Paleo Vegetarian Pho Tender Beef Brisket – an authentic Vietnamese Pho recipe.

I seem to have quicker hands when cooking than writing.  My brain is constantly thinking of the next creative recipes to satisfy my endless curiosity with food.

Flavor, texture, ingredients, nutrition, color, and composition – there are so many possibilities waiting for me to explore them, and I often feel like a little child in a candy store, imagining all the wonderful dishes circling around my head like dancing stars.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I interact with my friends, my readers, and my readers become friends :)) most frequently.

I love the straightforward connection and almost like text message-ish conversation that allows me to make friends and connect with people more than any other social media.  Most importantly, I really am enjoying the process of sharing my paleo journey with so many wonderful and cheerful people whom I’ve met online from all over the world.

I often feel bad that I post photos on Instagram first before the blog/recipes are ready to be published online.

It’s amazing that how patient and supportive you guys are.  I truly am very touched.

This vegetarian pho broth with tender beef brisket is inspired by Lucy’s Kitchen in Bushwick, Brooklyn NY.

If you have time, the traditional beef bone pho broth is cooked overnight.  I personally find that the vegetarian pho broth is a quicker way to enjoy an authentic bowl of Vietnamese pho without spending a day in the kitchen.

That said, since it still took some time (about 2 hrs.) to make a good pot of broth, I aimed at a larger serving quantity below for the entire family to savor for at least two evenings !

The pho aroma combo is a great flavor asset to be familiar with.  It’s the soul of Vietnamese pho.  I encourage you not to skip the steps, and guarantee that you’ll fall in love with this aroma combo.

To make the Paleo Vegetarian Pho Tender Beef Brisket, you’ll need:

Paleo Vegetarian Pho Broth with Tender Beef Brisket
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 20 mins

Paleo Vegetarian Pho Broth with Tender Beef Brisket. This is a Vietnamese Pho inspired by my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Brooklyn, NY. Now you can experience the Paleo version without loosing its authentic taste !

Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 224 kcal
Author: ChihYu
  • 2 lbs Beef brisket sliced into 3 separate chunks
  • Large tea bags or cheese cloth
Vegetarian Pho Broth:
  • 10-12 pieces whole dry shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 liters water including the water from the soaked shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 loose carrots sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion peeled but not sliced (leave it as a whole)
  • 1 small size leek cut into 3 segments
  • 1 tbsp mushroom powder seasoning* See more in the notes section
  • 1 tsp 5 spice powder
  • 1 cup daikon diced, optional item
Pho Aroma Combo:
  • 1 knob ginger sliced (about double thumb size)
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cloves black cardamom I use 8 of green cardamom today
  • 2 medium shallots
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds or 3 fresh cilantro roots
Garnish & Condiments:
  • 2 to 3 small fresh red chilies
  • Cilantro & Asian basil as much as you like
  • Lime juice to taste
  • Fresh boiled bamboo shoots optional
  • Hot chili pepper sauce (no sugar added) optional
Pre-cooking steps:
  1. Soak the dry shiitake mushrooms in a large bowl filled with enough room temperature water to cover them.
  2. The mushrooms will rehydrate in about an hour (You can also soak the mushrooms the night before).
  3. Once the mushrooms are rehydrated/soft texture, cut of the stems. Slice the mushrooms and set aside.  Keep the soaked mushroom water for stock use.

  4. Place the beef brisket in a large pot filled with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  5. Boil the meat for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Discard the entire pot of water and rinse the brisket well under room temperature water.
  7. *Tip: This is an important step to produce a clear pho broth as the boiling process drain the blood and other impurities of the meat.
To make the broth:
  1. Place the brisket in a large pot with the mushroom water and fill the pot with fresh water, about 4 liters total.
  2. Add 2 tbsp salt, sliced mushrooms, carrots, daikon, 1 whole onion (peeled but not sliced), and leek (sliced into 3 segments and place into large tea bags or cheese cloth) into the pot.
  3. Bring the pot to a boil and then simmer over medium-low heat throughout the whole cooking process.
  4. *Important: Slightly cover the pot with a lid but do not completely cover it. Otherwise, the broth may lose its clarity.
  5. In the meantime, grill the “pho aroma combo” in a nonstick grilling pan until both sides are slightly charcoaled. No oil required.
  6. Rinse under warm water and scrape of the charred bits. (This will prevent the burned/charcoaled parts dilute the clear broth).
  7. Place the “aroma combo” into large tea bags or cheese cloth & add to the soup pot.
  8. The total cooking time would be about about 90 mins to 2 hours total.
  9. [Optional] Depending on the type of vegetables you’d like to add to the soup, you can blanch them in a separate pot and set them aside as extra ingredients to add on. Bok choy would be a wonderful addition if you can find them.
  10. *Tip: You can add more water during the process. (I added about 2 to 2 ½ cup of water during the entire process).
Before Serving:
  1. Remove the brisket of the pot (it should be fork tender) & rinse the meat in cold water for about 10 minutes. This will prevent the meat from turning dark.
  2. Remove and discard the whole onion.
  3. Add 1 tsp five spice powder and 1 tbsp mushroom powder seasoning (see method below) to the soup pot. Taste and see if more seasoning is needed.
To Enjoy:
  1. Slice the brisket, add vegetables of your chosen, lime juice, cilantro, (asian) basil, and red chilli.
  2. (Optional) Red chili pepper sauce.
Recipe Notes

To make mushroom powder:

  • Put the dry shiitake mushroom in a food processor (about 50 grams)
  • Add ⅔ cup of sea salt & 1 tsp dried oregano & 1 tsp chilli pepper flakes
  • Grind all ingredients into fine powder
  • Store in an airtight container

Make these for dinner !

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