Monday, January 6, 2014

Clean Eating/Whole 30 Day 5ish? -- Paleo Pho

I think it's Day 5 of my clean eating experiment, but who's counting? I figure by the end of January is when this thing is over, since I started over the period of a few days. Anyways.

My new foodie obsession: Pho. It's one of those tastes that's just impossible to explain. Before I tried it, I had heard people sing the praises of Pho, but I didn't get it. How could mere chicken soup be SO GOOD? Then, upon moving to Austin, my friend took me to her favorite Pho spot.

I was hooked. Something about it--the veggies, the tender meat, the delicate noodles, or the flavor-packed broth--just works. It's one of those stick-to-your-ribs comfort food that's hard to beat.

So, days into my Whole 30 challenge when a cold hit (I'm told it's due to the cedar pollen being at an all time high) all I wanted was this sweet, spicy soup to kick the cold out of my nose. The soup itself is pretty paleo, so it'd fit in well with my 30 day diet. Some adjustments had to be made, like omitting the noodles, but overall this is pretty perfect. The spicy zing helped drain my sinuses while the hearty broth gave the protein and nutrients I needed to kick the cold.

And playing the part of the noodles in this sickness busting recipe? Zucchini strands!

Simply use a julienne peeler and peel the zucchini down to the seeds on all sides. Viola! Instant, paleo-approved, gluten-free noodles!

Paleo Pho
(Adapted from Paleo Cupboard and Inspiralized)

  • 5 cups chicken broth (I made mine homemade: 1 whole chicken + 2 carrots + 4 celery stalks + 1 onion + 1 tsp peppercorns + 1 tsp salt + 2 bay leaves + enough water to cover it all, simmered until chicken was cooked through, strained and fat scooped off the top after chilling overnight)
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 1 knob fresh ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1.5 cups cooked, chopped chicken (used chicken I pulled off the bird used in the broth)
  • 1/2 cup diced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup kale, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thin
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, julienned
  • 1 lime, wedged

-Start by simmering the broth for 30 minutes with the star anise, ginger, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, and peppercorns, until the broth is fragrant and flavors have intensified.

-Strain the broth, getting all the spices out, then return to medium heat.

-Add the mushrooms, kale, onion, jalapeno, and chicken. Cook for about ten minutes, letting veggies soften and flavors meld.

-Prepare serving bowls (4-6) by placing equal amounts of julienned zucchini in each bowl. Ladle soup into bowls and top with cilantro and lime.


  1. i've never had pho, but i did recently make the best chicken noodle soup of my life so i have no doubt pho is good. i just need to try it! gorgeous noodles, too!

  2. Love this! I haven't had Pho since I became vego because it is pretty much based on beef stock. Yours looks delicious :)

  3. I love a good bowl of Pho, especially this time of year! It's so yummy and I love all the toppings that usually come on the side! Your bowl looks tasty!

  4. I made a veggie pho recently that was awesome! I love seeing the different flavors everyone puts in their broth.

  5. Folks trying this recipe - make sure you don't short-cut the first step! A delicious, aromatic broth is a key part of pho. I liked this dish a lot - thanks for posting!

  6. On day 9 of my Whole30 with a sick husband! Making this tonight - thanks for the recipe!

  7. I live in Austin too, what's your favorite pho spot?!