• This vegetarian pho uses Vegemite in its broth. (Georgia McDermott)

Pho made with Vegemite might sound slightly terrifying, but the spread we know and love actually provides the perfect salty base for a delicious, albeit not-your-average pho broth. #BringBackTheClassics






Skill level

Average: 3.9 (40 votes)

This dish can be made vegetarian/vegan if you omit the fish sauce, and gluten free if you use a gluten free Vegemite alternative – a number of which are readily available at the supermarket. Vietnamese mint and Thai basil can be found at your local Asian supermarket, and are well worth the effort. You can substitute regular mint at a push. 


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 200 g carrot, roughly chopped
  • 200 g fennel, roughly chopped
  • 100 g Shitake mushrooms
  • 1 onion
  • 30 g ginger, roughly sliced
  • 1½ tbsp Vegemite (use a gluten-free alternative for a gluten-free option)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 5-7 star anise
  • 4 cinnamon quills
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 tsp fish sauce (omit for a vegetarian/vegan option)
  • 3-4 slices of chilli, for the broth
  • 1 bunch Thai basil (see Notes)
  • 1 bunch Vietnamese mint (see Notes)
  • 3 litres (12 cups) of water  
  • 300 g rice noodles
  • 1 250 g block of tofu or tempeh
  • 1-2 tbsp Tamari (see Notes)
  • 1 bunch Asian greens (Bok choi or Pak choi work well)
  • lime wedges, to serve
  • chilli slices, to serve 

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Heat the vegetable oil over a medium-high heat in a large pot.  

Add the fennel, carrot, shitake mushrooms, ginger, onion and spices, and fry, stirring constantly, until they begin to brown and char. Add the Vegemite, and toss the vegetables to coat them evenly.

Add the 3 litres of water to the pot, as well as half the Vietnamese mint and Thai basil, if you want a strong herbaceous flavour. If not, reserve the herbs for garnishing.

Add the coconut sugar, chilli, and fish sauce, if you are using it, and lower the heat to medium. Add additional salt if necessary. Place the lid on, and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

While the broth is simmering, prepare the noodles as per the instructions on the packet.

Next, spray a non-stick pan with a bit of oil, and cook the tofu or tempeh in the Tamari. Set aside.

Rinse the pan, and gently blanch the greens in some water over a medium heat.

To serve, divide the noodles into four bowls, and pour the broth evenly over each bowl. Layer the noodles with tofu or tempeh, Asian greens, extra chilli, the remaining Thai basil, Vietnamese mint, and a slice of lime. Serve immediately. 


• Vietnamese mint and Thai basil can be found at your local Asian grocery, and often local farmers markets, if you have one nearby.

• Tamari is a gluten free substitute for soy sauce, which you can use in it’s place, if you do not need the dish to be gluten free. 


Photography, styling and food preparation by Georgia McDermott.

Feeling nostalgic? We want you! For the month of November, SBS Food is asking food lovers far and wide to get creative by putting a multicultural twist or your creative spin on an Australian classic... Welcome to #BringBackTheClassics - enter now!