Vietnamese Rice Noodle Soup with Beef

Asian, Beef, Main Dish, Quick Meals, Soup and Stew | 18 comments

Last week Logan didn’t have school Thursday and Friday because of Parent-Teacher Conferences. Thursday everyone was so bored and had a rough day. It’s hard for Logan to be home all day when he’s used to being in school and when Logan’s having a rough day…Madeline has a rough day…and then Mom has a rough day.

vietnamese beef noodle soup

Friday we went to Costco for an errand. I had a list of things to pick up and it was better than staying home all day. After we did all our shopping, no one was really ready to go home yet so we took a little while to browse the books. One caught my eye that I hadn’t seen before: Soups, Stews & Chilis, by Cook’s Illustrated Magazine. I have one of their other books (The New Best Recipe: All-New Edition) and have been pleased with it, so I thought this one would be worthwhile to pick up with the cool weather that is finally arriving in New Mexico.

asian herbs for vietnamese beef noodle soup

My other Cook’s Illustrated book doesn’t have any color pictures besides what’s on the front and back cover. The Soup book, however, has one on the front, 20 two inch thumbnails on the back cover, and 16 full sized images inside. That’s pretty good! There are lots of basic recipes in the book, but a good selection of recipes with International flavors. To name a few: Provencal Vegetable soup, Thai-Style Chicken Curry, Indian-Style Vegetable Curry, and the recipe I chose for this post – Vietnamese Rice Noodle Soup with Beef.

vietnamese beef and noodle soup

This recipe is incredibly fast to prepare. You can make the broth in advance and after that it is just a matter of stirring things into the broth. The meat is sliced so thin that you just stir it into the hot broth and you can do the same with the mushrooms and snow peas. Don’t skimp on the herbs because they add a ton of flavor.

Note: While at the grocery store, I found that there were no bean sprouts to be found. The recipe originally calls for 2 cups of sprouts. Instead, I made the decision to substitute shiitake mushrooms and snow peas because I was way too tired to go to another store on a Saturday afternoon.

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Soup with Beef

adapted from Soups, Stews & Chilis

serves 6-8

Print Save Recipe


For the Broth:
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 medium onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
zest of 1 lime
1/3 cup fish sauce
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups beef broth
2 cups water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
5 star anise pods
5 whole cloves

Noodles, Meat, and Garnish
8 ounces dried, flat rice noodles
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 cup snow peas
1 cup loosely packed Thai basil
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
2 green onions, sliced thin on the bias
12 ounces flank steak, sliced thin across the grain


For the Broth:

Heat the oil in a medium-large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, lime zest, and 1 tablespoon of fish sauce. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 4 more minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, beef broth, and water. Bring to a boil.

Stir in the soy sauce, sugar, anise, cloves, and remaining fish sauce. Cover, reduce to a gentle simmer and cook until the flavors have blended, about 15 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Broth can be made up to a day in advance and refrigerated until needed.

For the Noodles, Meat and Garnish:
Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Drain the noodles, and portion them between the bowls. Arrange the basil, cilantro, lime wedges, and green onion on a plate.

Return the strained broth to a clean saucepan, bring to a brief boil, then remove from the heat. Stir in the beef, mushrooms, and snow peas and let stand off the heat for 2-3 minutes. Ladle the soup on top of the prepared bowls. Serve immediately, passing the garnishes round the table.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

Email  Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest

  • 1
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction - October 24, 2010 @ 6:35 pm

    I love recipes that are quick, easy, and delcious. This definitely looks like the perfect weeknight meal for us this week. I love those chopsticks!


  • 2
    the blissful baker - October 24, 2010 @ 6:56 pm

    this is called pho, one my favorite foods! it’s great a cold day :)


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 24th, 2010 @ 6:58 PM

      yep :) the book doesn’t call it that but I recognized it as being the same.

  • 3
    Nancy-The Sensitive Pantry - October 24, 2010 @ 6:56 pm

    This looks like such a simple and interesting soup. And, without a doubt, a beautiful one.


  • 4
    Kristen - October 24, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

    Really delicious. Will your kids eat this? I wonder if mine would…


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 24th, 2010 @ 7:40 PM

      Logan wouldn’t touch this with a 10 foot pole. Madeline likes noodles though.

  • 5
    Beth M - October 25, 2010 @ 6:11 am

    YUM! It looks like faux pho! I’m definitely going to try this because I love pho but don’t feel like boiling beef bones for hours on end. Even if this tastes remotely similar to pho I know I’ll like it!


  • 6
    Damaris - October 25, 2010 @ 7:52 am

    On Saturday I went to a Vietnamese cooking class. Man it was good. Now I want to learn how to make more yummy Vietnamese things


  • 7
    Yue Edwards - October 25, 2010 @ 9:47 am

    beautiful!! i love Vietnam pho!


  • 8
    naomi - October 25, 2010 @ 10:31 am

    I love your subsitution with the shitakes for the bean sprouts. I grew on this stuff and I always left the bean sprouts out!

    This looks beautiful!


  • 9
    anja - October 25, 2010 @ 12:21 pm

    this soup looks so delicious. i love noodle soup and even if i am a professional chef i never made some. i think i have to try the recipe for the broth soon. thanks for sharing.


  • 10
    roodew - October 25, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

    I assume you cook the meat ahead of time?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 25th, 2010 @ 6:19 PM

      No, you stir in the thinly sliced beef into the boiling water, then turn the water off. It is so thin that it just takes a minute before it’s cooked through.

  • 11
    rhoda - October 25, 2010 @ 6:24 pm

    did you have to go to a special Asian market to find the star anise pods? how necessary are they for the broth?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 25th, 2010 @ 6:26 PM

      The regular grocery store did not have them. You’d have to go to a specialty store. Or, according to a Google search 1 anise pod = 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds. Anise seeds should be easy to find at your regular grocer if you don’t have an Asian market or don’t want to make a special trip.

  • 12
    Steven - October 26, 2010 @ 8:33 pm

    This actually looks like bun bo hue, a recipe similar to pho. Pho is a clear looking broth.


  • 13
    Benita - November 03, 2010 @ 9:43 am

    This is a cool blog , I will keep this idea in my mind.


  • 14
    Marisa - November 22, 2010 @ 4:30 am

    Just had to stop by to say I love your photos on this post!


Leave a Comment