Faux Pho – Quick Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup

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As you know, I have a thing for international meals especially all things Asian. Now, I’m not great at geography so I’m not sure if Vietnam officially qualifies as Asian but it’s over there <insert wild hand gesture> somewhere. One of the Vietnamese staples of comfort food is an amazing soup called pho.

It’s pronounced “fuh” like duh in case you’re wondering. The real pho takes a while to make since you let the broth simmer with veggies, oxtail, soup bones, and all kinds of good things. After hours of simmering, then you strain it and let it rest for a while. Let me tell you, this is SO not something that I have the patience nor will to do.

When I want pho, I want pho not pho-in-days. So I get wild and make faux pho to satisfy the urge and also to clear out the fridge of leftover herbs, veggies, and beef. Make sure you check out the notes for a few details.

Faux Pho – Quick Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup

  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth OR beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp (12g) sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp Chinese 5 Spice powder
  • 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 8 oz packages of shiritaki noodles OR 8 oz rice noodles
  • 16 oz rare eye of round steak OR deli sliced rare roast beef
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1 /2 cups (85g) broccoli slaw
  • Lime slices, sriracha, hoisin sauce, thai chili peppers for garnish

In a large pot, heat the broth, water, sugar, ginger, 5 spice, soy sauce and lime juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the noodles and steak.

If you’re using the shiritaki noodles, drain them and rinse them well to remove the fishy smell. If you’re using rice noodles, prepare them according to package directions which is usually to soak them in hot water.

Thinly slice the eye of round steak if you’re not using the pre-sliced kind. To make it easier, you can freeze it for about 20 minutes beforehand.  Remove the broth from the heat and stir in the sesame oil.

Divide the beef, noodles, basil, cilantro, and broccoli slaw evenly into 4 bowls. Add the broth just before serving and serve with the garnishes.

Makes 4 servings at approximately 241 calories – 28g protein, 12g carbs, and 9g fat for the shiritaki noodle option.


  • I made an eye of round roast for dinner one night and had a big piece leftover. I thinly sliced it and froze it for an occasion just like this. It made this soup so easy since all I had to do was thaw and drop it into the bowls. Always look for creative ways to use your leftovers and you could save time too.
  • Real pho is served with bean sprouts. Go figure, I was fresh out of bean sprouts. <Pretend here I ever actually have bean sprouts.> I did have a bag of broccoli slaw in the fridge that resembled bean sprouts in shape and texture so broccoli slaw it was.
  • Shiritaki noodles are some kind of bizarre starchy, low calorie veggie that can be used in place of noodles. They call them zero calorie noodles and they come in a variety of sizes like spaghetti and linguini. Honestly I have no clue what they’re really made from and they do take a bit to get over the weird smell. You can now find them in regular places like Walmart which is nice.

I had a partial box of rice noodles in the pantry and I was pretty sure The Kid wouldn’t eat the shiritaki noodles. I used rice noodles for her soup. I killed two birds with one stone – I got rid of the box from the pantry and I didn’t have to listen to her make comments about the weird noodles. LOL. That’s a win in my book.

Experiment with the pho garnishes to find ones that you like. Traditional pho is served with plates of basil, cilantro, lime slices, hoisin sauce and more. Everyone adds what they want and makes the soup perfect for them. Now that’s what I call comfort food. 🙂

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