Pumpkin Pho

Menu PartSoup
Cuisine TypeAsian
Pumpkin Pho

Chef Dusty Cooper

Johns Hopkins Health Systems


Build-your-own pho stations are springing up in college dining, allowing students to customize this on-trend Vietnamese meal in a bowl. In her previous position at University of California, Santa Barbara, chef Dusty Cooper developed this vegan version of the soup, using a fragrant ginger-hoisin broth as the base and adding rice noodles, fresh pumpkin and shiitake mushrooms. Customers can choose from an array of garnishes, including Thai basil, red onion slivers, jalapeno pepper slices and bean sprouts.


Ginger-hoisin broth

4 pieces (2 inches each) fresh ginger, cut in half and charred over open flame

12 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

8 whole cloves

4 small cinnamon sticks

3 tbsp. coriander seeds, toasted

4 tsp. fennel seeds

4 white onions, cut in half and charred over open flame

8 cups peeled and diced fresh pumpkin

12 shiitake mushroom stems (reserve caps for pho preparation)

¼ cup hoisin sauce

3 tbsp. lower sodium gluten-free tamari soy sauce

Pumpkin pho

2 lb. rice noodles, cooked

2 2/3 cups peeled and cubed fresh pumpkin

12 shiitake mushroom caps

4 tsp. vegetable oil

Salt and pepper to taste


2 cups bean sprouts

30 leaves Thai basil, stems removed

1 cup julienne red onion

¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves

¼ cup thinly sliced, seeded red jalapeno pepper

4 lime wedges

Hoisin sauce and tamari, as needed


1. For broth: Create a sachet containing charred ginger, garlic, cloves, cinnamon sticks, coriander and fennel seeds. Place in large pot with 12 cups water, charred onions, pumpkin and shiitake stems. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and reduce liquid by one-third.

2. Remove sachet and onions. Stir hoisin and tamari into broth in pot. With immersion blender, puree mixture until smooth. Strain if desired. Season to taste and set aside.

3. For pho: Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss pumpkin and shiitake caps with oil; season with salt and pepper. Spread on baking sheet and roast 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender and starting to color at edges. Remove from oven and set aside.

3. Per order, in bow, place 8 ounces cooked noodles; ladle over 2 cups broth. Top with 2/3 cup warm roasted pumpkin and shiitakes. Garnish with bean sprouts, basil leaves, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno peppers and lime wedge. Serve with additional hoisin and tamari.

Photograph courtesy of Kikkoman

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