Kelp Noodle Pho and a dream

kelp noodle pho

Have you ever dreamt of something for so long that when it actually happens it still feels like its beyond reality? Like you’re floating through the whole experience in awe that your living it?

I remember sitting on a cold, peaceful, (frigid yet beautiful) beach in Tofino, British Columbia, years ago…when the dream first appeared in my mind.  I was on a yoga retreat with 2 girlfriends.  My heart was open…I was inspired….I was hopeful that anything I set my mind to was possible.  I chatted with the cook at the retreat and knew this is what I wanted to do.  What I could do! I could cook for a group of people over a weekend at my own health and wellness yoga retreat! I cook for 15 people for Thanksgiving and Christmas some years for petes sake! 

Years passed….I got my Holistic Nutrition designation, became pregnant, and became a mother.  Though the dream never died.  Through this pregnancy I realized where these retreats were calling me to: prenatal yoga retreats.  And I knew just the women to partner with.  During Knox’s birth I was lucky enough to have Shianna Pace of the Cochrane Community Midwives and Kerri McLean of Sweet Pea Doula to assist in the big day.  They made me feel special, empowered, the center of the universe and opened my eyes to the idea that I could have the joyous birth I WANTED.  I knew I wanted to work with them to make all the mommas at the retreat feel the same way.  

So another year passed of planning, scheming, marketing, preparing, photography, building a website….all the fun stuff! Before I knew it, the day had come and we were driving up to the retreat site in the British Columbia mountains: serene, quiet, peaceful.  The perfect place to bond with your baby, connect deeper to yourself, and build empowering relationships that would last a lifetime.  

It ended up running/flowing better than I could have imagined.  I couldn’t have asked for a better event the first time around.  The mommas belly’s were constantly full with my kitchen creations; some even asked for the recipes! The enjoyed yoga, walks in the mountains, crafting, an empowerment workshop, and a farewell salt bowl ceremony to send everyone home.  

honoured journey prenatal yoga retreat

honoured journey prenatal yoga retreat - photo by Kelli Ireland

One of the meals I served was a sort of “build your own bowl” buffet.  We had everything from kelp noodles, brown rice, quinoa, lentils, marinated tempeh to every kind of vegetable you could imagine, fermented foods, nuts and seeds, fresh herbs….the list goes on.  The ladies exclaimed that this was their favorite meal (I was shocked because it was definitely the easiest out of all the ones I prepared!).  At the retreat, this was made as a salad with an almond-ginger-satay type dressing (which I have included below as well), but here I served it as I have been doing at home lately: in a comforting warm pho-style broth.  

kelp noodle pho

kelp pho noodles

kelp noodle pho


Will I do th retreats again? Nothing would make my heart happier 🙂







kelp noodle pho


Kelp Noodle Pho

Serves 4


Pho Broth:*

3 cups of bone broth (chicken or beef preferred)

3 cups chicken, beef, or veg stock to match what you used for bone broth

2 heads of garlic, crushed

2 bay leaves

4 whole allspice

1 star anise

2 teaspoons of sea salt

1 fresh red chile like fresno, sliced

2″ piece of ginger, peeled, and chopped

2 Tbsp rice vinegar or white distilled vinegar

2 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce

2 Tbsp mirin

1/2 lime

12 oz shiitake mushrooms

1 package of kelp noodles or you could substitute zucchini noodles, rice noodles, or soba noodles.

2 cups of veg of your choice 

Protein of your choice (smoked tempeh, tofu, or even lentils or chickpeas; just ensure to get organic/GMO-free tofu)

Toppings such as fresh mint, fresh cilantro, sliced radish, sliced scallions



  1.  Begin by simmering your broth and stock with the garlic, bay leaves, allspice, star anise and salt. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes.  Strain the solids and discard.
  2. Add in the fresh chile, ginger, rice vinegar, tamari, mirin, lime juice, and mushrooms.  Let this simmer for another 10 minutes.  
  3. Add in your vegetables and protein and let simmer until they are soft.  
  4. If you are using tempeh, I like to cook this separate.  Cut one package of smoked tempeh into squares and place in a skillet with a bit of coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of tamari.  Saute until the outside is caramelized .  Set aside. 
  5. Divide the kelp noodles among your bowls, ladle in the soup, and top with garnishes and fresh herbs.  (Kelp noodles don’t’ require cooking, so if you choose to use rice noodles or soba, ensure they are cooked before ladling soup over!)

*Yes, I understand this is probably way off from a traditional Pho broth, but this is what worked for me!


Here is the Almond Satay dressing I made at the retreat to turn this into a salad instead of a soup!  Just place all ingredients in a food processor and buzz until smooth.

1/2 cup almond butter

1/4 cup tamari

2 Tbsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 Tbsp tahini

1 Tbsp maple syrup

fresh orange juice from 1 orange

1 Tbsp fresh garlic, chopped

1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger

1 green onion, chopped

pinch of red pepper flakes


  • Brooke @ Chocolate + Marrow - Anise! These photos are stunning and this bowl of savory pho goodness has my mouth watering. I had seen photos of your retreat on social but wasn’t sure exactly what it was and how long you’d been planning so I’ve loved reading this post! What an amazing, amazing evolution of a dream come true. I could not be happier for you.

    Yoga and I have a long and very much non-linear relationship but lately it has been one of the most important things in my life, even in seasons when I’m not practicing as regularly as I’d like. I hope that one day, if ever I do become a momma-to-be, that I’ll be able to attend one of your retreats and eat all of your beautiful, soul-feeding, body-nurturing food. <3ReplyCancel

    • Love & Garnish - Thank you as always Brooke! I am so enjoying watching your sailing and traveling adventures!! Keep it up!ReplyCancel

  • Tisha - The retreat sounds wonderful! I’m glad you found your calling. Also, this pho-looks YUM. I tried to make my own pho (sans recipe, whoops) and let me tell you, it was not the nicest thing I put in my mouth. I’m excited to give this guy a go!

    Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    • Love & Garnish - Thanks Tisha! I am totally addicted to Pho lately! I even found a Pho-Flavoured bone broth at my local whole foods store!ReplyCancel

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