Vegetarian French Onion Soup

This vegetarian French onion soup is the ultimate comfort food! It’s got the rich flavor of the classic, topped with a golden crust of cheese. There’s just something about silky caramelized onions topped golden, crusty cheese that takes your breath away every time. This is classic French cooking at its finest. It’s not just the flavor. It’s the promise that while the outside world is cold and brutal, every spoonful of French onion soup is pure bliss. This vegetarian French onion soup is our spin on the classic: it’s so full of rich, nuanced flavor you won’t miss the traditional beef broth. It’s a bit of a project: but it’s worth every moment of the prep. Promise! How to make French onion soup: an overview French onion soup has a long history; onion soups go back as far as the Roman times. But the modern version of French onion soup comes from Paris in the 1700’s. It was introduced in the US in the 1860’s in a New York restaurant, and it’s been popular ever since. You’ll need about 1 1/2 hours to make this vegetarian French onion soup. But it is 100% worth the effort, and you can make […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This vegetarian French onion soup is the ultimate comfort food! It’s got the rich flavor of the classic, topped with a golden crust of cheese.

Vegetarian French Onion Soup

There’s just something about silky caramelized onions topped golden, crusty cheese that takes your breath away every time. This is classic French cooking at its finest. It’s not just the flavor. It’s the promise that while the outside world is cold and brutal, every spoonful of French onion soup is pure bliss. This vegetarian French onion soup is our spin on the classic: it’s so full of rich, nuanced flavor you won’t miss the traditional beef broth. It’s a bit of a project: but it’s worth every moment of the prep. Promise!

How to make French onion soup: an overview

French onion soup has a long history; onion soups go back as far as the Roman times. But the modern version of French onion soup comes from Paris in the 1700’s. It was introduced in the US in the 1860’s in a New York restaurant, and it’s been popular ever since.

You’ll need about 1 1/2 hours to make this vegetarian French onion soup. But it is 100% worth the effort, and you can make a few components in advance as time savers. Make it on a cozy day when you have time to prep, or do the advanced prep if you’re serving for a dinner party.

Caramelize the onions1 hour
Make the vegetarian broth30 minutes (while cooking onions)
Make the soup20 minutes
Vegetarian French onion soup

The key to vegetarian French onion soup: homemade broth

Here’s one important thing to note. Vegetable broths and stocks vary widely in flavor and quality. Try it in a French onion soup, and most purchased veggie broth comes out sweet: not savory like you’d expect! Trust us, we tested a few times and it did not taste right.

Here’s what you’ll have to do: make a homemade vegetable broth! It might sound like overkill, but it makes for just the right flavor. When Alex and I tried it with this homemade broth, we were amazed by the flavor. Don’t skip this step!

Of course, if you want a classic French onion soup: just use beef broth! You can make the same recipe without that step and of course, it tastes great too.

Caramelizing onions: a few tips

The main time-consuming step for vegetarian French onion soup is caramelizing the onions! Sure, you can saute onions in about 10 minutes. But to get them fully dark brown and caramelized takes about 1 hour. Here are the basic steps, and a graphic that shows the color of the onions each phase!

  • Thinly slice the onions.
  • Sauté the onions in butter for 10 minutes on medium high.
  • Reduce the heat to medium low, add salt and saute for 40 to 45 minutes until deep brown and very soft.
How to caramelize onions

Dry sherry brings big flavor (or use white wine)

This vegetarian French onion soup uses dry sherry to bring in complexity and intrigue into the flavor. What is it, and what’s a substitute?

  • Sherry is a fortified wine made in Spain that’s made by adding grape liquor to white wine. The flavor is sharp, with a scent of apple cider and a very dry finish. It’s worth finding for this recipe if you don’t have it already.
  • How long does sherry last? An opened bottle of sherry lasts in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 months.
  • What’s a substitute for sherry? Don’t’ have it? You can use a dry white wine instead (make sure it’s not a sweet wine).

The crouton topping: broil or bake!

