The best thing about slurping up a big bowl full of my Fast and Fit Steak Pho with Zucchini Noodlesis the overload of delicious meat and veggie goodness sans the traditional noodles (we be low carb-ing it over here). The second-best thing is cracking Pho jokes, puns and innuendos with the family while eating this fast and fit meal. Kids: “Mom, dinner tonight is pho-nomenal, it’s un-pho-gettable! You should take a picture of it, it would be good pho-tography.” Me: “Only the best pho you guys, that’s pho-sure.”
But, no joke, this quick soup is not only “good pho you” it’s weeknight dinner winner when you just don’t have hour after hour to simmer down oxtails, beef knuckles and leg bones and exotic charred spices into the traditional Vietnamese broth. So, I might have broken a few ancient tenets of pho-making here and there – but, then again, I used zoodles (gasp) instead of the thin white rice noodle that my neighbor’s grandmother would more approve of. I’m a rebel who, with my zucchini, is squashing all rules!
So, as I mentioned, I said Tạm biệt, sayonara and adios to the time-consuming broth and substituted a mixture of beef broth from a carton and bone broth from a bottle. You fit foodies know these bone broths are all the rage and super nutritious – thankfully, bottles are showing up more frequently on the soup aisle of every day grocery stores. Epic is a brand I like (this is not sponsored) and, serendipitously, also a home-grown Austin brand. Look for it in your market, or order here on Amazon. Keeping some semblance of the traditional spices isn’t that hard. Just throw in a quartered onion and slices of ginger in the pot and bundle up whole star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and a cardamom pod. A simple tea diffuser or “tea ball” is the ideal vessel for these whole spices while they boil in the liquid for 30 minutes – you can also bundle them up in a coffee filter. Don’t have the “whole” spices and don’t feel like shopping? Just substitute a pinch of each grounds spice from a jar, I won’t tell.
Let there be more kitchen disobedience. When it comes to the noodles, there is no official noodle. I’ve used spiralized zucchini instead in my mission to get the family to each more veggies (and keep my refined carbs down and eat Paleo when I can). I love to spiralize with my Kitchen Aide Mixer Spiral Attachment – but you can also use a cheapie hand spiral gadget or julienne with squash into long strips. The low-carb, low-calorie faux (phoaux?) pasta quickly self-cooks in the steaming hot broth.
Did I mention that I originally created this recipe for BeefLovingTexans.org! I’ve used top sirloin in my recipe, but other tender steak like strip steak, flat-iron or ribeye would work equally well. And, I always pull the steak off on the quite rare side as I pan grill indoors — I know that the hot broth will continue to cook it while it sits in the soup, and I don’t want tough soup.
When serving my Fast and Fit Steak Pho with Zucchini Noodles, each person gets to top their bowl full as they see fit. I typically set out bowls of very thinly sliced mushrooms, bean sprouts, green onions, cilantro, jalapeno slices and chopped nuts. Also, a bottle of Sriracha or Sambal Oelek for those who like to turn up the heat. Enjoy!
Would you miss real noodles in your pho? Do you spiralize? What toppings would you add to a bowl of pho? Give me your best pho pun. Share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer