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Seasons’ Eatings: Turkey Pho

2012 November 30

By Brianna Bain

San Diego, CA – It started with my recent obsession with pho and ended with  an abundance of Turkey leftovers. Kara’s Cheddar Grits with Turkey and Collard Green Hash came as a pre-Thanksgiving warm up, a sort of greasing of the pipe line for the impending  flow of home cooked, soul filling, taste bud pleasing, super comfort food. Thanksgiving is among my  favorites for holiday gatherings but without fail I leave the table feeling like an over stuffed pillow for a few days.  Not to mention the continued feasting on left overs of turkey sandwiches smothered with mash potatoes and gravy and the unavoidable everliving bits of extra pie and cookies that find there way into your hands. So, to counteract my stuffed feeling belly I have decided to make a soup that still utilizes the goodness of Turkey leftovers while leaving you feeling light and satisfied. Ahhh…

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Recently I have been on the hunt for the best bowl of pho. Now for those of you who don’t know of Pho I can tell you you’d be crazy not to love it.  Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a hearty broth-based Vietnamese soup often made with beef, but with chicken too. It is traditionally flavored with fish sauce, onions, ginger, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and star anise. Thin slices of beef or chicken are added, as well as rice noodles and garnishes including green onion, Thai basil, lime, bean sprouts, hoisin sauce and sriracha.  Every kitchen should have sriracha!!

I tend to de-gluten and healthify all my dishes but this meal needs little to no altering. I decided to use my favorite wheat noodle alternative -  sea weed noodles just for fun. Traditional Pho uses rice noodles which I do love and can eat being that they are gluten free, but to make this recipe a little more my own I decided to experiment. I bought my sea weed noodles form Whole Foods but I am sure you can find them at an Asian market in the refrigerated isle. I also decided to opt for miso as a flavor booster instead of hoisin sauce, essentially both are  made of fermented soy beans but miso is more basic and better for you. Hoisin is tasty but can carry several ingredients that I prefer to steer clear when I can,  like sugar, wheat and corn starch. Because miso is a fermented food it is important not to cook all the goodies out, be sure to add your miso last and stir it in right before you eat, this way you preserve all the benefits it holds for your body. You can read more about using miso paste in my Mushroom Miso Survival of the Fittest Soup from last year. Another fave soup for this time of year!

Turkey Pho

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


  • 1-2 lbs of turkey (both dark and light meat)
  • 2 boxes of organic beef broth
  • 1 package of seaweed noodles ( you can use rice noodles but add more time for preparation)
  • 1 bunch on cilantro
  • 2-3 green onions diced
  • 1 lemongrass diced
  • 1-2 Tablespoons fish sauce (depends on your liking)
  • 1 package of bean sprouts
  •  1 bunch fresh basil
  • 2 jalapeno peppers sliced
  • 2 limes wedge cut
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 cloves of garlic sliced
  • 4 slices fresh ginger with skin on
  • Sriracha chilli sauce  – to taste
  • Miso paste or Hoisin sauce  – to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Add broth, anise, cinnamon stick, cloves, fish sauce, garlic, ginger,  and lemon grass to a large pot and heat on medium to high for 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare condiment plate: layer of bean sprouts, fresh basil with sides of sliced jalapeno and wedged limes, set a side.
  3. Cut green onion and cilantro and set aside.
  4. Unpack seaweed noodles and rinse in a colander, set aside.
  5. Once broth has be heating for 20-25 minutes taste to assess flavor strength of spices, continue heating or remove cinnamon stick and cloves if it has reached desired strength.
  6. Add turkey to warming broth mixture.

Serving Instructions

  1. In large bowl add a handful of noodles, top with cilantro and green onions.
  2. Cover noodles with turkey and broth so that all the noodles are submerged.
  3. Add beans sprouts, basil jalapeno and lime to your liking and  stir well.  Let  soup set for a few minutes while  flavors meld and noodles absorb the flavors.
  4. Add Miso paste or Hoisin sauce and Siracha chilli sauce to your desired level of savory heat.
  5. Enjoy!