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
First, take the bone broth and add it to a large stock pot. Add in onions, carrots, garlic cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamon pods, coriander seeds 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.”
Chop 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.
First, add in a handful of zucchini noodles to the bottom of the bowl. Pour 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.
Top off your pho with cilantro, green onion, bean sprouts, mint, Thai basil, organic sriracha and more coconut aminos, if desired.
This pho recipe is so soothing, warming and nourishing. You’ll want to make this again and again in the upcoming winter months!Print
Pho Recipe — a Gut-Friendly Vietnamese Soup
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Diet: Gluten Free
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.
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
- 8 star anise
- 5 cardamon pods
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 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
- In a large stock pot, add in beef bone broth, onion, carrots, garlic cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamon pods, coriander seeds and coconut aminos.
- Bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and let broth simmer for 30 minutes.
- Place zucchini into a spiralizer and spiralize into noodles. Set aside.
- 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.
- Strain the broth and discard the solids. Return the broth to the stove to keep warm.
- In four soup bowls, prepare each serving by adding in zucchini noodles to the bottom.
- Top with pho broth and add in 5–6 raw beef slices.
- Top each bowl with desired amount of herbs, vegetables, sriracha and coconut aminos.
- Serve immediately.
Instead of zucchini noodles, you can also use brown rice noodles if you really miss the noodle part of the dish!
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 35 min
- Category: Main Dishes
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Vietnamese
- Serving Size: 1 bowl
- Calories: 226
- Sugar: 4.8g
- Sodium: 720mg
- Fat: 8.1g
- Saturated Fat: 3.1g
- Unsaturated Fat: 3.8g
- Carbohydrates: 18.5g
- Fiber: 4.9g
- Protein: 22.5g
- Cholesterol: 41mg
Keywords: pho recipe, pho soup recipe, beef pho recipe
I really want to try this recipe in an Instant Pot. Does anyone know how to change this recipe, not the ingredient, to use in the Instant Pot? Thanks.
Great idea, Shirley. I love the instant pot … you can simply do the broth in the instant pot. I’d say aim for around 25 minutes at high pressure. Once it’s done, let it sit for around 10 minutes before venting. Prepare your bowls with the other ingredients and pour in the broth when ready.
I am working up a meal plan and grocery list in preparation for a 21 day purification. For this soup/bone broth loving woman, this recipe is an excellent addition to the repertoire. Thank you.
Why do you need to discard the veggies after simmering? Can you leave them in your soup?
You certainly can do that, Angie.
Pho has become my “go to” food in the winter since I moved near a restaurant that made it fresh and it was delicious. Sadly, they closed recently and I was hoping to find a good recipe to make it myself. Thank you so much for this recipe and all you are doing to help many be faithful to take the best care of their body.
What about elevated tin? How would anyone be exposed to tin? Thank you.
I made a soup that is very satisfying during zucchini season.
I had a tooth extraction, so needed soft food. I had been eating sauteed zucchini and onions in coconut oil with salsa, so used my hand blender to blend it into a puree. Then I added some multi collagen, tumeric, garlic, black pepper, simmered and blended again. (everything was “to taste”). This was such a comforting soup! I continued to make it through zucchini season (even with the ones that got a bit big) and froze it for winter lunches.
The collagen added some protein, the parsley is good for the liver, the tumeric and black pepper is good for inflammation, and it just tasted yummy. You could easily add other things you might have in the garden as well (I added a few small carrots once–couldn’t even tell). Thought maybe someone else might enjoy.
Wondering about the raw meat and uncooked bean sprouts? With all the cold ingredients the broth would not cook the meat and sprouts sufficiently to make them safe to eat??
Seems like such a waste throwing out the other foods, is there a way to reuse or can one just keep them in the broth?
Dear Dr. Axe,
Do you have the nutritinal info please?
Dr. Axe, What about the rice noodles, which are typically served with this soup. They add so much to the taste of the soup. Are you against them? If so, why?
