Paleo Pho with Bone Broth
Updated: Mar 7
Rich seasoned and savory bone broth is the star of this beautiful bowl of Paleo pho full of fresh zucchini noodles, crunchy mung bean sprouts, tender slices of beef tenderloin, and sweet basil. This simple but tempting dish comes together in minutes by making the broth the day before. You can speed up the process of making the bone broth if you have an instant pot, but slow cooker and stove top methods are still just as easy!
A good bowl of pho is all about the succulent broth, it is ever-y-thing!! This Paleo and Whole30 friendly version is gluten free and I promise you won't miss the rice noodles. I love how the thin zucchini noodles soften in the piping hot broth to a perfect al dente while you still get that fresh crisp bite from the mung beans. This is one dish I could eat every single day!
Why Bone Broth is So Good for You!
You may be asking, why is there so much hype about bone broth and is there really a difference between it and other broths you can find? Simply put, yes, there is a difference and depending on what you are cooking, you may choose between a bone broth or stock, or a meat broth (which is the most common type of broth you will find in the store.)
Meat broth is made from simmering meat and aromatics such as onion, celery, carrots, and spices. It is typically lighter on flavor and thinner in consistency and is a great base for many dishes such as gravies, soups, stew, and rice dishes. Choosing a high quality meat broth or making your own will provide you with a nutritious broth that contains vitamins, minerals, small amounts of protein. .
Bone broth or stock, is made from simmering the bones from an animal with or without aromatics for a longer period of time yielding a much more nutritionally dense broth. Roasting the bones beforehand is optional and will help to flavor the broth. Bone broth contains vitamins, minerals, and protein just like meat broths, but in higher concentrations. Since bone broth is made from simmering the bones from an animal, the primary source of protein found in bone broth is collagen.
Collagen is the most abundant protein (approximately 30%) in our bodies and is found in our skin, connective tissues, and bones. Consuming foods high in collagen, like bone broth, supports healthy, hydrated skin, joint health, bone density and bone health, and healthy blood sugars .
So grab your ingredients and let's get cooking!
Paleo Pho with Bone Broth Ingredients
To make the Bone Broth:
1 Beef Shoulder*
2 Stalks of Celery, cut into 2-3" pieces
1 Head of Garlic, halved (no need to peel)
1 Onion, halved (no need to peel)
1 Large Carrot, cut into 2-3" pieces
1-2 Fennel Stalks (opt)
Fresh Ginger, 2" piece
Fresh Turmeric, 2" piece
1 Tbsp ACV
1 tsp Black Peppercorns
2-3 Cardamom Pods
1 Whole Cinnamon Stick
3 Whole Cloves
3-4 Star Anise
6-8 cups Filtered Water
*If you cannot find a beef shoulder, replace with 2-3 pounds of beef marrow bones.
To Make the Soup:
1 Tbsp Coarse Sea Salt
3 Tbsp Fish Sauce
4-5 medium Zucchini, julienned into noodles
1 Fennel Bulb, thinly sliced (opt)
3 cups Mung Bean Sprouts
12-15 leaves Fresh Thai Basil
1-2 Jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced
1 Fresh Lime, cut into wedges
16-24oz Beef Tenderloin, very thinly sliced
How to Make Paleo Pho with Bone Broth
To make the Bone Broth:
1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees
2. Place the beef shoulder on a baking sheet (you can line it with parchment if you like: makes clean up a lot easier!) and roast in the oven for 40-minutes.
3. Transfer the shoulder to your crock pot, a large stock pot, or an instant pot and add the remaining broth ingredients and cook:
Crock Pot: 18-24 hours on low heat
Stock Pot: 16-20 hours on low heat
Instant Pot: 4-hours, natural release
4. After the broth is finished simmering, remove and discard the bone(s) and aromatics. Using a mesh strainer, pour the broth into glass jars, cover and cool six hours to overnight in the refrigerator.
To Make the Soup:
1. When you are ready to use the broth, remove the fat disk at the top and discard it. Transfer the broth to a large pot, add the salt and fish sauce, cover and heat to a boil.
2. If the beef is not already thin sliced (you can often ask your butcher to do this for you as a courtesy with advanced notice), freeze for 1-hour to 90-minutes (depending on the thickness) as this will allow for easier slicing. Using a very sharp knife (I like to use my boning knife for this) and slice the beef against the grain, set aside, cover and refrigerate if you are doing this step in advance.
3. Rinse the zucchini and slice off the ends. Using a spiralizer, julienne peeler, or mandolin with a julienne attachment, carefully prep julienne the zucchini into "noodles," and set aside. Cover and refrigerate if doing this in advance.
4. Thinly slice the jalapeño, cut the lime into wedges, and rinse the basil and mung bean sprouts. For the bean sprouts I like to fill a large bowl with cold water and throughly rinse them this way. They float to the top and it's easier to find root ends and the bean skins you may want to discard before eating. Once they are rinsed, drain in a colander.
5. In a soup bowl add one cup of zucchini noodles, 1/2 cup of mung bean sprouts, a few slices of fresh fennel (opt), jalapeño slices, and four to six ounces of sliced beef. Using a ladle, pour over the hot broth and top with basil, serving with a lime wedge.
Q: What if I can't find Thai basil?
A: No problem, regular basil will work just as well.
Q: Are mung bean sprouts Paleo?
A: Yes, because they are sprouted they don't have as many phytates and are more easily digested.
Q: Can I use pork instead of beef?
A: Absolutely, just make sure that it's thin sliced and that the broth is hot enough to fully cook the pork.
If you like this recipe, check these out!
Chicken Bulgogi Bowls: Hands down one of my all time favorite meals! When I make the chicken bulgogi I always make extra just to I can have this for lunch the next day!
Easy BYOB Buddha Bowls: Loaded with fresh veggies and my favorite ginger lime tahini dressing, these delicious bowls are hard to beat. My kids absolutely love these since they get to load all their favorite add-ins!
I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does. - Amy