Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, One Pot Dish, Soup

Beefed Up Pho


Happy snowy day in Boston! Vietnamese Pho Soup may look intimidating (or strange), but it’s so simple. You make a broth, cook the rice noodles and assemble. I originally made a Vegan Pho with tofu because it’s easy to use and requires no prep, but, like the rest of you carnivores out there, I knew I needed to try a try meat lover’s option… with BEEF. I swapped vegetable for beef broth and did a 1:1 ratio of rice noodles to zoodles. As always, pho is light, refreshing and just what the doctor (or nurse) called for on a cold day. The sriracha and jalapeños add just the right amount of spice, the herbs contribute a freshness and the spices just the right flavor. Dish up a heaping bowl of Beef Pho with Zoodles.

Ingredients (serves 4).

For the Broth: *

  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and shaved
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 4 c low sodium beef broth
  • 2 c water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/8 t ground coriander
  • 1/2 c matchstick carrots
  • 2 t minced garlic or 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 T fish sauce
  • 1 T reduced sodium soy sauce

* NOTE: an authentic pho broth calls for 2 whole anise stars. I really dislike the taste of anise so I omitted them. If you want the most authentic flavor possible, toss them in!

For the Pho:

  • 1/2 lb sirloin steak, round eye, or London broil
  • 4 oz dried rice noodles
  • 1-2 zucchini, spiralized
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, deseeded and minced
  • 1 c bean sprouts
  • 1/2 c fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 c fresh basil
  • Sriracha
  • 4 lime wedges
  • 2-3 t extra soy sauce per serving (optional)


  1. OPTIONAL: Slice the onion into half moons and the ginger into medallions. Set the broiler to high and char the onions and ginger for about 5 min. Dry roast the spices over high heat in a large pan tossing/stirring continuously until fragrant.
  2. In a large boil, combine the charred onions and ginger and the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then simmer covered for 25-30 min.
  3. Pop the steak into the freezer while the broth simmers. This makes it really firm so you can thinly slice it to flash cook with the steaming broth. Once frozen, use a sharp knife to slice the beef against the grain; the slices shouldn’t be thicker than 1/4 inches. Once sliced, store in the fridge until the broth and noodles are done.
  4. With about 8-10 min left for the broth, cook rice noodles according to package directions. Add zucchini at the same time to cook. Drain and set aside.
  5. Once the broth has simmered for the full time, bring it back to a boil. Using tongs, carefully lower beef into the rolling boil so it is fully submerged for about 10-20 sec. It will quickly turn from pink to brown. Set aside.
    • Alternatively, you can plate the thin beef slices in the bowls and pour the boiling broth over them (see photo below). I have tried both methods and prefer the dipping to ensure the beef is evenly and more fully cooked.
  6. Plate rice noodles and zoodles. Top with beef and broth.
  7. Top with fresh chopped basil, fresh cilantro, chopped scallions, sprouts and jalapeño or any toppings of choice. Add 1 T of soy sauce to each bowl and salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Lightly drizzle with sriracha. Squeeze fresh lime juice over each bowl.
  9. Serve hot and enjoy!

Inspired by my Vegan Pho, but beef version adapted from The Kitchn‘s “How to Make Quick Vietnamese Beef Noodle Pho.


1 thought on “Beefed Up Pho”

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