Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Zoodles

Healthy Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Zoodles | ASpicyPerspective.comThis healthy Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Zoodles is gluten free, paleo, and soooo tantalizing!

Spicy & Healthy Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Zoodles (Gluten Free & Paleo!) |
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Vietnamese cuisine is one of our family’s absolute favorite things to eat.

After moving away from a city with a large Vietnamese population and great Vietnamese restaurants, we were hard-pressed to find a good bowl of pho anywhere in our new small mountain town.

Best Healthy Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Zoodles |

Needless to say, I started cooking Vietnamese dishes at home.

After several years of recreating noodle dishes, Bahn Mi sandwiches, and soups, we finally discovered a new pho shop in town.

Making Healthy Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Zoodles (Gluten Free & Paleo!) |

Vietnamese Pho is a spiced broth and noodle soup, made with various thinly sliced meats, and loaded with fresh garnishes like mung bean sprouts, basil leaves, and jalapeno slices. The broth is made with rich earthy spices like cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom so it offers a truly unique flavor.

How to Make Healthy Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Zoodles (Gluten Free & Paleo!) |

When we eat pho at a restaurant I usually go with beef pho, or even shaved meatball. However at home, I like to make pho with chicken thighs to create a really fabulous brothy soup base.

I also like to clean this already healthy soup up even more by eliminating the noodles and using “zoodles” AKA zucchini zoodles instead. This small change makes this recipe gluten free and paleo-friendly!

Making Chicken Pho with Zoodles (Gluten Free & Paleo!) |

Today’s Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Zoodles is just about the best tasting healthy soup recipe you’ll ever try, if I do say so myself.

It’s bold, well balanced, and bursting with fresh ingredients. The zoodles soften in the broth giving them the texture of pasta, so you really truly don’t even miss the carbs.

Perfect Healthy Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Zoodles (Gluten Free & Paleo!) |

In fact, the first time I made Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Zoodles instead of traditional rice noodles, my boys sneered at me… Until they tasted it.

After devouring a couple bowls each, they admitted they wouldn’t have noticed the zoodles had I not told them about the change.

Must-Make Healthy Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Zoodles (Gluten Free & Paleo!) |

Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Zoodles is on my shortlist of healthy meals my family will always be happy to see on the dinner table.

I bet yours will feel the same!

Our Favorite Healthy Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Zoodles (Gluten Free & Paleo!) |

Spicy & Healthy Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Zoodles (Gluten Free & Paleo!) |
5 from 1 vote

Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Zoodles

Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
55 mins
Healthy Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Zoodles - Pho Soup Recipe made gluten free (and paleo) by using zucchini noodles instead of pasta.
Servings: 6
Nutrition Facts
Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Zoodles
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 223 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 11%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 107mg 36%
Sodium 1545mg 64%
Potassium 778mg 22%
Total Carbohydrates 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 7g
Protein 25g 50%
Vitamin A 12.7%
Vitamin C 43.7%
Calcium 9.2%
Iron 13.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


For the Chicken Pho:
  • 1 large onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 piece fresh ginger (2 inches) cut into slices
  • 3 garlic cloves, cracked
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 8-10 whole cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods, cracked
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce (look for a gluten-free brand)
  • 4 teaspoons palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
Raw Add-Ins and Garnishes:
  • 4 zucchini
  • 1 cup loose thai basil
  • 5 ounces mung bean sprouts
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1-2 jalapeños, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro


  1. Place a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion wedges, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, cardamom, and coconut oil. Saute the onions and spices for about 10 minutes, stirring to brown the onions on all sides.
  2. Pour in the water, fish sauce, sugar, salt, and turmeric. Then add the chicken thighs and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat if needed, and simmer for 30 minutes. (P.S. Fish sauce smells like moldy feet while cooking, but tastes amazing! Don't worry about the aroma, and don't skip it.)
  3. Use a skimmer to pull all the chicken, onions, and spices out of the broth. Reserve the chicken thighs and discard everything else. Chop the chicken thighs into small pieces and add back to the broth.
  4. Meanwhile, use a spiralizer to cut the zucchini into noodles. Chop and prep all other garnishes.

  5. When ready to serve, place a handful of "zoodles" into each bowl. Ladle the chicken pho soup into each bowl. Then let each person garnish their own bowl with basil, sprouts, lime, scallions, jalapeños, and cilantro.

Recipe Notes

NOTE: We usually set out chili-garlic sauce to spice up our bowl of pho, but the jalapeños will definitely do the trick!

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11 comments on “Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Zoodles

  1. Pingback: Greek Lemon Chicken Soup Recipe (VIDEO) - A Spicy Perspective

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  3. Julie | Table for Twoposted September 22, 2016 at 9:19 pm Reply

    i love a good pho! will definitely be adding this to my list!

  4. Emily @ Life on Foodposted September 22, 2016 at 7:43 am Reply

    It’s chilly this morning and a bowl of this soup is just want the body needs. Lunch time!

  5. Mariaposted September 21, 2016 at 8:40 pm Reply

    Love those noodles!

  6. Marla Meridithposted September 21, 2016 at 6:21 pm Reply

    I can tell this soup is full of flavor!!!

  7. Bethposted September 21, 2016 at 1:43 pm Reply

    This looks wonderful but it makes quite a bit for just 2 people (myself and my husband). If I saved half the broth and chicken and didn’t add in the zoodles and toppings, would the broth and chicken be good left-over, adding fresh zoodles/toppings the next time I wanted to serve it? Could the broth and chicken be frozen?

    • Sommerposted September 22, 2016 at 10:53 am Reply

      Hi Beth,

      Yes, just half the soup base, then add the fresh ingredients in at the end. For leftovers, it’s up to you… The zucchini will keep on its own, refrigerated in an airtight container. Or you can add it to the pot at the end and refrigerate together.

  8. Terese Christianposted September 21, 2016 at 12:26 pm Reply

    Thanks, Sommer! Will be sharing and making sure my low-carbing friends see this!

  9. Jenny Flakeposted September 21, 2016 at 12:17 pm Reply

    How fun to make this at home!  Totally trying!!

  10. Heather Christoposted September 21, 2016 at 10:58 am Reply

    This is so brilliant Sommer! Pho is a favorite and this would be a  great way to make it even healthier!