Kitchen Basics

Paleo Beef Pho

Kitchen Basics

Paleo and Whole 30 Beef Pho

Mike Nadelman
Traditional pho originated from Nam Dinh province on the northern Vietnamese coast, just 40 miles northwest of Hanoi. The dish was created during the 19th century French occupation—resulting in the permanent bonding of Vietnamese noodles and herbs with a French-influenced beef broth similar to pot-au-feu. In the 20th century, many of Nam Dinh's population moved to Hanoi's urban and industrial center, and they took with them their quintessential dish, pho bac. Some set up street stalls to sell their hot noodle broth–distinguished by a taste of slow-charred vegetables and marrow bones stewed–to the working class.
While some culinary purists are reticent to name anything beyond a broth, a noodle, and bit of meat "pho," today's modern pho adaptations tend to be more open to creative interpretation. In this recipe below, Brodo's beef broth, filled with real, whole ingredients, serves as a quick stand-in for a bone and veggie flavor profile that might have taken you hours to achieve at home. The ginger, green Thai chili, bean sprouts, and scallions provide a more western take on South Vietnam's herb plate, which usually features basil, cilantro, jalapeño, lime, and bean sprouts. 
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Dish, Soup
Cuisine Keto, Paleo, Vietnamese, Whole 30
Servings 2 Servings



  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 star of star anise
  • 1 large shallot peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 piece clove
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1.5 Tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 22 oz container of Brodo beef broth or Better than Bouillon


  • 1 green Thai chili thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of scallions thinly sliced
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 bunch of mint stems removed
  • 1 bunch basil or Thai basil stems removed
  • 1 package or approx. 3-4 cups of any veggie noodle you like such as sweet potato, zucchini, butternut squash, etc.
  • 8 oz beef sirloin or chuck thinly sliced and pounded even thinner with a meat tenderizer.
  • Lime wedges to taste


  • PREHEAT a Dutch Oven on the stove top to a very high temperature.
  • PLACE the ginger and shallot into the pan, cut side down. Press down with a spatula until a black char is achieved (anywhere from 1-4 minutes depending on how hot you get the pan).
  • REMOVE ginger and shallot from heat and set aside.
  • ADD star anise, cinnamon and clove to the pan. Shake around for 30 seconds, then remove everything from the pan and set aside.
  • PLACE charred ginger, shallot, and spices into a 2 quart pot. Cover with Brodo beef broth and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • REDUCE heat to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes, then stir in juice of one lime and fish sauce.
  • GATHER all garnishes onto a plate.
  • PUT your veggie noodles into another pot and strain your broth over the noodles.
  • SIMMER until noodles are tender to your; time will vary depending on the veggie you choose. Check for tenderness every few minutes until the noodles are cooked to your liking.
  • ASSEMBLE your bowls. Divide the sliced beef and the noodles evenly between two bowls.
  • BRING the broth to a boil and pour half into each bowl (very hot broth is critical, as this will cook the sliced beef)
  • GARNISH with as much or as little of the garnishes as you like.


Keyword keto, paleo
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