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forward angle view of heaping bowl of bun bo hue with chopsticks on bowl

Bun Bo Hue (Paleo, Whole30, Keto, AIP, Gluten-free, GAPS, Vegan option)

Bun Bo Hue is an authentic Vietnamese beef noodle soup that's incredibly delicious, packed full of fun, amazing ingredients. I fell in love with this noodle soup, and I know you will too.
Course DInner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Vietnemese
Keyword aip, beef noodle soup, bun bo hue, gaps diet, gluten-free, keto, paleo, vietnamese, whole30
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 166kcal
Author Megan
Cost $8-$20, depending on meat and noodles


  • large skillet
  • large saucepan (for cooking noodles)
  • stock pot or Instant Pot (for cooking stock)


  • 6 zucchini for zoodles, or 6 servings of noodles (If you're serving fewer people, just prepare as many noodles as you'll need for this meal, and then you'll have leftover broth.)
  • 4 to 5 cups Bun Bo Hue stock vegetables and optional fruits, chopped: daikon radish, mushrooms (sliced), the whites of green onions, peeled Granny Smith apples and pineapple. For Keto, use radish and mushrooms only. On VAD, use mushrooms and apples only.
  • 3 cups meat stock (<— See link for how-to. Make stock with meaty bones. [This takes 30 minutes in the Instant Pot or 2 hours on the stove top, so best to make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until you're ready for it.]) To make meat stock and Bun Bo Hue Stock together, simply add 1-½ to 2 pounds meaty bones (on top of the produce), 3 cups additional water and 2 teaspoons additional sea salt to your veggie stock pot, and cook as outlined below; then remove bones to use/serve.
  • ¾ to 2 pounds steak or sausages (depending on your budget, you can go all out and buy 2 big steaks, or you can just fry up one package of sausages, or both) For steaks, choose top sirloin or filets or any other cuts you prefer. In the photos, I used top sirloin and filet mignon + sausages.
  • 2 cups water
  • 1-1/2 cups mung bean sprouts optional (omit for AIP and VAD)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro (fresh), Thai basil or fresh mint (for VAD), sliced or chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3 inch nub fresh ginger root
  • optional traditional ingredients for garnish : chile paste (not for AIP/VAD), banana blossom, sliced raw white onion, lime wedges, sliced green onions' greens
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut sugar optional (For Keto, replace it with low carb brown sugar. Omit for GAPS.)
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce optional (omit for VAD)
  • 2 to 4 drops lemongrass essential oil (This makes the best tasting broth and is very easy to keep in the pantry, but if you prefer, you may also use fresh: 3 to 4 stalks lemongrass; see Notes below for how-to.)


  • Make Bun Bo Hue Stock on the stove top or in the Instant Pot: Fill pot with 4 cups total of chopped vegetables and fruits. Choose from: daikon radish, mushrooms, the whites of green onions, peeled Granny Smith apples and pineapple. (For Keto, don't use the onion or fruits. On VAD, use only mushrooms and apples.) Add the 2 cups water and 2 teaspoons sea salt.
  • For Stove Top, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer over medium-low heat, covered, for 30 minutes. With Instant Pot, seal lid. Press "Manual" button, and adjust time to 10 minutes. (Watch stove top version: don't let it boil or the water evaporate. Add more water if needed. You want 5 cups liquid and solids when the stock is done cooking.)
  • Vegetable Toppings: While the stock cooks, prepare the vegetable toppings: Wash and chop fresh cilantro. (Use fresh mint for VAD.) Grate fresh ginger (allow up to 2 teaspoons ginger for each person you're serving.)
  • Meat: Pan-fry steaks and/or sausages, then keep them warm. To pan-fry, heat 2 tablespoons fat of choice (butter {or avocado oil for AIP}) in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add steaks, and sprinkle generously with sea salt. Reduce heat to medium, and fry for 5 to 8 minutes on each side, or longer for thicker steaks/sausages. Sprinkle second side with sea salt while cooking. Thick steaks will need as long as 10 minutes per side. Cut one open as needed to check for the doneness you like. (Medium rare is most delicious and nutritious.)
  • Noodles: For zoodles — Bring pot of water to a boil. Cook only 1 to 2 minutes, then rinse with cold water and set aside. For gluten-free or low carb noodles — Follow package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • When veggie stock is done cooking, turn off heat, remove lid (carefully release the pressure first if using Instant Pot). Add meat stock (omit for vegan), optional fish sauce (omit for vegan) and coconut sugar, lemongrass oil and give it a stir. Taste to see if you want more lemongrass. (Remember, grated ginger will also be stirred in.)
  • Fill each bowl with noodles. Top with at least 2 ladles of hot broth, including solids of delicious cooked veggies or fruits.
  • Garnish each bowl with slices of steak and/or sausages, grated fresh ginger, fresh herbs, optional mung bean sprouts (not AIP) and other optional veggies or chile paste (not for AIP or VAD).
    garnished beef noodle soup ready to serve


If you wish to use fresh lemongrass stalks instead of lemongrass oil:

To use whole lemongrass stalk, cut off the top of the stalk, and set it aside. Peel off the outer layers of the bottom 3 inches — to reveal a paler, more tender core. Cut off the lower bulb end and discard it. Using the butt of a heavy knife, a rolling pin or a similar tool, smash the root to soften it and release the flavors. Add both top of stalk and smashed bottom root to soup pot before cooking stock, and remove them before serving/eating.
When purchasing lemongrass stalks, choose ones that are heavy, tightly formed and firm without bruising.


Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 333mg | Potassium: 880mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 355IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2mg