The last component to a great vegetarian French onion soup is the crouton topping! That is: it’s topped bread and cheese, broiled to golden perfection. There are a few techniques to achieve this, but I love the one that Alex devised using both Swiss cheese and grated Parmesan. Here’s what to do:

  • Place the soup into small oven-safe bowls or ramekins. This is key! Make sure you have some small serving bowls: typically this soup is not served in large vessels.
  • Add 1/2 inch slices of bread, then Swiss or Gruyere and grated Parmesan cheese. The two cheese really makes the perfect melting. Remember: grated Parm is the kind that looks like snow (don’t use shredded).
  • Broil for 2 minutes or bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees. The broiling method here is much easier and quicker: we prefer it! But if you don’t have a broiler, go the oven route.
How to make French onion soup

Make ahead tips for vegetarian French onion soup

Last tip before we get to this (very tasty) recipe: here’s how to speed it up! You can make both of the main components in advance:

  • Caramelize the onions in advance. This makes the prep time take next to nothing! Caramelize the onions, then refrigerate until serving. Bring to warm before you pick up in the soup recipe.
  • Make the homemade broth in advance. Same idea! You can refrigerate until serving, then warm it up and pick right back up in the recipe.

What to serve with French onion soup

Here’s a final important thing to note about French onion soup: it’s not intended as a full meal. It’s generally served as an appetizer to an elegant meal, or as a lunch. How to make it into a light meal? Here’s what to add:

Vegetarian French onion soup recipe

This vegetarian French onion soup is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free bread.

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Vegetarian French Onion Soup

Vegetarian French Onion Soup


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This vegetarian French onion soup is the ultimate comfort food! It’s got the rich flavor of the classic, topped with a golden crust of cheese.


Ingredients

For the caramelized onions

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 pounds yellow onions (5 medium)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry (or white wine)
  • 1 tablespoon flour

For the soup

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces mushrooms
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon each garlic powder and onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (purchased or use this substitute)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 6 slices Swiss or Gruyere cheese (or shredded)
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 large or 12 small slices bread, sliced about 1/2” thick

Instructions

  1. Caramelize the onions: Thinly slice the onions about 1/8-inch thick. In a soup pot, heat the butter over medium high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until very soft and just starting to brown on the bottom. Reduce to medium-low heat and stir in the kosher salt. Cook for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes and adjusting the heat so they continue to cook slowly without burning. The mushrooms will change from raw to golden to light brown to very dark brown, and reduce in volume by about 1/4. (Make ahead tip: Make the caramelized onions in advance and refrigerate until ready to make the soup. Reheat in a pan and go to step 3.)
  2. Meanwhile, make the homemade broth: Slice the mushrooms. Wash and cut the carrot in half length-wise, then into large chunks. Cut the celery into large pieces. Smash and peel the garlic. In a second pot, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until browned, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add 8 cups water, kosher salt, and vegetables. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. (Make ahead: Make the broth in advance and refrigerate until serving. Then warm before proceeding to Step 3.)
  3. Simmer the soup: When onions are very reduced and dark brown, stir in the sherry and deglaze the pan by scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with the flour and stir until the onions are coated. Strain the homemade broth into the onions (discarding the vegetables). Add 1 cup water and bring to a simmer for 2 minutes.
  4. Broil the topping: Place the soup into 6 oven-safe small bowls or ramekins. Preheat a broiler to high or an oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Top with bread slices (about 1/2-inch thick), 1 slice Swiss or Gruyere cheese, and 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan per bowl. Broil 1 to 3 minutes (or bake for 20 minutes) until the cheese is melted and browned. Place on a plate and serve immediately, taking care since the bowls are very hot. 
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: Vegetarian French onion soup, French onion soup, How to make French onion soup

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

French Onion Soup with Brûléed Blue Cheese.

If you do one thing this week, make some blue cheese french onion soup! 2020 is wacky, especially since this is the second recipe for french onion soup that I’m sharing in one year. YES. I couldn’t help it. I originally shared this lover’s french onion soup back in February, just in time for Valentine’s […]

The post French Onion Soup with Brûléed Blue Cheese. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

If you do one thing this week, make some blue cheese french onion soup!

french onion soup with brûléed blue cheese

2020 is wacky, especially since this is the second recipe for french onion soup that I’m sharing in one year. YES. I couldn’t help it.

I originally shared this lover’s french onion soup back in February, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Before the world imploded!

It’s incredible. It’s a classic version that is dreamy and cheesy and oh-so comforting.

caramelized onions in a pot

Then.

Then I saw a recipe for french onion soup with blue cheese. Ummmm. What?

My life was forever changed. I love blue cheese SO MUCH. 

The thought of melty, bubbly blue cheese on top of french onion soup was something I could not erase from my brain. It sounded absolutely incredibly and such an upgrade from the original.

So I made it. A bunch.

