Hallelujah! Asparagus is finally here!
When you eat in tune with the seasons and something that you haven’t eaten in nearly a year comes back into season, it’s defiantly reason to celebrate! I choose to do so by making something extra-specially delicious. Last year Veronica shared this asparagus soup for the illusive two month asparagus window that runs from the end of April to June here in the UK. I have chosen to share one of my all time favourite dishes, a Vietnamese Pho with the addition of some grilled asparagus which is my favourite way to cook it!!
A traditional Pho is all about a slow cooked broth, normally made with beef. However, the main star of the show is really the aromatic spices not the meat so it easily adapts to create a super tasty vegan meal and this version uses a bit of vegetable stock to speed up the process. But of course if you have time, the longer you cook it for the better it’s going to taste!
The broth makes enough to serve four which is great if there’s just two of you, as it means tomorrow’s dinner is going to super quick to make! Add more veggies and noodles if you’re making it for 4 first time round.
Vietnamese Vegan Phở with Grilled Asparagus
For the broth:
5cm chunk of ginger
3 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
4 cardomon pods
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 1/2 litres of vegetable stock made with 1 1/2 tbsp vegan bouillon
1 1/2 tbsp good quality soy sauce (such as kikkoman)
5cm piece young garlic
200g brown rice noodles
8 asparagus spears
Seasonal leafy greens, such as kale, chard, pak choi, wild garlic
Large handful of bean sprouts
Fresh herbs such as thai basil, coriander and mint
1 lime, quartered
1 red chilli, sliced
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C, quarter the onions, leaving the skin on, chop the ginger into a few large chunks and bake for about 15 minutes, using a dash of oil until the edges start to brown.
- In a large, heavy bottomed pan, dry fry the whole spices until they become aromatic.
- Roughly chop the carrots and garlic into large chunks and add to the spices with the onion, ginger and stock.
- Simmer for at least half an hour, when ready strain through a fine sieve or muslin and reheat.
- Cook your noodles according to the packet instrucitons which should take about 5-10 minutes, then rinse the noodles.
- Place the asparagus on a baking tray, season and drizzle with olive oil and grill for 5 minutes.
- You can either lightly steam your greens or just let the broth cook them in the bowl when serving, it really depends on what you’re using. For example I would steam spring greens but not spinach.
- To serve, divide the noodles between bowls, then pour over the stock. Arrange your raw or lightly steamed greens, bean sprouts, herbs, chilli and lime around the bowl, placing the grilled asparagus on top. Then dig in!
Happy asparagus season!