The Good Life
with a Southern Drawl

Immune Boosting Veggie Pho

By Amy Bailey — January 22, 2018

Anyone who knows me well knows that I eat Pho on a weekly basis, in the winter that habit increases to twice a week. When the cold weather set in, it seemed the perfect time to try some new recipes including homemade veggie broth. I love making broth but in the past always opted for chicken broth, the beauty of veggie broth is you can use the scraps you have from cooking other dishes – carrots, celery, onion, cabbage, etc. With several veggies on hand and a day to simmer, this veggie broth turned out beautifully and served as a base for a delicious veggie pho.

There’s something about Pho that warms my spirit and my mind, unlike other ‘comfort’ foods it doesn’t leave me feeling like a bloated blob either. It’s almost like the goodness runs through your veins leaving you feeling renewed and soothed. It is that goodness that experts say can boost our immune system.

There are so many things in this life that are completely out of our control, but food is not one of them. Everyday we can control what we decide to eat. We can mindfully choose to fuel our bodies with food that soothes, detoxes, replenishes, nurtures, energizes, and protects us. In this season when illness is so prevalent, maybe its time for the healing properties of Veggie Pho. Here’s what it is packed with:

Turmeric – fights inflammation, powerful antioxidant, protects the heart

Carrots – Contain beta-carotene which is crucial for improving immunity and fight free radical damage.

Bok Choy – High in Vitamin A and Vitamin C as well as zinc, sodium, manganese, selenium, niacin, folate, beta-carotene, and vitamin K.

Mushrooms – One of the only natural sources of Vitamin D which fights bacteria.

Cinnamon – Reduces inflammation and fights bacteria.

Fresh Herbs – Herbs contain protective polyphenols — plant compounds with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects which can combat diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and more.

Jalapeno – Peppers contain a chemical known as capsaicin, which is actually what gives peppers their hot properties. Capsaicin is anti-inflammatory, has been effective in weight loss, helps soothe headaches, and has even been shown to kill some cancer cells.

Now that we have the scoop on the health benefits. First things first the broth, if you do not want to make it simply buy it at your local market.

Vegetable Broth

1 gallon filtered water

1 large onion, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, smashed

3 carrots, roughly chopped

1/2 bunch parsley

1/2 bunch cilantro

1 cup green cabbage, bok choy, broccoli stem, etc, roughly chopped

1 3-inch piece of ginger, roughly chopped

3 celery stalks, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon ground turmeric

Sea salt to taste

Black pepper to taste


You do not have to peel any of the vegetables and aromatics for this broth. Combine all of the vegetables and the water into a large stock pot. Bring to a simmer, cover with lid, and gently simmer for 90 minutes or longer.

Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer and discard the vegetables. Store in mason jars or airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to one 1 week, or freeze.

Veggie Pho

3 cloves

1/4 cup onion, diced

8 cups vegetable broth

2 Tbsp reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce

Dash of cinnamon

6 ounces (one large handful) rice noodles

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms

1-2 carrots, thinly sliced

2 cups baby bok choy, quartered



Bean sprouts

Sprigs of fresh basil

Sprigs of fresh cilantro

Thinly sliced fresh jalapeño, optional

Small wedges of lime


Warm a medium soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the cloves, toast until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the onion, vegetable broth, tamarin, and cinnamon.

Raise the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer for 25-30 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare your rice noodles according to package directions. Set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium heat add olive oil, then mushrooms and carrots and a few dashes of salt. After a few minutes toss in baby bok choy. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and lightly browned and bok choy is brighter in color, about 4 minutes.

When the broth is finished, strain out the onions, ginger and spices through a sieve. Season it to taste with extra tamari and/or salt if needed.

Add cooked vegetables to the broth. Add cooked noodles to each bowl. Ladle broth evenly into bowls and then add fresh toppings of bean sprouts, jalapeño, cilantro, basil, and lime wedge. Serve immediately.