We ate it like crazy.

base of french onion soup

And here we are! I’m showing you how to make it because it’s a hug in a bowl. A big bowl of heaven that has to happen in your life. Yes, it’s a treat to make any time of year, but especially delicious right now for this chilly holiday season. If you’re looking for a special meal to make to take the sting off of this weird and lonely holiday season, I’ve the ticket.

French onion soup with blue cheese! It will comfort you and make you the happiest person EVER.

french onion soup topped with baguettes and blue cheese

So in my traditional french onion soup recipe, I like to deglaze the caramelized onions with bourbon. In this recipe, I use red wine.

My preference is pinot noir, but you could use your favorite red. I love the flavor that the red wine adds to the onions as it cooks down – and it complements the blue cheese so well.

french onion soup topped with baguettes and blue cheese

P.S. I’m a little bit of a red wine + blue cheese combo fanatic. Remember when I make these blue cheese biscuits with pinot noir butter?!

french onion soup with brûléed blue cheese

Anyway! The base of the french onion soup is still a classic – it’s the topping that takes it up a notch! I like to make crouton-y baguette slices that fit right in your bowl. Once those are toasted, pile a bunch of blue cheese or gorgonzola and broil the heck out of your bowls.

french onion soup with brûléed blue cheese

OH YES.

french onion soup with brûléed blue cheese

This is seriously one of my dream meals. Caramely, savory french onion soup. Toasty bread. Melty, bubbly blue cheese. Does not get any better than this! 

french onion soup with brûléed blue cheese

Blue Cheese French Onion Soup

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French Onion Soup with Brûléed Blue Cheese

This blue cheese french onion soup is divine! Classic french onion soup topped with a baguette slice and bruleed blue cheese. Dreamy!
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author How Sweet Eats

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 large sweet onions, (about 2lbs worth), sliced
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons red wine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • cup dry sherry
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 1 to 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 baguette, cut into slices
  • 8 ounces blue cheese or gorgonzola, sliced or crumbled

Instructions

  • Heat a large pot over low heat and add the butter. Once melted, stir in the onions, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are softened and are starting to caramelize, about 20 minutes. Stir in the red wine. Cook, stirring often again, for another 20 to 30 minutes until the onions are deeply caramelized and golden in color. Stir in the garlic.
  • Stir in the dry sherry and cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the beef stock and fresh thyme sprigs. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, until the broth has reduced and thickened a bit.
  • While the soup is simmering, make your baguette slices. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the slices on a baking sheet. Brush the bread with olive oil. Place in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden and crunchy.
  • To serve the soup, ladle spoonfuls of the soup into oven-safe ramekins or crocks. Place them on a baking sheet. Add a sprinkle of blue cheese on top, then a baguette slice. Pile more blue cheese on top. Repeat with remaining crocks. If you have leftover baguettes and blue cheese, I like to top the bread with the blue cheese and place them on a baking sheet too. These are great for extra dippers.
  • Turn the broiler on your oven to high with a rack in the center of the oven.
  • Stick the baking sheet in the oven. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Be sure to keep an eye on them so the bread doesn’t burn! Garnish with extra thyme if you wish. And serve!

french onion soup with brûléed blue cheese

Dooooo it.

The post French Onion Soup with Brûléed Blue Cheese. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Lover’s French Onion Soup.

Hello lover! I’m here with the best french onion soup for you. It’s caramely and decadent and cheesy and satisfying. Perfect for a winter’s day or Valentine’s night. Personally, this is what I would love to eat on Valentine’s Day the most!  Now I know, I know. I have a (verrrry old) french onion soup […]

The post Lover’s French Onion Soup. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Hello lover! I’m here with the best french onion soup for you.

My favorite french onion soup starts with bourbon caramelized onions! Adorable heart croutons and tons of gruyere take it over the top.

It’s caramely and decadent and cheesy and satisfying. Perfect for a winter’s day or Valentine’s night. Personally, this is what I would love to eat on Valentine’s Day the most! 

My favorite french onion soup starts with bourbon caramelized onions! Adorable heart croutons and tons of gruyere take it over the top.

Now I know, I know. I have a (verrrry old) french onion soup recipe here on the blog that’s (gasp!) made in the slow cooker. People get really passionate about not making it in the slow cooker, and it’s not like that’s my omgfavoriteversionever, but my oh my I do love french onion soup.

My favorite french onion soup starts with bourbon caramelized onions! Adorable heart croutons and tons of gruyere take it over the top.

