Japanese sweet potatoes add Asian flair to this easy take on pho, a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup; their pale, creamy color makes them look more authentic. If you can't find Japanese sweet potatoes, substitute Jersey yellow sweet potato or regular white potatoes. This is a vegetarian version, but if you're a meat-eater, use beef broth and add seared tenderloin before serving.


  • 2 large Japanese sweet potatoes

  • 1 Tbs. peanut, olive, or coconut oil

  • 4 cups vegetable broth

  • 4 whole garlic cloves, crushed

  • 8¼-inch slices fresh ginger root

  • 2 whole star anise

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper

  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

  • 1 Tbs. fish sauce, plus more for serving

  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal

  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts

  • 1/2 cup Thai basil or sweet basil leaves

  • 1 serrano chili, thinly sliced

  • Sriracha chili sauce for serving


  1. Scrub potatoes, cut off ends and spiralize into long, thin noodles. Set aside. 
  2. In a medium pot, heat oil and sauté onion until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add broth, garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, and pepper. Cover and simmer, covered, for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour. Strain and discard solids. Return broth to pot and add mushrooms, fish sauce, and sweet potato noodles. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, until mushrooms and potatoes are tender.
  3. To serve, ladle servings into each bowl. Top with green onions, bean sprouts, basil, Serrano chili slices, fish sauce, and Sriracha. Serve immediately.
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Main Course
Japanese Sweet Potato Soup with Rice & Nori Croutons recipe.

Japanese Sweet Potato Soup

This creamy vegan soup is topped with crispy rice “croutons” laced with seaweed; we used crumbled nori, but kelp or dulse flakes would work as well.


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