Comfort Your Cold with Faux Pho

Faux Pho, Beth Hemmila

Two things that I want to point out in this post:
  1. Instead of reaching for chicken soup to ease your cold and flu symptoms, consider whipping up a simplified version of some scrumptious Vietnamese Phở.
  2. If you like warm meals during the cold winter months, and find yourself reducing your raw food intake, think about redesigning your dishes in a way that makes them 50% cooked and 50% raw.

Faux Pho, Beth Hemmila
It's December and I have recently joined the other thousands of locals with the sniffles. I no longer think so much about curing my colds, but rather make them opportunities to see what kind of self-care would bring me the most pleasure. I use to enjoy a bowl of chicken soup, but after living in Portland, Oregon and eating lots of Vietnamese Phở, I've developed this dish into my number one comfort food.

Okay, so my Phở is not legit, but unfortunately I usually don't have the time to dedicate myself to making authentic broth and whatnot so I settled with what I affectionately call my "Faux Phở" and it is something that can be made in probably 20 minutes or less if you have all the ingredients handy.

Here is what went into my in my Faux Phở pictured above :
  1. I sauteed lots of fresh ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes in olive oil.
  2. Added a can of beef broth (you can substitute vegetable or chicken) and simmered for about 10 or 15 minutes.
  3. While the broth is cooking, I prepared my rice noodles according to the package and let them sit in warm water to soften for about 10 minutes.
  4. Next I grated a carrot and chopped up some fresh celery. You can add any fresh vegetables you want such as parsley, zucchini, green onions, lettuce, kale, broccoli, mushrooms, etc.
  5. When everything is ready, I drain the noodles and put them in a bowl with the broth and then top with my mix of fresh vegetables.
This Faux Phở is my example of making a 50/50 dish. Half of it is cooked and the other half is made up of a raw veggie salad. It's not a big conceptual leap because most restaurants serve a raw salad along with your meal, why not merge the two together in some way reducing the main dish by a little and bumping up the fresh vegetables a notch.

Here are some other ideas for 50/50 dishes:

50% beans and rice & 50% raw veggies
50% cooked quinoa or pasta & 50% raw veggies
50% boiled/sauteed potatoes & 50% raw veggies
50% cooked barley (or other grain) & 50% raw veggies

Right now I can feel raw foodies wincing in pain out there, but sorry folks not everyone is up for being a raw food rock star when it's cold outside :)

The other part of my Faux Phở that is incredibly delicious and soothing is the combination of garlic, ginger, and red pepper fakes. Heat your cold up and burn it out of your system. This makes me feel better every time. Never underestimate the power of ginger in your life! During the winter I'm always looking for ways to squeeze this spice into my dishes for an added kick. Or simply boil some water and poor it over a slice of fresh ginger and drink up.

If you are unfamiliar with Phở and are not sure how to pronounce it, please be sure to visit Wikipedia's site and click on the listen link. I use to gaily run around and pronounce Phở like "foe" and then one day was enlightened to the fact that is actually sounds more like "fah." Also, be sure to checkout a Vietnamese restaurant when you have an opportunity and try some real Phở to help inspire your own noodle bowls.


  1. Ginger and garlic are known for boosting the immune system... Ginger tea is good too... My friend gave me hot lemon tea w/lemon .. which i had 5 of and the next day my bad cold was gone...he knew an old lady who had lemon tea every day and she never had a cold... You are on the right path.. I so agree w/you on the raw foods... they also help digestion, aid in healthy gums as well as making foods taste better.

  2. Chris, thanks for the tip on the hot lemon tea. I love lemon and the idea that it is so good for you is a bonus! I'll have to try this during the winter months.


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