Pho Recipe — a Gut-Friendly Vietnamese Soup

There’s nothing like cooler weather that makes me want to cook up a big batch of soup and spend a cozy evening in with family and friends. Especially one that involves bone broth, grass-fed beef and immune-boosting herbs and vegetables. That’s right, I’m talking about this pho recipe, which will warm you up, aid your gut health, support your immune system during these cold winter months and is downright tasty.

What is pho? Pho or phở originated in Vietnam in the early 20th century and has probably been around even longer, although there is poor documentation of the recipe until the last 90 years. It is thought that the French occupying the region in northern Vietnam and neighboring Chinese traditions both influenced the popular broth that we know today.

After the Geneva Accords, which required Vietnam to split into two in 1954, many northern Vietnamese migrated south and brought their Vietnamese soup along with them. (1) Southern Vietnam was much more liberal with their pho soup and introduced garnishes like cilantro, lime, bean sprouts and Thai basil. How do you pronounce pho? The same you would ‘duh’!

Is pho healthy? I would argue, absolutely. Not only are the benefits of bone broth numerous, including digestive repair, skin and joint health, but adding in healing spices and herbs boosts the benefits even more. Grass-fed beef boasts benefits of CLA, omega 3 fatty acids and is free of all hormones and antibiotics. Instead of traditional white rice noodles used in pho, I incorporated zucchini noodles, which have high anti-inflammatory properties and are high in vitamin C. (You can also opt for gluten-free brown rice noodles.)

Toppings for the pho include cilantro, which helps rid the body of heavy metals, and Thai basil, which boosts immunity and contains natural antioxidant properties. Mint leaves aid in digestion and give a refreshingly cool flavor to the broth. Green onions give a mild, pungent kick and also add in antiviral and antibacterial properties to your pho soup recipe. Bean sprouts add a crunch, and since they are sprouted, are easy to digest, and you can absorb the nutrients within them much easier.

Lastly, I added organic sriracha sauce to give it an extra kick and coconut aminos with beneficial enzymes, minerals and other healthy elements.

So now you’re wondering how to make this pho recipe. Traditional bone broth can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to prepare, so if you’re using homemade, give yourself a day or two to get your pho broth ready. Otherwise, find a high-quality bone broth made from organic meat and vegetables to add to your pho ingredients. This pho recipe is easier to make than you think, so don’t be afraid to dive in!


How To Make Pho

Pho recipe ingredients - Dr. Axe

First, take the bone broth and add it to a large stock pot. Add in onions, carrots, garlic cloves, cinnamon sticks and coconut aminos and bring it to a boil. Once the broth is boiling, reduce the heat so that the broth will simmer for 30 minutes. While the broth is simmering, go ahead and spiralize your zucchini into noodles or “zoodles.” 

Pho recipe step 1 - Dr. AxeChop up your herbs and vegetables and set aside. Slice your sirloin steak into very thin slices, about one-fourth of an inch. Place the steak slices back in the refrigerator to keep them cold until the broth is ready. After the broth has simmered, strain out the solids and discard them. Return the broth to the stove top and keep piping hot until ready to serve. Now you’re going to assemble your pho soup bowls.

Pho recipe step 2 - Dr. Axe

First, add in a handful of zucchini noodles to the bottom of the bowl.

Pho recipe step 3 - Dr. AxePour in a cup or two of bone broth over the noodles and quickly add 5–6 raw beef slices and watch them begin to cook through in the piping hot broth.

Pho recipe step 4 - Dr. Axe

Top off your pho with cilantro, green onion, bean sprouts, mint, Thai basil, organic sriracha and more coconut aminos, if desired.

Pho recipe step 5 - Dr. Axe

This pho recipe is so soothing, warming and nourishing. You’ll want to make this again and again in the upcoming winter months!

 

 


Pho Recipe — a Gut-Friendly Vietnamese Soup

Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • For the broth:
  • 6 cups beef bone broth
  • 2 onions, peeled and halved
  • 4-5 whole carrots, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peel on and smashed
  • 2-3 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • Toppings:
  • ½ pound sirloin steak, sliced into ¼ inch pieces
  • 1 pound zucchini, spiralized
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup Thai basil leaves
  • ¼ cup mint leaves
  • Organic sriracha, to taste
  • Coconut aminos, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large stock pot, add in beef bone broth, onion, carrots, garlic cloves, cinnamon sticks and coconut aminos.
  2. Bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and let broth simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Place zucchini into a spiralizer and spiralize into noodles. Set aside.
  4. Slice beef into very thin slices, about ¼ inch thick. Keep beef slices in the refrigerator to keep cold until ready to add to the broth.
  5. Strain the broth and discard the solids. Return the broth to the stove to keep warm.
  6. In four soup bowls, prepare each serving by adding in zucchini noodles to the bottom.
  7. Top with pho broth and add in 5-6 raw beef slices.
  8. Top each bowl with desired amount of herbs, vegetables, sriracha and coconut aminos.
  9. Serve immediately.