So here, I’m showing you how to make it the good old fashioned way! It takes a while to truly caramelize the onions. Like, at least an hour. I like to caramelize them with bourbon for some extra oomph since it IS valentine’s week after all. 

My favorite french onion soup starts with bourbon caramelized onions! Adorable heart croutons and tons of gruyere take it over the top.

You also need to use quite a few onions for little result. Think of it like when you cook spinach: the mixture is going to cook down majorly, but the flavor that develops will be incredible. It absolutely MAKES the soup. 

My favorite french onion soup starts with bourbon caramelized onions! Adorable heart croutons and tons of gruyere take it over the top.

The broth is rich and delicious, made with beef stock and thyme. One of my favorite french onion soups ever is from cafe sante in boyne city where they make it with duck fat. Now, THAT is good.

But this may be even better.

Tons of gruyere cheese. Lots of it to give you that melty pull. 

And a heart shaped crouton? I mean, could these BE any cuter?! 

My favorite french onion soup starts with bourbon caramelized onions! Adorable heart croutons and tons of gruyere take it over the top.

The crouton is important. You might be wondering why, considering that by the time you get to the bottom of french onion soup, the bread tends to be disintegrating. But this is the reason! Making a crouton allows it to last longer and absorb more without falling apart. It also adds some wonderful texture along with depth of flavor. 

P.S. after years of telling you I like my toast on edge of being burnt to a crisp, do you believe me now? HAHAHA.

My favorite french onion soup starts with bourbon caramelized onions! Adorable heart croutons and tons of gruyere take it over the top.

And how about the cute crocks?

I think my mom is probably losing it right now that I actually bought these crocks on amazon because she has similar ones somewhere in her house, like legit from the 70s. These are quite 70s looking, aren’t they?! I love it. 

My favorite french onion soup starts with bourbon caramelized onions! Adorable heart croutons and tons of gruyere take it over the top.

Of course, you don’t need a crock to serve these in, but you do need something that is oven-safe. Like a ramekin. Broiling that gruyere on top of the soup is the key to making it seem restaurant-ish and gourmet. 

My favorite french onion soup starts with bourbon caramelized onions! Adorable heart croutons and tons of gruyere take it over the top.

I mean, LOOK AT THAT.

My favorite french onion soup starts with bourbon caramelized onions! Adorable heart croutons and tons of gruyere take it over the top.

This is a soup of pure love. You have to love cooking to make this soup, or at least love the person that you’re going to make this soup for. Even if it’s just yourself. It’s a little labor of love, though it’s not hard at all. It just takes awhile, but it’s one of those beautifully decadent recipes. Where you spend the evening making it and just.can’t.wait. to take a bite.

Isn’t that the best?

My favorite french onion soup starts with bourbon caramelized onions! Adorable heart croutons and tons of gruyere take it over the top.

Lover’s French Onion Soup

Lover’s French Onion Soup

My favorite french onion soup starts with bourbon caramelized onions! Adorable heart croutons and tons of guyere take it over the top.

  • 4 to 5 large sweet onions, ((about 2lbs worth), sliced)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 garlic cloves, (minced)
  • ⅓ cup dry sherry
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 1 to 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, (plus extra for garnish)
  • 8 ounces gruyere cheese, (freshly grated)
  • bread slices, (cut into heart shapes)
  1. Heat a large pot over low heat and add the butter. Once melted, stir in the onions, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are softened and are starting to caramelize, about 20 minutes. Stir in the bourbon. Cook, stirring often again, for another 20 to 30 minutes until the onions are deeply caramelized and golden in color. Stir in the garlic.
  2. Stir in the dry sherry and cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the beef stock and fresh thyme sprigs. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, until the broth has reduced and thickened a bit.
  3. While the soup is simmering, make your heart croutons! Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Use a heart-shaped cutter to cut out hearts in the bread, then place them on the baking sheet. Brush the bread with olive oil. Place in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden and crunch.
  4. To serve the soup, ladle spoonfuls of the soup into oven-safe ramekins or crocks. Add a sprinkle of gruyere cheese on top, then a heart crouton. Add another sprinkle of gruyere on top. Repeat with remaining crocks.
  5. Turn the broiler on your oven to high with a rack in the center of the oven.
  6. Place the crocks on a baking sheet and stick them in the oven. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Garnish with extra thyme if you wish. And serve!

My favorite french onion soup starts with bourbon caramelized onions! Adorable heart croutons and tons of gruyere take it over the top.

Probably gonna nap on that little cheese raft.

The post Lover’s French Onion Soup. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.