Slow Cooker Tofu Pho
with carrots / bok choy
The key to delicious Vietnamese pho is the fragrant broth that comes from simmering aromatics and spices low and slow, which makes this a great recipe to adapt to the slow cooker. The spices listed are a bit unusual, but will give the broth the most flavor. Even if you don't have all of the spices, you'll get some of the same flavors (and more) by adding Hoisin sauce at the end of cooking, so feel free to add some extra Hoisin if you'd like.
Smarts: This recipe could be made in the Instant Pot. For tips, join the Cook Smarts Instant Pot Facebook Group.
- Tofu, extra-firm - 16 oz, 1/2" / 1.3 cm cubes (vacuum-packed preferable)
- Onions, medium white - 1/2, diced
- Carrots - 8 oz, sliced
- Star anise - 4
- Cinnamon sticks - 3
- Cloves - 4
- Cheesecloth - for spices (optional; no need to buy it if you don’t already have it)
- Baby bok choy - 10 oz, halved and chopped (sub regular bok choy)
- Stock, any type - 8 cups
- Mushrooms, dried shiitakes - 1 oz
- Cilantro leaves (opt) - 1/2 cup
- Limes - 1, wedges
- Noodles, rice vermicelli - 6 oz
- Hoisin sauce - 1 Tbsp (plus more, for serving)
- Soy sauce, low-sodium - 2 tsp
- Bean sprouts (opt) - 1 cup
- Sriracha (opt) - for serving
- Tofu - If tofu is packaged in water, press out liquid first, like in this video. Then slice into 1/2” / 1.3 cm thick cubes. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Onions / Carrots - Prep as directed and combine. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Spices - If you have cheesecloth, wrap the star anise, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in cheesecloth and tie the top tightly. (If you don’t have cheesecloth, you can add the spices directly to the soup and just remove them after cooking.) (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Bok choy - Halve and chop bok choy. (Can be done up to 2 days ahead)
- Slow-cook pho - Combine stock, tofu, dried shiitakes, spices, onions, and carrots in the bowl of a slow cooker. Cook on low for 5 to 7 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours. (Can be done up to 2 days ahead)
- Cilantro / Limes - Prep as directed.
- When you’re nearly ready to serve the soup, cook noodles according to package directions.
- While noodles are cooking, remove spices from the slow cooker and discard.
- To the slow cooker, add hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and bok choy. Put the lid back on the slow cooker and turn it up to high. Continue cooking, covered, until bok choy is tender, 4 to 10 minutes more. (Note: Baby bok choy will cook on the lower end of the time while regular bok choy will take longer.)
- Squeeze half the lime wedges into the soup and season with some salt, if needed.
- Divide noodles between serving bowls. Ladle soup over noodles. Set out remaining lime wedges, cilantro, bean sprouts, hoisin sauce, and Sriracha to use for customizing the bowls. Enjoy!
I am so in love with pho. I kinda wished I'd had less stuff in the bowl and a whole bunch more of that delicious broth. (Not a critique of the other stuff; I just really love the broth.) Substituted Gardein beefless tips, which kept a great consistency in this soup.0 Helpful
This tasted alright, but it was not one of our favorites. I also would not recommend reheating this soup.0 Helpful
Loved it. Tasted as good as a restaurant to me.0 Helpful
Although it tasted good the rice noodles were not great at all. Very hard to manage their consistency in the dish.0 Helpful
My son has been eating pho in Vietnamese restaurants since the 1980's. He started out in a restaurant where the employees didn't speak English and had mostly Vietnamese customers. As soon as he walked in, they'd set a bowl of Pho and a Pepsi in front of him. He LOVES pho and knows good pho when he has it. He prefers beef pho but when I asked him about this recipe, he said that I could open my own restaurant with it. That's high praise coming from him. I didn't like it. I've never liked pho.0 Helpful
I made this in the Instant Pot with a few substitutions, and it worked great. First, I put one frozen chicken breast in with the broth, onion, 1/4 tsp ground fennel seed (no anise at home), 1/8 tsp cinnamon (no cinnamon sticks at home), a pinch of nutmeg (no cloves at home), a pinch of black pepper. Set to "Pressure Cook" for 12 minutes, when that finished I added bok choy, 2 restaurant packets of soy sauce, and a whole pack of vermicelli rice noodles, some jalapeno slices, gave it all a good stir, and set to "Steam" for 1-2 minutes. Stirred in the juice of half a lime when everything was steamed. That was it. So good and so easy! Sometimes I just like the inspiration even if I don't have the patience to do the exact spices or follow directions...0 Helpful