If you’ve never had pho, you’re missing out. Pho is a brothy soup from Vietnam, typically made with bone broth that’s been slow-simmered with lots of aromatics and spices, Traditionally, it’s poured over naturally gluten-free rice noodles, then topped with any leftover proteins and plenty of fresh vegetables.
It’s brothy, wintery, healthy, and delicious, but it’s also at least a 20 minutes drive.
Time to make some fast, healthy, pho-inspired soup at home!
Between driving, ordering, waiting, and coming back we are looking at at least an hour and a half. That’s about 3 times as long as a delicious homemade pho takes, so we have been making it ourselves.
A couple of years ago, in the midst of a bout of bone broth madness, we were making way more than we could freeze, much less eat. Once, I spiced up a batch with cinnamon, anise, and cloves when it hit me – it smelled like pho!
Ever since that day, Roland and I have made pho-inspired soups regularly.
I posted a picture of our latest batch on Instagram the other day, and since so many requested the recipe, here it is!
Fast, healthy, pho-inspired soup
Note – This recipe assumes you have already have a batch of meaty bone broth and some slow-cooked or leftover meat (or even a rotisserie chicken) reserved for today’s meal.
If you’re interested in making your own broth, our latest book, Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well has a chapter dedicated to making and enjoying your own bone broth at home.
Prepare the pho broth
- 6 cups beef bone broth or regular beef broth and 2 cups water
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 4 inches ginger cut in thin rings
- 1 piece star anise
- ½ tbsp fennel seeds
- 2 cloves
- salt to taste (generous)
In a large pot, bring everything to boil and let it simmer on low for about 30 minutes (if you have time, you can let it go longer).
Strain the spices.
Prepare your toppings
You will be using the slow-cooked beef from your broth recipe, but if you don’t have enough (or any) slow cooked meat, some shredded rotisserie chicken would also be great.
- Slow cooked meat and/or rotisserie chicken
- 2/3 lb carrots, sliced
- 5 stalks celery sliced
- 2 packaged broccolini or bok choy, sliced into bite-size pieces
- 2 cups chopped white cabbage
- green onions, chopped
- cilantro – chopped
- limes – in wedges
- rice noodles (cook using package instructions in advance)
- jalapeño peppers, sliced
- bean sprouts
- soy sauce
- fish sauce
- plum sauce
Chop the veggies in large bite sizes – carrots in strips or thin disks, celery in disks and broccoli or bok choy into bite-size pieces. Slice the cabbage thinly.
While the broth is simmering with the spices, bring a large pot of water to a boil and immerse all the veggies for 3-4 minutes. Take out and place on the side.
If you are making rice noodles, now is the time to cook them according the package directions.
Place the hot broth in bowls (strain any stray spices away)
Let each person choose what they want – veggies, meat, noodles, cilantro, sauce, toppings.
I love cilantro, green onion and lime squeezed generously on top.
Making this fast, healthy, pho-inspired soup is easy, but we always try to make enough for tomorrow, then put the leftovers in jars to take to work!
Want to Make Traditional Vietnamese Pho at Home?
If you want to go super authentic with your pho, check out this recipe and write up from our friend Kenji Lopez-Alt at Serious Eats!
The Food Lab: How To Make Traditional Vietnamese Pho
Whether you go with the spirit of pho or get all authentic on yourself, enjoy, and let us know what you think!