turmeric, basil, garlic, and peppercorns on a double-thick 8-inch square of 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth. Bring up corners and tie closed with 100-percent-cotton kitchen string. Add to pot with broth and 2 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 20 minutes, adding bok choy and mushrooms the last 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium- high. Toss tofu slabs with soy sauce. Sear tofu in hot skillet 2 minutes per side or until browned and crisp on edges.
  • Remove and discard seasoning bag from pot, squeezing with tongs to remove liquid.
  • Serve squash mixture in bowls topped with tofu, edamame, carrots, radishes, scallions, and additional Thai basil. Serve with lime wedges and, if desired, sriracha sauce and cracked black pepper.

Comments (7)

(5 from 8 votes)

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L Smith

Please add the nutritional information e.g., Sodium, potassium, etc.


I made this last night. Didn’t have radishes so I thinly sliced some leeks, all parts - green and white. Used regular basil and the veggie broth I make with scraps. Needed 2 extra cups of broth, probably because I load up on veggies. I slightly heated carrots in the microwave and defrosted edamame there too. Note to chef, my silken tofu is too soft to stay in a thick slice form. That didn’t matter though. Next time I’ll use firm or even extra firm. I cooked the tofu in low sodium tamari with onion and garlic powder and some white sesame seeds. I didn’t have cheese cloth so used two coffee filters for ginger, turmeric, garlic and basil. I opened them after cooking and reserved the turmeric and ginger for tea and the garlic cloves to spread on my home baked whole wheat bread. This was delicious, I will definitely make this again. I LOVE cooking this food. Since I’m not using oil or animal products cleanup is a breeze!


This is delicious! Thank you!


Eating the leftovers tonight. Even better on night two! ❤️

Rhanda Kramer

I have not made this yet, but I have a question: if the pope of the spaghetti squash is not fully cooked, will it still be stringy enough to resemble noodles?

Francis Curry

Went heavy with the ingredients in the spice cloth. Baked the squash instead of microwave. Used regular basil instead of thai basil. This is one great pho. Will be repeating.

Super Shaz

Okay so I didn't have all the ingredients listed (the edamame, the shitake or the turmeric root) so I made some substitutions. Instead of edamame, I used bean shoots, I also used regular crimini mushrooms and gave a good shake of turmeric powder into the spice mix. Didn't have cotton or string either, so just scooped the bits out before adding the veggies. It turned out pretty well, the only additional thing I added was a splash of fish sauce (I know, I know, not plant-based) but it gave it a wee bit more dimension. The only suggestion I would make is to maybe increase the amount of liquid - maybe 3 cups stock and 3 of water. I think the ratio of broth/vegetables might be better this way. I was a hungry girl and ate half of my recipe in one go. Consoled myself with the fact that it was basically water and veg so didn't feel bad about it.

About the Author

Headshot of Nancy Macklin

About the Author

Nancy Macklin, RDN

Nancy Macklin has a bachelor of science in dietetics from Iowa State University and a Master of Science in health services administration from the University of Saint Francis. Macklin worked as a hospital-based clinical dietitian, providing counseling for diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss and as a food service director in health care dining sites. She now serves as a test kitchen dietitian, developing 500+ recipes per year. She is a member of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics and International Association of Culinary Professionals. Find her on LinkedIn.
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