Healthy Recipe: Vietnamese Pho

A savory bowl of Pho never fails to soothe the soul.  A unique combination of earthy and aromatic spices make this revitalizing broth incredibly memorable and extra nutritious.  While traditional recipes typically require a full day of simmering in tender, love, and care, this recipe takes a shortcut to flavor town.

Ingredients:

For the Broth:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1" piece of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 slices of chiles
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 oz dried shitake mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp Chinese 5 spice
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp tamari
  • miso paste (1 tsp per bowl)

For the Noodles + Veggies + Protein:

  • Noodles: Try Happy Pho Noodles or use zucchini noodles
  • Veggies: Fresh or frozen vegetables (I like using bok choy, broccoli, kale, & mushrooms)
  • Protein: poached egg, tofu, beans, chicken or turkey, pork, beef

For Toppings & Garnishes:

  • fresh cilantro
  • radish, thinly sliced
  • jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • lime wedges
  • thai basil leaves
  • mung bean sprouts
  • sriracha
  • sesame oil

Directions:

In a large pot, sauté garlic, ginger, onion, and chiles in olive oil until fragrant.  Add the dried shitake mushrooms and Chinese five spice and toss for about 30 seconds.  Next add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Add the vinegar, and tamari and reduce to a simmer, for about 10 minutes.  Taste the broth, add more five spice if needed.  Meanwhile, prepare the noodles. 

Strain the broth, and return to the pot.  Drop your veggies into the hot tub and cook until fork tender (about 8 minutes for raw veggies, about 2-3 minutes for frozen). 

In a serving bowl, spoon 1 tsp of miso paste and a splash of room temp waster and a few tablespoons of broth.  Use a fork or whisk to dissolve the miso.  (Caution: be sure to temper the water, as too high of a temperature will destroy the good-for-you bacteria in the miso).

To serve, place a serving a noodles to the bowl containing the miso mixture, and top with your protein of choice.  Ladle the broth and the vegetables into your bowl.  Squeeze a lime over the bowl and top with your favorite garnishes.

Got leftovers?  The flavors marry and intensify overnight, making the broth even better the next day.  Better yet, freeze the extra broth in an ice cube tray, pop the cubes into individual slip lock bags, and you are just a quick thaw away from a bowl of pho later in the month!

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Lindsey Kane is a Registered Dietitian in Philadelphia. For more nutrition tips and recipes, visit her blog at biteforchange.com.

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