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Healthy Chicken Pho with Zucchini Noodles

March 11, 2015

Homemade Vietnamese Pho soup that’s been healthified with zucchini noodles and packed-full of veggies. Don’t be intimidated, this Healthy Chicken Pho with Zucchini Noodles is a lot easier than you think!

Homemade Vietnamese Pho soup that's been healthified with zucchini noodles and packed-full of veggies. Don't be intimidated, this Healthy Chicken Pho with Zucchini Noodles is a lot easier than you think!Another month, another round-up! We are so excited to be back this month with another healthy round-up series, this time featuring everyone’s favourite new gadget, the spiralizer.

Not surprisingly, all 6 of us own the same spiralizer and are all completely obsessed with it. I find myself using it mainly to make my Baked Curly Fries but the possibilities truly are endless.

With a spiralizer, you’re able to turn almost any vegetable into vegetable noodles! It’s an awesome tool if you’re keeping things low carb, or in my case just looking to up your vegetable game!

Chicken Pho will forever remind me of Pho Bang New York (yes that’s its real name…) which naturally is located in Montreal (wtf?). When C was living there post-grad his loft was in The Old Port, which if you have any experience with MTL know that it’s barren when it comes to restaurants. Sure, there’s tons of rip-off touristy places or fancy-shmancy restos but for a good ole’ casual dinner there is nothing. The closest grocery store is a half hour away…my greatest nightmare.

Homemade Vietnamese Pho soup that's been healthified with zucchini noodles and packed-full of veggies. Don't be intimidated, this Healthy Chicken Pho with Zucchini Noodles is a lot easier than you think!As a result, C and I ate Pho from one of the few options (still a 20 minute walk away) almost everyday. It helps that it’s AMAZING but it’s a little low on the veggie-count so I’m pretty sure I developed scurvy everytime I visited.

Since moving back to Toronto, I’ve made it my mission to master pho at home. I’ve learned two lessons, you MUST roast the onion and ginger and the deliciousness is all in the quality of the broth. I’ve tried making cheaters broth with just chicken stock, and I’ve done the whole simmering bones stock for hours on end, which is delicious but takes forever. Fortunately, I managed to find a happy place in between which requires only an hour of simmering but is still completely delicious.

Homemade Vietnamese Pho soup that's been healthified with zucchini noodles and packed-full of veggies. Don't be intimidated, this Healthy Chicken Pho with Zucchini Noodles is a lot easier than you think!I think people get intimidated when a recipe is outside of their day-to-day culture. I don’t have a Vietnamese bone in my body, but this Vietnamese chicken soup certainly doesn’t show it. It really is just standard chicken soup with a few extra spices. I promise you can handle it.

Not that pho is inherently unhealthy, but this version is way healthier! With a ton of added veggies from the bok choy, bean sprouts and zucchini noodles, I’m thinking I could relive my Montreal days and eat this soup every single day. Looks like my spiralizer is going to get a serious workout!

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Healthy Chicken Pho with Zucchini Noodles

  • Author: Davida Lederle
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 large bowls 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 large chicken breasts, bone in
  • 10 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 inch knob of ginger
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • optional: 1/2 hot pepper, sliced
  • 2 heads of bok choy
  • 4 handfuls of bean sprouts
  • 3 large zucchinis, spiralized on the smallest blade.
  • fresh basil
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. Peel onion and chop in half.
  3. Peel ginger and slice into 3 small chunks.
  4. Place on a baking sheet and bake on top rack for 25 minutes.
  5. Flip onion and ginger halfway through.
  6. Add in star anise and whole cloves in last 5 minutes of baking to toast slightly.
  7. Place stock in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  8. Once boiling add in chicken breasts and cook for 5 minutes.
  9. Skim off the “scum” that floats to the top and discard.
  10. Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool slightly.
  11. When oven is done, chop up ginger and onions and add to stock.
  12. Chop chicken off the bone and add to stock.
  13. I like to add the chicken bones back into the stock to give it more depth of flavor but this is optional.
  14. Add toasted star anise and cloves, fish sauce, coconut sugar, salt, black pepper and hot pepper if using to stock.
  15. Bring stock a boil and then lower heat and let simmer for 1 hour.
  16. Remove chicken bones if using.
  17. Add in bok choy and allow to wilt.
  18. Divide bean sprouts and zucchini noodles into 4 bowls and stop with soup.
  19. Place basil and lime wedge on top and serve.
  20. If storing for several days, keep stock separate from bean sprouts and zucchini noodles so they don’t get mushy.

P.S. This is the spiralizer I use!

Like this recipe? Here are a few others you might enjoy:

Thai Curry Carrot Lentil Soup
Detox Vegetable Soup
Healthy Vegetarian Pho

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  • Reply
    Melanie
    February 7, 2021 at 11:08 pm

    Can you specify how the bok choy is supposed to be cut? This seems like a lot of bok choy if we are keeping the whole amount. More detail on this step would be appreciated.

    • Reply
      Davida Lederle
      February 8, 2021 at 9:58 am

      Generally all bok choy is cut at the base – about 1 inch off the bottom. You’ll have a bit of the thick white stems and the green leaves left. It may seem like a lot but Bok choy wilts down quite a bit.

  • Reply
    Leigh
    May 13, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    Made this recipe for the first time 3 or more years ago and it was a hit. Made it again tonight and it was once again a win.

  • Reply
    Johanna
    December 17, 2018 at 7:54 am

    I was super sick all weekend, and decided to make this soup last night – with lots of ginger and lots of spice. No joke, I woke up this morning feeling 300% better. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Reply
    Thao Le
    January 14, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    What kind of recipe is this? I’m sorry to say this and it will come across harsh but your recipe is insulting my culture. Your recipe should be called ASIAN INSPIRED CHICKEN SOUP. Pho is made the same method for generations, if you are non-asian and want to learn how to make it follow the way it’s supposed to be made. Do not call it CHICKEN pho and add wacky ingredients. Props for trying to be healthy but your recipe is ridiculous.

  • Reply
    Nora (A Clean Bake)
    March 22, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Pho is one of my favorite foods, but it is almost always made with wheat noodles, so I haven’t had it in ages. This totally makes my day! In fact, I love all of these recipes which will allow me to give my long-neglected spiralizer some use!

  • Reply
    Ange @ Cowgirl Runs
    March 11, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    I love my spiralizer so much (we have the same one!) and I love Pho, so this is pretty much genius.

    I’ve also recently become obsessed with ramen, so I might need to see if the zoodles work for that as well 🙂

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Nosh and Nourish
    March 11, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    I’m seriously in love with this soup. So many great flavors going on AND packed with veggies. Making this soon!!

  • Reply
    Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness
    March 11, 2015 at 7:45 am

    My hubs is BIG on Pad Thai, but as he just went grain-free, we always drive by the little restaurants and he complains that his life is over.
    Until now. Totally in love with this Pho girl! Pinned!

  • Reply
    Brittany
    March 11, 2015 at 7:38 am

    Isaac and I love pho and I’ve been curious about using zoodles instead of rice noodles. So glad it turned out — I can’t wait to try it.

  • Reply
    Cara's Healthy Cravings
    March 11, 2015 at 7:24 am

    Pho, definitely one of my favourite winter meals, it is so comforting! I feel as though the zucchini would lighten this one, so it’s the perfect dish to transition in Spring, when you still want some warmth to your meals!
    I agree with you on roasting the onion and garlic really well. I also add ginger, cilantro stems and Chinese five spice into my broth, it’s so great!

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