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63 Comments

    • Diane on

      Yep! My first thoughts were that this would work for me too. Fab flavours and there is no desperate need for meat or dairy in this recipe.
      Can’t wait to try it!

      Reply
      • A on

        Vegetarian bone broth doesn’t make sense since vegetables don’t have bones, lol. But if you want to make a vegetable broth, I would just use typical stock veggies. You can always google homemade vegetable broth as well

    • Stella on

      How do you make your vegetarian broth..if you wouldn’t mind sharing the recipe, I’d love to have it!
      Thank you.

      Reply
      • Amber on

        I have made this vegetarian for years, and pescatarian. I keep a freezer bag and fill it with stock items like bell pepper stems, mushroom stems, etc. to water I add some veg bouillon and these stock items. For protein, a super firm tofu is good.

  1. Cassie on

    Hello! I’m confused on when you add the raw beef– Is it when the pot is still on the stove or after all the cooking is done and you put it in the serving bowl? Would the beef even cook if you put it in last? And if I wanted to make this with chicken breast would I cook the chicken separately

    Reply
    • Dr. Josh Axe on

      Hi Cassie, you generally add the raw beef after the pot is off the stove. The hot broth cooks the thinly sliced beef all the way through and leaves it tender. If you want to make it with chicken breast, I would suggest adding it while the pot is still on the stove and cooking it until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F.

      Reply
  2. Cory Sinclair on

    I’ve never heard of ‘coconut aminos’ before! What form do they come in? Are they easy to find? Do they have flavour? Are they expensive? Will the soup be much different if they aren’t used in it? Sincerely, Cory

    Reply
  3. Tracy on

    Hi. I have made traditional pho bone broth with 1 gallon water, 3 cinnamon sticks, 5 star anise, charred onion, charred Ginger and 6lbs beef bones. It really needs to simmer at a low pace minimum 15 hours. I let it cool overnight and strain out all the fat and anything else through cheesecloth, i disregard the solids. I learned this from a Vietnamese restaurant owner. Final thing, you add liquid fish sauce a quarter cup at a time to the clear stock for saltiness to taste. I’m hooked on pho.

    Reply
  4. Gilda Perez on

    That pho recipe sound lovely, and thank you for the recipe of the beef broth you give to someone, i have been asking for, i didn’t know which bone to use, i made it but it was not like my chicken one with gelatin, can you tell me Dr Axe which bones are the best thank you. I’m in your proogram in toxic gut

    Reply
  5. Lindy Hinds on

    What is ACV in the beef bone broth rescue and with the charred ginger and charred onion, how do you make it?

    Reply
  6. Musa Lima on

    Dr. Josh Axe is truly a great guy, i have found all his recommendations 100% trustworthy and very helpful.
    Just do whatever he recommends for your well-being, he is truthful and highly knowledgeable on health matters. Surely you will be the next to come forward and testify just as i did. Enjoy Dr. Josh’s generosity!

    Reply
  7. Patricia on

    I know this is not in the right place, but I haven’t got the email with the Zucchini Pizza recipe in front of me and I would like to tell you how much I and my family loved it. It is truly amazing. And, at least for people who have been gluten free for several years, it tastes very close to the real thing. We have also made small pita sized circles with your recipe which we use for hummus. I think one of the best things is that the batter is quite manageable. There aren’t a lot of hot frying pans that burn. The pitas just sit in the oven, bake properly and come out a beautiful orange color. Thanks.

    Reply
  8. Nadya on

    Valid information , given with care and love to public. Timely and ckear spoken. Thank you Very much for info tonthink and know and be strongly motivated to improve the body immunity. Gid bless, Gid be with you each day of life. Nadya

    Reply
  9. ellen on

    Love your website however I wish that when you publish recipes that you would provide a print recipe option so that you don’t have to waste paper and print 12 or so pages to just get the recipe

    Reply
    • Margaret on

      I have also found copy and paste works fine. I’ve found an easy to copy recipe directly below the explanatory version with all the pictures.

      Reply
  10. Maria Scheffel on

    Very appreciative of your recipes BUT VERY UNHAPPY AND TURNED OFF by the fact that they are not allowed to be printed!!!

