my lavender blues

December 22, 2015

Deliciously Easy & Healthy Pho (Vietnamese Soup)



Deliciously Easy. And healthy.

Pho really really?

Yes I am pho real.

I would love to begin this post with talk of the bitter cold weather we are having and how all you need is a hot bowl of soup (pho) to bring warmth to your soul. But instead it’s mid December and my fingers are swelling due to the fact that it’s  almost 70 out and I’m bundled for a snowpocalypse. #winterweightgain #noneofmyfallclothesfitme #fatguyinalittlecoat

So to add to your increasingly growing pit stains during the apparent winter season (or lack there of) I’ve decided to make a “lighter” version of one of my favorite soups. Pho.

How do you make something light and easy taste sooooo good. Kelp noodles aka edible seaweed. Don’t let that deter you from trying this pho-nomenal soup (there is NO fishy flavor). I’m actually pretty weird about most foods, especially texture. And anything that comes from the ocean. My family grew up eating mostly food that came from the land (even when we were living in Japan) due to the fact that my brother was (and still is) a bubble boy with most sea creatures. Another added bonus with these seaweed strands is that there are only 30 calories for every 1/2 cup serving. My kind of nood.

But these noodles are AMAZING. and their texture is SPOT on (and that’s saying  a lot coming from me). They aren’t gooey, nor are they too hard (like some rice noodles can be, or can get). They literally are just right. And the combination of the thinly sliced beef and bean sprouts, I’d say they really bring this dish straight home.

I ain’t pho-king with ya.


Recipe Notes:

You can find kelp noodles at Whole Foods (international section) or at most international markets. Just follow the instructions on the bag (aka rinse) and they are good to go, no cooking time needed.

Definitely have patience and let your broth simmer for about thirty minutes. It is TOTALLY worth the flavor, having the onions caramelize and break down, as well as having the fresh ginger bring a nice spice to the broth. Instead of using beef bone & whole spices to flavor the broth,  I like to use a low sodium beef broth as well as 5 star powder (which is also sometimes called chinese five star powder). You can find it at most grocery stores (almost all) and its a lot more affordable then buying each individual spice that it is made up of (star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Szechwan pepper, fennel seeds).

Since pho is really known for it’s great flavored broth as well as it’s smoothness, I mention using a fine mesh strainer to get rid of any clumps or solid matter (onion, ginger) however you don’t HAVE to do this. You can use a ladle and just scoop the broth on to your soup avoiding the onion and ginger pieces. That is your call.

ALSO if you have difficulty slicing your meat very thin (best way to do this is freeze meat 1/2 hour before slicing) just throw beef into the boiling broth right before serving if you are worried it won’t cook through when you pour broth over your bowl. You’ll understand what I’m talking about when you get to that point.


Deliciously Easy & Healthy Pho (Glass Noodle Vietnamese Soup)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • For the Broth:
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 6 fresh ginger slices (about 1" long, ¼" thin)
  • 2 tsp 5 star powder
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fish or oyster sauce
  • For the filling:
  • ½ lb thinly sliced beef (sliced against grain, I used flat iron)
  • ⅓ cup green onion, chopped
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 2 cups kelp noodles
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves (leave whole)
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • one lime, quartered
  1. In a large pot over medium high heat add your beef broth & water. Bring to a boil. Add your quartered onion, fresh ginger slices, five star powder, sugar, salt & fish sauce. Bring heat down to a simmer and let simmer for ½ an hour, stirring occasionally.
  2. Once soup has simmered for a half hour, strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove any solids (of course reserving the broth!)
  3. Pour broth back into pot and bring to a boil.
  4. Assemble your soup bowls with a ¼ of the beef, green onion, sprouts, noodles, basil & cilantro. Slowly pour broth over each bowl, which should cook the meat in under a minute. Please see notes on what to do in post if beef is too thick, it will not cook through. Top off with some freshly squeezed lime.

  1. […] (because I like to be wine’d and dine’d first) check out my other posts (Such as this Healthy-errrr Pho  or Easy Breakfast stuffed poblano […]

  2. Hiroo says:

    Julia, going to try making this pho sometime this week, is there any other type of beef I can use? Can I make broth in advance? Would mushrooms be a good addition??

    • Julia says:

      Aside from the flat iron I’ve also had great success with flank. You can definitely make the broth in advance, in fact you can make it way in advance and freeze it until you are ready to use! Perfect for winter laziness 😉

  3. margueritekoch says:

    This is awesome and so easy even I can make it. Thank you!

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