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Thankful “Pho” Family, Friends, and the Holiday Season

Updated: Apr 10

by Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, CSSD, CCMS, LMHC, FAND @The Running Nutritionist®

Fullei Fresh Chef Ambassador

This year Thanksgiving is going to be anything but traditional.

Most family and friends will be separated by gatherings of no more than 10 or by Zoom meals, not being able to give thanks together with loved ones and friends. We are all in this together.

This is the reason I decided to feature my untraditional Vegan Tempeh Pho recipe, rich in this month’s featured mung bean sprouts. This filling 1-bowl meal can bring some relief and comfort to vegetarians as most of the country enjoys more traditional holiday fixings.

Pho, a broth based, rice noodle soup with herbs and varying degrees of sweetness, heat and flavor depth depending on the chef is traditionally prepared with thin slices of beef and is the national dish of Vietnam although its origins are unknown. I used tempeh in my pho recipe as it comes texturally close to beef and smoked it with lapsang souchong tea to give it that savory flavor.

The soup can contain a wide variety of vegetables, it’s up to you what you like and have at home, but typically contains a healthy amount of mung bean sprouts, rice noodles, onions or scallions and carrots flavored with everything from cinnamon to star anise to cloves, fresh ginger, soy, hoisin or sriracha sauce, and/or chili peppers garnished with fresh basal, cilantro, mint and lime slices.

Celebrating Bean Sprouts

One of the most popular sprouts, according to the website Food Source Information, in the U.S. alone, 15-20 million pounds of mung beans are consumed annually. Bean sprouts are versatile, giving salad a refreshing bite, summer spring rolls a cool crunch and hot dishes like stir fry and Pho more reason to take longer with each mouthful to consume, giving true meaning to mindful eating.

Mung bean sprouts are also a great nutritious filler food for those watching their calories especially around the holidays. With just 31 calories per cup, they are a rich source of protein, fiber, vitamin C and contain calcium and iron too.

And for a little trivia, did you know bean sprouts are grown in the dark? Yes, it is true! It keeps the sprouts from turning color.

Thanksgiving Vegan PHO

The pho can be served with vegetable salad, fermented vegetables, or a mixed vegetable side of rice.

Serves: 4


2 cups low sodium organic vegetable broth

2 cups water

4 ounces soy free tempeh (Be Cultured or Artomoro—locally sourced in FL)

Tempeh Smokey Bath

2 cups water

2 Tbsp Lapsang souchong tea

Tempeh Marinade:

2 Tbsp shoyu reduced sodium soy sauce

¼ cup rice vinegar

1 Tbsp miso paste

2 Tbsp chopped lemongrass

¼ cup chopped scallions

1 Tbsp avocado oil

½ cup sliced mushrooms

¼ cup shredded carrots

1 cup Fullei Fresh Bean Sprouts

6 oz. rice noodles, cooked according to directions on package

2 star anise

2 whole cloves

1 Tbsp fresh ginger

1 cinnamon stick


Fresh mint

Fresh basil

4 lime slices


1 Tbsp chili pepper fresh diced small


  1. Brew tea in 2 cups of water.

  2. Slice tempeh into long 1/8-inch pieces and allow tempeh to bathe in tea for a minimum of 1 hour. Remove and cool.

  3. In meantime, prepare marinade with rice vinegar, soy sauce, miso, lemongrass, and scallions.

  4. Place marinade and tempeh in bowl or plastic Ziploc bag and let set overnight in refrigerator.

  5. Prepare broth by taking marinade and adding to 2 cups vegetable broth and 2 cups water. Add anise, ginger and cinnamon stick and chili pepper for those who like their pho spicy hot.

  6. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and let simmer. Add mushrooms, carrots, ½ of bean sprouts and rice noodles.

  7. Heat skillet with 1 Tbsp avocado oil until water beads bounce on surface.

  8. Place tempeh strips and sear until lightly browned.

  9. You can also transfer and/or grill the tempeh strips to achieve browning or extra browning.

  10. Remover cloves, cinnamon stick and star anise and transfer broth to bowls.

  11. Add tempeh, the other ½ of bean sprouts, and serve with fresh basil, mint, cilantro, and lime slice.

May the soup fill your heart with some joy and comfort and knowing that you and your families will all be in my and the Fullei Fresh team’ s prayers this Thanksgiving.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday,


Meet Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, CSSD, CCMS, LMHC, FAND


Known internationally as The Running Nutritionist®, Lisa is an award-winning leader to industry, academia, the public & press for more than 3 decades. Lisa has built a global integrative culinary sports nutrition & performance private practice & corporate consulting business working with Olympian athletes, and prestigious luxury resorts such as Ritz Carlton, Sandals & Norwegian Cruise Lines. Lisa designs, writes, and speaks about delicious dishes, menus and diets and travels worldwide sharing the “gospel” of good food, fresh tastes, and plant-based cuisine. Her passion for food, fitness, emotional balance and for life is contagious.

A ’19 President’s Council National Excellence in Practice Award Recipient, Lisa is a Licensed Nutritionist/ Registered Dietitian, Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, Board Certified Professional Counselor, Certified Chef, Certified USAT&F & USA Triathlon Coach, Certified Reiki Practitioner, Certified Horticulturist & Fellow of The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. She served as the ’08 US Sailing Olympic Team Nutritionist for Beijing Olympics & Nutrition Expert for the Zumba Plate® program.

Her recipes are inspired by collaborations with some of the top chefs at Sandals Resorts, Ritz Carlton, Culinary Vegetable Institute/Chef’s Garden; restaurants, spas, wellness/fitness-focused programs as instructor at Johnson and Wales University & Miami Culinary Institute, & member of prestigious organizations such as Les Dames d ‘Escoffier, American Culinary Foundation, and the James Beard Foundation. She is Chef Alliance Director for Slow Food Miami.

The author of 8 books, Lisa has appeared on 20/20, Dateline, Good Morning America Health, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC and ESPN & has been featured in numerous publications including: USA Today, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Outside & Runners World magazines. In her spare time, Lisa has competed in more than 35 marathons (PR 2:52:32), Ironman USA Lake Placid, and hundreds of running and multisport races and was a member of TeamUSA at the ’04 World Long Distance Duathlon Championships.

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