At its heart a street food, beef pho is a Vietnamese soup filled with rice noodles, fresh herbs, and meat.
If you decide to switch out your rice noodles for a paleo-friendly alternative – like zoodles – you will still find a beefy broth filled with the aroma of cinnamon, star anise, and cardamom. And as you slurp up your zoodles, you’ll encounter those deep savory notes of fish sauce with bright, peppery bits of fresh basil and a squeeze of lime.
Because rice noodles are out, be sure to get the zoodle texture you’re looking for and follow this recipe for zoodles .
Beef Pho with Zoodles
For the broth:
- 1 onion
- 6 inches fresh ginger
- 6 cloves garlic
- 3 pt beef stock, or chicken stock
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
- 2 tbsp. fish sauce, plus more to taste
- 4 star anise
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 black cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1 tsp. coriander seeds
- 2 tsp. coarse sea salt
For the zucchini noodles:
- 8 zucchinis
- coarse sea salt
For the pho:
- 8 oz london broil steak, (or other lean steak) frozen and partially thawed
- 4 scallions
- 1 carrot
- 1 jalapeño pepper, optional for heat
- 1/2 c fresh basil
- 2 tbsp. fish sauce
- 3 limes
- For the broth: Coarsely chop the onion. Cut the ginger in half and coarsely chop the garlic.
- In a slow cooker, add the broth, onion, ginger, garlic, honey, peppercorns, fish sauce, star anise, cloves, cardamom pod, cinnamon stick, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and sea salt. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for up to 8 hours to allow the flavors to infuse. Strain the broth and replace back into the slow cooker to keep hot.
- For the zucchini noodles: To make zucchini noodles, either purchase a julienne peeler or a spiral cutter, OR simply use a sharp knife to cut the zucchini first lengthwise into strips, then slice those strips as finely as possible into spaghetti-like pieces. Sprinkle some sea salt over the zoodles and let them sit for 25 minutes in the sink to sweat out excess water. After the 25 minutes, rinse and pat them dry with a paper towel. Use raw or cook in a large pan over medium heat for about 2 minute
- For the pho: Slice partially thawed steak AGAINST the grain as thinly as possible; set aside. Slice scallions into long thin strips. Use a julienne tool or sharp knife to slice carrot into ribbons. Thinly slice jalapeno, if using. Chop basil.
- Divide the zoodles among the bowls. Place several slices of raw sliced beef and carrot and scallion ribbons on top. Pour hot beef broth into each bowl and serve immediately with lime wedges and optional sliced jalapenos.