Skin Plumping Vegan Pho Recipe

A soothing, warming and nourishing soup is such a treat and takes the bite out of chilli winter nights. This recipe ticks all boxes, and is a staple dinner for me! You will want to make this one over and over again.

As a naturopath I often come across patients who are unable to tolerate bone broth due to high amines which are created when bones/meat are cooked for a long period of time or due to their choice of being vegan. This prompted me to create a vegan pho recipe which was rich in flavour as well as collagen boosting nutrients in addition to being low on the Glycaemic Index scale. The vegetable broth has a beautiful sweet overtone from the cinnamon and star anise, which when combined with the texture of the shitake and saltiness of the tempeh becomes a sensual delight.

The skin plumping properties of this pho recipe come from a few of the key ingredients which I describe briefly below. If you are going to alter this recipe be sure to keep these skin loving foods in the soup!

  • Tempeh Fermented soy products (such as natto and tempeh) are not tarnished with the same brush as their non-fermented soy counterparts. This is because fermentation changes the structure of soy such that its nutrient and anti-oxidant value is enhanced, and nutrient blocking minerals such as phytic acid are reduced. The presence of genestein, a natural plant hormone in tempeh enhances the production of collagen which gives skin its strength and elasticity.
  • Cabbage Cabbage is one of the most well known foods containing collagen boosting nutrients.  The presence of antioxidants and phytonutrients like lutenin, thiocyanates, zeaxanthin and sulforaphane boost skin hydration and elasticity.
  • Carrots Carrots and all root vegetables are a wonderful source of beta carotene, the precursor to Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to increase collagen production and slows the breakdown of collagen and elastin that causes skin ageing.
  • Red Capsicum Red capsicum is rich in vitamin C which is critical for the synthesis of collagen.

Serves 4 to 6


  • 6 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 onions, peeled and halved
  • 4-5 whole carrots, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peel on and smashed
  • 2-3 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos or tamari


  • 1 cup tempeh, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 cup sautéed shitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 leek finely chopped
  • 500 grams zucchini, spiralised or 1 packet of Shiritaki noodles
  • 1/2 red capsicum, julienned
  • 1/2 Chinese cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 4 shallots, chopped finely
  • ½ cup chopped coriander
  • ½ cup Thai basil leaves


      1. In a large stock pot, add in vegetable broth, onion, carrots, garlic cloves, cinnamon sticks and coconut aminos (or tamari).
      2. Bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and let broth simmer for 30 minutes.
      3. Prepare your toppings. Sauté the leek, mushrooms and tempeh in a small amount of oil and season with tamari, coconut aminos or just Himalayan salt.
      4. Roughly chop the fresh herbs.
      5. If using shirataki noodles, place in hot water according to packet instructions. If using zucchini, place zucchini into sprialiser and spiralise into noodles. Set aside.
      6. Strain the broth and discard the solids. Return the broth to the stove to keep warm.
      7. In four soup bowls, prepare each serving by adding in zucchini (or shirataki) noodles to the bottom.
      8. Top with pho broth and add in tempeh/mushroom mix.
      9. Top each bowl with desired amount of herbs, vegetables, and coconut aminos or tamari and roasted cashews or peanuts  (optional).
      10. Serve immediately.


      Anna Mitsios

      Adv. Dip. Naturopathy. Adv. Dip. Nutrition. B.Com (Honours)

      Anna’s career began in the corporate sector, where she specialised in corporate finance and private banking for over ten years working in Sydney and New York for a large Australian bank. Anna’s career change was sparked by her own health journey, following a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes at 18 years of age. Her diagnosis triggered her intense study of botanicals and nutrition to manage auto-immune condition and assist others in attaining optimal health. Anna has been involved in the pursuit of herbal medicine and nutrition for over 15 years, with a focus on fertility, women’s and chidlren’s health. Anna’s naturopathy career has included working as a naturopath within a reputable natural fertility clinic in Sydney, within a pharmacy and health food store and running her own naturopathy practice. Anna is committed to creating products founded on naturopathic philosophies, using wildcrafted and exotic ingredients and encouraging her clients and people who use her skincare to nourish their skin, from the inside-out.

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