Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Recipe of the week: Vegetarian French Onion Soup


  • Cooking for my family has become increasingly difficult, earlier this year my youngest daughter, Mackenzie, decided she was going vegetarian.  (For moral reasons, which I can support, if you're just jumping on the vegi/vegan band wagon because of some thing you read on the internet, then spare me.)  Her two favorite soups are broccoli cheese and french onion.  She had a mini-melt down when she found out french onion was made with beef broth the last time she ordered it at Panera.  I promised her I'd come up with a vegetarian substitute and this is what I came up with.  (FYI:  Don't start out with sweet onions, as the onions caramelize they will get sweet and you don't want them to be too sweet.)  Let me know what you think (and you can always make it the traditional way with beef broth).  A Votre Sante!


  • For the soup:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 large brown onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2-1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2-1 tsp raw sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp flour (optional)
  • 32oz or 4 cups vegetable broth
  • For the topping:
  • 1/2 to 1 loaf french baguette 
  • Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella or Gruyere (or a mixture)
  • Butter, olive oil or oil spray

  • Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, cook for about 15 minutes then add garlic, bay leaves, sugar. salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 30 minutes maybe a little longer. Add the wine, bring to a boil, turn back down to medium low. Discard the bay leaves.  Dust the onion mixture with flour and stir.  (Optional) Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn't burn, and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the vegetable broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 5-10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  • For the topping:  
  • When you're ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the cheese/cheeses and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Ladle the soup in bowls and cheese bread on top.
  • Alternative method: Ladle the soup into bowls, top each with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese. Put the bowls into the oven to toast the bread and melt the cheese.
  • I wasn't sure if my dishes were oven safe so I floated the cheese bread on the top.   Enjoy!