Tea-Infused Rice Noodle Soup 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Apr 2, 2014

The broth of this modern take on Vietnamese pho gets complexity from a dried herbal lavender-lemon tea from Seven Oaks Lavender Farm in Catlett, Va. The kitchen at Airlie in Warrenton, Va., makes a vegetable broth with celery, carrots, onions, mushroom stems and fennel.

The chard colors the mushrooms so they look almost like beef. You won't miss meat here, but it can be added for extra protein.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 12 cups no-salt-added vegetable broth
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 4 tablespoons dried herbal lavender-lemon tea, such as Seven Oaks Lavender Farm brand
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 7 ounces dried rice noodles (1/4-inch wide)
  • Sesame oil
  • 1 medium shallot, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and cut into quarters
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 4 large rainbow Swiss chard leaves, stemmed and chopped into 1-to-2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into 4 wedges and seeded
  • Finely crushed dried Thai chili peppers, stemmed and seeded (optional; may substitute crushed red pepper flakes)


Heat the broth and star anise in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook for about 1 hour, uncovered, until the broth has reduced by half. Remove from the heat; add the dried tea. Steep for 10 minutes, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, discarding the solids. Taste, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Wipe out the pot.

Return the broth to the pot; keep it warm over low heat.

Add the rice noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until they are cooked through.

Meanwhile, heat a few teaspoons of oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds, then add the mushrooms, garlic and chard. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring, then add 1/4 cup of the warm broth. Cook until it has almost evaporated. The mushrooms will have turned pinkish. Remove from the heat; season lightly with salt and pepper, then stir in the cilantro.

Use tongs to transfer the rice noodles from the broth to individual deep bowls, twisting them to form "nests." Top each portion with equal amounts of the mushroom-chard mixture. Ladle about a cup of broth into each bowl. Garnish with lemon wedges and a sprinkling of the dried peppers, if using.

Serve warm.

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Recipe Source

From a recipe by Jeff Witte and Jeremy Anderson, culinary director and executive chef, respectively, at Airlie in Warrenton, Va.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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