Posted by on Jan 7, 2013 in 21DSD, Dinner, Lunch, soup, Whole 30 | 8 comments

Pho was the very first thing I ate when I first moved to San Francisco almost 6 years ago.

I was very early to meet up with my future roommate to sign the lease, and decided to grab a bite in my new neighborhood. Just having a neighborhood was an exciting thing, not to mention the fact that there was a Vietnamese restaurant there. I grew up in the ‘burbs of Massachusetts and Connecticut. There was no such thing as walking out my door and eating Vietnamese food 3 minutes later.

So I wandered into Kim Son on Balboa St and perused the menu. I made the wise choice of defaulting to the adorable old man working there, and asked, “What’s good?” He brought out two things: a giant (GIANT) bowl of BBQ pork rice noodle pho, and fresh rolls with shiitake mushrooms, veggies, probably some tofu (merp), fresh basil and mint.

I kid you not: I have eaten at Kim Son at least 20 times since that January afternoon six years ago, and have ordered the same exact thing. Every single time.

The last time I ate there it was just as delicious as ever, but I got glutened. No fault of theirs; nothing changed about the soup. I have just transitioned from being “sort of gluten sensitive, but a little soy sauce won’t kill me” to “I’m going to ask you a million questions about this dish before I take a single bite”. Getting glutened these days is no joke. Now that I’ve wised up and eliminated it for real, my body doesn’t tolerate even a crumb of it. We’ll call it bittersweet.




serves 4 (or 2 if you’re going with GIANT Vietnamese restaurant size bowls)

6 cups chicken or beef broth, preferably homemade *
4 cups zucchini, “noodled” with a julienne peeler or spiral slicer (about four zucchini)
4 cups cooked sliced meat, whatever kind you’d like  **
1/3 cup coconut aminos
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1.5 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
small handful of fresh herbs: Thai basil, mint, cilantro (either one or a combo), divided
thin slices of jalapeño
lime wedges

  • In a medium pot, get your bone broth nice and steamy over medium heat
  • Add the ginger, coconut aminos, fish sauce and about 1 tablespoon of the fresh herbs
  • Simmer for a few minutes
  • Add the noodles and meat and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the noodles soften and the meat is warmed through.
  • Serve with jalapeño slices, lime wedges, and remaining fresh herbs to be added to each bowl, as each person likes. You can also add the jalapeño to the soup while it simmers, but fair warning: it gets spicy quick!

* If you don’t have a tried and true method for making bone broth, here is how I do it. It’s somewhere between quick and slow, and it works every time! For some other options, here is a quick method from Nom Nom Paleo, and a slow cooker method from Balanced Bites

** Any leftover meat is good in this soup, it completely depends on what you’re in the mood for. I used roast turkey breast this time, but BBQ chicken, roast chicken, pork chops, grilled shrimp, salmon, cod, meatballs, even a combination of any of the above would be lovely!

What’s your favorite kind of pho?


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  1. That used to be one of my favorite pho places, and I stopped eating there cause I thought I got “msg’d” I’m not that gluten sensitive, don’t eat it often, but I did get a monster headache after that last time, and I attributed it to the msg. :(

  2. I think my last dine there I got a gluten / MSG combo punch. Their Pho is the tastiest I’ve had, but that MSG is a killer. (And I hate to say it, but perhaps the reason it’s so delicious?!) :\

    At any rate, if you have leftovers in your fridge, this one takes less than 10 minutes to throw together. No headache :)

  3. I’ve been very lucky in that the Pho place down the street from me has not glutened me. I asked a bunch of questions and got funny looks before I ordered the first time “pho doesn’t have soy sauce!” “good, but that’s not always the case”

    I keep it simple with just rare steak and brisket and/or flank steak

  4. mmmmmm…don’t forget star anise and cinnamon sticks!!!! :)~~ We do the beef or chicken pho at home with kelp noodles once in a while.

    • Oh yeah! Next time I will definitely add those. Thanks!

  5. Shiritaki noodles all the way! I use steamy kitchen’s chicken pho recipe. She has you char the ginger and onions first for depth of flavor. Yum!

    • I had to look those up, because I’ve heard of them, but wasn’t sure what they were made of… I’ll have to try them. Not the tofu ones, obviously.

  6. I made this tonight for dinner (using the bone broth I made based on this site’s instructions) and it was a hit! Everyone in the house gobbled it up. This will become part of our regular soup line up for sure! Thanks for the recipe!

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