Easy Fish Free, Gluten Free Beef Pho Recipe -- Delicious Vietnamese Noodle Soup, Allergy Friendly

I was cleaning out my freezer (yay, spring cleaning!) and I had a bunch of beef broth in it. Part of that beef broth, to be honest, was something that I intentionally made to be able to cook Asian food with it, many recipes I never got around to yet, but I still needed to make room in my freezer. I also had some cooked beef, a roast that I had boiled and sliced to use for a steak salad, but had leftovers. I wanted to make something delicious that highlighted these flavors without needing to spend too much work or needing to go grocery shopping, and thought about making pho. 

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup, prounounced fuh, that contains herbs, meat, rice noodles, and broth. There are so many different variations of it, but I wasn't sure I had the necessary ingredients for it. However, after googling it a bunch I put this recipe together that came out absolutely terrific. I can't tell you how authentic it is, because I'm not Vietnamese, nor have I eaten pho in an authentic Vietnamese restaurant, but from my research, it all seems pretty authentic other than soy sauce I used in place of fish sauce, and the kombu which I decided to throw in there to add even more umami, but you can totally leave it out if you want more authentic.

If you want to make this paleo, it wouldn't be officially pho then, but you can use zoodles or spaghetti squash instead of the noodles, and the coconut aminos option, and it will be totally paleo.

This recipe as is is gluten free, allergy friendly, and absolutely amazing. It was a hit with everyone that tried it.

Easy Gluten Free Beef Pho Recipe -- Vietnamese Noodle Soup

12 cups beef broth
2 cups water
2/3 cup wood ear mushrooms, dried shitake mushrooms, or a mix
1 box fresh button mushrooms
1 square kombu (optional)
2-2 1/2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 onions
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 stick cinnamon
5 cloves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2/3 cup gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos
2 1/2 cups sliced cooked beef (buy the cheapest cut of roast you can and boil it in salted water until fully soft. Use this water as your broth and the beef in your soup.)
Salt to taste
4 cups greens- I used sea beet, but you can use spinach, bok choy, or any greens you like.
1/2-1 package rice noodles
Garnishes for serving (use any):
Bean sprouts
Hot peppers
Sriracha sauce
Lemon/lime juice
Hoisin sauce

1. In a pot put your beef broth, water, kombu, soy sauce, mushrooms (dried and fresh), ginger, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, pepper and fennel seeds, and bring to a simmer.

2. Add salt to taste.

3. Add greens, noodles, and cooked beef and cook until noodles are fully cooked.

4. Adjust salt to taste.

5. Serve hot with garnishes of choice.


Have you ever had pho before? What was in it? Have you ever made pho? Does this look similar to how you made it? Does this look like a recipe you'd try? What are your favorite garnishes for pho?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. "fish free." Hooray, said my family. Thanks!

  2. Hello, I'm Vietnamese and found your version of pho interesting, it's like a mix of the beef and vegetarian version (with the different mushrooms). It's a little different to how my mum makes it but I feel that a central part of Vietnamese home cooking is making use of what you have and what is in season, which you've achieved! I tend to make a chicken version of this (as it is quicker), use cloves and star anise as well (though it is a strong spice) and fish sauce. My mum also uses saw tooth coriander and thai basil as additional fresh herb accompaniments.

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