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 :)
I heartily agree, plus the rice noodles.
You are correct Thi! We’ve adapted and updated the recipe. Thank you!
hola yo soy vegetariana tambien.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Yes, all beef is grass fed! Cattle can only live a few weeks on the grain diet!
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
Van, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe, it’s definitely a staple in my house. Blessings to you and yours!
I’d really appreciate your recipes having a print option.
Hi Gay, we are working on making printable options for all of our recipes so stay tuned!
I am making this soup tomorrow it looks amazing, Thanks!
I hope you enjoy it, Deborah!
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
I’m so glad you enjoyed this Nancy! It’s definitely perfect for those chilly nights. Blessings!
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!
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.
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.
Hi Christine, I have send over your sent your request to our customer service team and they will be getting in touch with you as soon as possible.
Very appreciative of your recipes BUT VERY UNHAPPY AND TURNED OFF by the fact that they are not allowed to be printed!!!
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!
Hi Marie, we are working on revamping our website and making printable versions of all the recipes so stay tuned and thank you for your patience!
I have found that these recipes copy and paste in perfect format.
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.
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
Here is what I do…I copy and paste the recipe onto a blank page or a blank email and then print it there. That way I get just the recipe…nothing else! :>)
I agree with the print button. Love Dr Axes website.
Hi Ellen. We are currently working on a printable version for all the recipes so stay tuned!
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
Hi Nadya! Thank you. Blessings to you and yours!
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.
Recipe for zucchini pizza please???
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!
What is ACV in the beef bone broth rescue and with the charred ginger and charred onion, how do you make it?
Apple cider vinegar
I thought this would be all Vegetarian….
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
Hi Gilda, I recommend using beef bones with marrow. The marrow makes a huge difference! I hope this helps.
Tracy, THANKS! But what is charred ginger & where do I get it?
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.
What’s charred onion or charred ginger and how do you make it or where do you buy it?
Charred anything is when you grill it until there are blacken grilled marks… adds tons of flavor!
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
Hi Cory, you can read about coconut aminos here: https://draxe.com/nutrition/coconut-aminos/. Coconut aminos are a great substitute for soy sauce. You can find them at your local health food store, but you can also leave them out of the recipe. I hope this helps!
Hi Dr. Axe,
Is there a reason that you left the fish sauce & ginger out of the recipe as well as some of the spices? And didn’t char the onion and ginger?
Hi Monica, feel free to modify this recipe how you see fit.
They even have Coconut Aminos at Trader Joe’s now.
Great, thanks, Nancy!
HI CORY. COCONUT AMINOS ARE A COPY OF BRAGGS AMINOS, UT WITHOUT THE SOY, PLUS IT’S A THINNER LIQUID. AN D YES IT”S MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE THAN BRAGGS AMINOS, ABOUT TWICE THE PRICE (OR MORE SOMETIMES). FOR THOSE OF US ON A BUDGET BRAGGS IS THE CHOICE (UNLESS YOU’RE ALLERGIC TO SOY).
Can you tell us what’s the best way to make bone broth? Does it mater whether it’s beef or chicken?
Hi Laurie, here are my recipes for bone broth:
Chicken bone broth: https://draxe.com/recipes/chicken-bone-broth-recipe/
Beef bone broth: https://draxe.com/recipes/beef-bone-broth/
I think both chicken and beef bone broth are beneficial, but I made this recipe with beef. I hope this helps!
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
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.
I’m a vegitarian. Vegetarian broth works nicely as well.
Elizabeth, I’m so happy to hear that you were able to make this recipe work for you. Enjoy!
I’m also vegetarian. I want to make this, but what do I use in place of beef?
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!
How did you make vegetarian bone broth. I would like to make it. Thanks
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
How do you make your vegetarian broth..if you wouldn’t mind sharing the recipe, I’d love to have it!
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.