    Reply
    • Margaret on

      Maria – they can be copied easily and put into a note pad, WordPad, Word or other word processing program, from which they can be saved and/or printed. Try copying the version of the recipe in the colored box just below the “long-hand” version of recipe with all the pictures. Hope you can make this work as well as I have!

      Reply
  11. Christine Kirchner on

    I missed the webinar on leaky gut. I can’t find it. I have 15 years of inflammation and chronic viruses and chronic fatigue. I am a PA-C and had to quit working. Home most of time. Unable to exercise for long stretches. That webinar looked really good, but was gone by the time I got back to it. Send it to me please???!!! Unless you have a better idea.

    Reply
  12. Dee on

    Love your website , especially recipes. Could you please include nutrition info. as I am doing keto lifestyle. Would be sooooo helpful.
    Thank you in advance.
    Dee

    Reply
  13. Tammy on

    Mmm! Saw the recipe earlier today and had to try it! I used chicken, which I cooked in the broth after I strained it. I was missing a few ingredients so I improvised and it turned out great. I’m def gonna make this again!

    Reply
  14. Nancy on

    Made the soup all the time this last winter .
    It’s totally the bomb .
    Just be careful cause it’s addictive !
    Liiving in Montana where we can experience – 22 degree days this soup would just hit the spot .
    Loved it and will be back to making it again when the snow falls in October .
    Thanks for this great recipe

    Reply
  15. Van on

    Dr Axe, I recently bought grass fed beef for Pho (my son who is half Viet/Aussie has such talent at cooking it ie. I am a bad Viet cook). Absolutely beautiful – tender with clean taste. Thought it would cost an arm and a leg, but this butcher in our area didn’t overcharge either , only couple of dollars than the ordinary beef. He should be highly praised for promoting it. And thanks to you too for all these health advices and recipes that I have been following. Most of my friends are now on to your site . We are blessed with such wonderful advocates. xx

    Reply
  16. HealthyRN on

    I would like to stress that the beef and the bone broth be grass fed and grass FINISHED.
    So many retailers sell “grass fed beef” knowing that most people don’t realize the animals are given GMO feed with corn before slaughter in order to sweeten up the meat and tenderize it. So sure, it’s grass fed, but not grass finished.
    Make sure you buy beef that specifies it is also grass finished…. no grain ever. It’s out there and if you can’t find it from a local farmer there are websites that will ship it frozen to you.
    The importance of this cannot be over stressed, as the nutrients in the grass finished meat is far better than the nutrients in the conventional beef.
    Many thanks to Dr Axe for all the recipes and for caring about those of us out here who BELIEVE in alternative clean eating and alternative medicine.

    Reply
    • Health Nut on

      Thank you, Healthy RN for clarifying the differences in beef production in the US. I’ve spent most of my life in both Calif. and Texas, the 2 top beef producing states. Traditional ranchers will try all sorts of things to get higher prices for their beef. Besides looking for GRASS FED and GRASS FINISHED, it also helps if the animals have been PASTURE RAISED, as opposed to being locked up in feed yards or barns for their entire lives. Many ethical Organic Ranchers will also have information on their labels that indicate no hormones or anti-biotics. Believe it or not, organic, pasture raised beef are one of the naturally healthiest meat sources there is. Cattle, in their natural state, in their natural environment are very, very healthy animals. You can google “organic beef” and you can find organic ranchers in several states, many of whom will ship meat to your door. You might even find one in your area!

      Reply
  17. Oralia Guzman on

    I signed up for the “How to Heal Leaky Gut” webinar and paid the $147 asked for at the end of the program. I thought I was supposed to receive a recipe book and some other materials explaining more about the foods to eat and not eat. It has been over 10 days and have received nothing. Please let me know what I paid for and when or how I’m supposed to receive it.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Dr. Josh Axe on

      Hi Oralia! I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. I have directed your question to our programs team and they will be able to assist you as soon as possible. Blessings!

      Reply
  18. Cath from Australia on

    Agree with comments above, throw your onion, garlic on the BBQ. it makes all the difference to the flavour. I have the basic pho liquid in a sealed jug in the fridge ready for a quick lunch every day and my irritable bowel stays under control. Love it.

    Reply
  19. Amber on

    There are some seasonings that make this flavor richer, but I wonder if you omitted them for concerns about their health benefits? I generally simmer in some allspice, whole peppercorns, star anise, and cloves as well as some fish sauce with a dab of sugar or honey.

    Reply
  20. Thi on

    Pretty good recipe, but the most important spices are not there!! Need to add “star anise” and coriander seeds to be called “phở” (I’m 100% Vietnamese I know how to make “pho” with my eyes closed :)

    Reply

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