Faux Pho

Faux Pho

After last year’s epic winter, I’m bracing myself. Turning the corner into November signals the oncoming fun of the holidays, but also the time of lost mittens, being stuck inside for too many days and… duh duh duuuuuh: cold and flu season. And I’m scared, people. Just writing that gives the back of my throat a scratchy feeling. Last year it felt like someone in our household was sick at all times. It can be challenging enough trudging through a Canadian winter without dragging sick people behind you. (And by dragging, you know I mean cuddling and spoiling with extra screen time, right?)

So this time around I’m preemptively force feeding everyone immunity boosters from the get-go. Kale for breakfast! Citrus at every meal! And, of course, there will be chicken soup. Science has confirmed what grandmothers have known for generations, that a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup really does help fight illness. The combination of the heat, along with the protein and vitamins, really does your body good. I wanted to come up with a new twist on the classic and also get some traction on my kids’ new sense of adventure with food. So I came up with this Faux Pho. Traditional pho, the Vietnamese noodle soup, is often made with broth, rice noodles, herbs and rare meat. But in Toronto, where there are many fantastic Vietnamese restaurants, you can get pho just about anyway you’d like it – not-so-rare beef, chicken, vegetarian. I decided to keep mine very simple with a creamy base, crunch from fresh veggies and with no heat at all. But you could absolutely add some chilis if your crew is up for it. It’s a very slurpy soup, which my kids loved. It makes a great, quick weeknight dinner but could be packed up in a thermos for school, too.

Pho final

photos by Maya Visnyei

Faux Pho

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings


  • Makes: 4 servings
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 1/2 cups (825 ml) chicken stock
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • 14 oz (414 ml) can of coconut milk
  • 3/4 lb (340 g) of chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 6 oz (170 g) rice vermicelli (half of most packages)
  • 6 Tbsp (90 ml) fresh lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) fish sauce
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) sugar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) julienned carrots
  • 1 cup (250 ml) julienned red pepper
  • handful of cilantro
  • handful of bean sprouts


In a large pot, warm up your vegetable oil and sautée the garlic and ginger until they're translucent and fragrant.

Add the stock, water and coconut milk and bring to a simmer.

Add the chicken and cook for 20 minutes.

While that's happening, soak your noodles in luke-warm water in a large bowl.

Once the chicken has been cooking for 20 minutes, drain the noodles and add them to the soup.

Add the lime, fish sauce and sugar.

Taste to check seasoning.

Serve in large bowls and top with fresh carrots, peppers, cilantro and sprouts.

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  1. Cheryl
    November 06, 17:48 Reply

    I’ve been spending a lot of time searching for some great recipes lately, and have found myself on your blog more than 3 times this past week alone. Thanks so much for the ideas- I’m working on two of them for next week’s menu!

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