Shiitake Bone Broth Pho

We are deep in the middle of winter now and with chilly days and nights it can feel like almost everyone around us is suffering from a cold or flu. After getting a little run down, sleep deprived and surrounded by cold weather, our immune system can struggle to prevent us catching viruses. Building your immune system up by including immune-boosting foods in your diet is a great way to prevent reoccurring colds throughout winter.

Winter is the ideal time to rest and eat nourishing, warm foods like soups, stews and curries. This Shiitake Bone Broth Pho is a perfect meal to have on rotation throughout the colder months. It uses bone broth as a base (feel free to sub for vegetable broth or stock as a vegetarian option) because of the powerful health benefits of broth.

Bone broth is a slow cooked stock which allows time for the healing nutrients from the bones to be released into the water. Bone broth contains a host of amino acids like arginine, cysteine and glutamine which support the gut and immune system.

Your grandmother was right about chicken soup – a study examining chicken broth given to people suffering from upper respiratory tract infections revealed that the soup helped relieve common cold symptoms by clearing mucous, opening up airways and reducing inflammation in the respiratory system.

Bone broth also contains gelatine and collagen which are responsible for the gelatinous texture of cooled bone broth (this is how you can distinguish bone broth from regular stock – it will be solid once cold, not liquid). Collagen is an important nutrient for gut health as it feeds and strengthens the cells lining the gut.

This Pho contains plenty of garlic – a key anti-microbial and anti-bacterial food (meaning it kills bacteria and viruses). Ginger is also used in the soup which provides an anti-inflammatory effect – soothing sore throats and reducing inflammation in the respiratory tract.

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I love making a huge batch of this soup and freezing portions for a simple, delicious meal to reheat when I’m feeling under the weather. For another great flu fighter, try juicing a lemon and mixing with hot water, a few pieces of raw ginger and a teaspoon of honey.

If you’re really brave, chopping up a whole, raw garlic clove and swallowing whole is a powerful way to stimulate your immune system when you first feel like you are coming down with a cold. Try mixing with a little olive or coconut oil to help it slide down easier.

What are your favourite winter flu fighter recipes or drinks? Let me know in the comments below.


Shiitake Bone Broth Pho (GF, Vg option)


  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped into quarters
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 5cm knob ginger, sliced lengthways into 2 pieces
  • 1 Tbsp coconut or olive oil
  • 100g shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 small bunches baby bok choy (or sub spinach or kale)
  • 2 cups bone broth (or vegetable stock)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce (or tamari for vegetarian option)
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1 packet rice noodles
  • To top: Lime wedges, chopped green onions, fresh basil leaves

Takes , serves 2-3.


  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the cinnamon, star anise and cloves. Dry fry for 3 minutes, until fragrant
  2. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and dry fry for another 2 minutes until lightly charred
  3. Add bone broth (or veg stock), water and fish sauce (or tamari) and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and leave lightly simmering for 30 minutes to allow all of the flavours to infuse
  4. Meanwhile, heat a small fry pan over medium heat and add the oil. Add shiitake mushrooms and salt and stir fry for around 5 minutes until the mushrooms are golden brown
  5. Set mushrooms aside and cook noodles according to packet instructions
  6. When the broth is ready, use a slotted spoon or colander to strain the pieces from the soup so that you are just left with the liquid
  7. Add the bok choy and 1 cup of fresh basil leaves to the broth. Place a lid over the broth and allow the greens to steam for 5 minutes while you prepare the bowls
  8. Divide the noodles and mushrooms between 2-3 bowls. Ladle the broth and greens over the noodles and top with a squeeze of lime, chopped green onions and fresh basil leaves. If you like it spicy, add a sprinkle of dried chilli flakes. Enjoy your nourishing, immune boosting soup!


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Tamika WoodsComment