Tofu Banh Pho in Kabocha Broth

  • Servings : 4
  • Prep Time : 15m
  • Cook Time : 10m
  • Ready In : 25m

At this very moment, I’m sitting in the audience at the 2014 Vegan Iron Chef competition in downtown San Francisco!  It’s hectic up there on the stage, especially with emcee Miyoko Schinner weaving amongst the contestants, offering her banter and insights.  I wonder who the winner will be…??!?

The chefs had 25 minutes to create an appetizer, so that was my inspiration for this recipe: something filling with multiple components that can be made in 25 minutes or less (especially if you have two sous chefs like they do!).  I’m saving some time by using the same hot water to first cook the squash, then the noodles while reheating the sweet potato.

**I bake sweet potatoes two, three, four at a time…even if I’m only gonna eat one for dinner that night.  That way they’re ready for meals over the next few days.  Also, I’m conserving my energy use!  The prep/cook time will take another 40 minutes or so if you don’t have some prepared already…sorry!


  • 24 oz banh pho (or as much as you want for four servings)
  • 1/2 kabocha squash, deseeded and cubed
  • 20 oz firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 large sweet potato (I used the Japanese, light-colored flesh variety)
  • 1 cup soaked cashews
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1 mango, sliced or diced
  • 2-3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp tamari


Step 1

Bake the sweet potatoes, if they aren't already. 35-45 minutes at 425 degrees should do it, depending on the size of your potato.

Step 2

Drain, press, and cube the tofu. Slice the kabocha squash into wedges, then cubes. Cube up the sweet potato, too.

Step 3

Boil water. It'll first be used to soften the squash cubes, but make sure you start with enough to cook the noodles, too. The squash should take but a couple of minutes. If they fall apart a bit that's cool! - it's part of the broth for the final product. Transfer squash with slotted spoon to colander to drain. Add noodles to the kabocha water and cook according to package instructions. When there are only a few minutes left, add the sweet potatoes to the noodles if they need to be reheated (like mine did).

Step 4

While the squash and noodles are cooking, pan fry the tofu in the oil until browned. Splash with tamari about half way through.

Step 5

Serve noodles in bowls, along with the kabocha water (I wanted to limit the salt and ingredients, so the liquid here is pretty straightforward...if you want, feel free to add any kind of flavoring paste/bullion/dry mix you think would work well). To the noodles and sweet potato, add the tofu, kabocha squash, cashews, avocado slices, and mango. Enjoy!

A former math teacher, Matt is now cooking up food in a vegan restaurant in Berkeley, CA. More than 5 years into his vegan journey, he loves sharing tasty, compassionate, and healthful food with friends and family--and strangers, too, sometimes!

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