- Food: French Onion Soup
- Writer: Lizzie Green
- Content-Type: Food Blog
This simple French onion soup recipe will beat any restaurant version. It’s rich, delicious, and comforting, with a crispy, cheesy baguette on top.
One of my favorite comfort foods is French onion soup. Because it’s generally made with beef broth, I hadn’t been able to find a nice vegetarian version for years.
But, because the taste comes from the caramelized onions, it seemed like a good candidate for a meatless makeover.
I’m here to tell you that this French onion soup recipe is just as wonderful as any made with beef stock, after a lot of testing (and a lot of soup). It’s robust, savory, and wonderful, and it’s swimming in velvety caramelized onions.
To make it, I use tamari and balsamic vinegar, two of my favorite ingredients for bringing a meaty taste to plant-based dishes.
They make this soup taste deliciously savory and sour, much like my veggie burgers and vegan meatballs.
I add a big amount of white wine, as well as aromatic thyme and garlic, to further enhance the flavor. Then I top it up with a typical French onion soup must-have: a toasted baguette covered with melted cheese!
How to make French Onion Soup?
Caramelize the onions first. Because caramelized onions give French onion soup its sweet, rich flavor, simmer the onions for approximately an hour longer than you think you need to.
Before moving on to the following process, they should be very soft and golden brown. I like to increase the heat from low to medium for the last 20 minutes to get more browning.
The soup should then be simmered. Stir in the onions with the vinegar, thyme, tamari, and garlic, scraping up any browned bits clinging to the bottom of the saucepan.
Add a few tablespoons of flour to thicken the soup as it cooks, and then pour in the wine. Finally, add the broth and cook the soup for 30 minutes, uncovered.
The bread should then be toasted. Thin slices of baguette or French bread are topped with grated cheese and baked until the baguette is toasted and the cheese is melted in a 450° oven.
Use a nice melting cheese with a deep, nutty flavor for the best results. Gruyere or a blend of aged white cheddar and Parmesan are two of my favorite cheeses.
Finally, it’s time to eat! Ladle the soup into bowls after the bread is cooked. Enjoy with a toasted slice of bread and thyme sprigs on top of each one!
Tips for Making French Onion Soup
- Thinly slice your onions. You don’t want big onion pieces in this recipe since French onion soup is best when thin slices of onion virtually melt into the heated broth. Slice the onions into thin strips using your sharpest knife.
- Brown the onions well. The rich flavor of French onion soup originates from caramelized onions, so don’t skimp on the onion sautéing time! Cook for 40 minutes on low heat, or until they’re extremely soft. Then increase the heat to high and cook for another 20 minutes, or until they begin to brown. When you taste the powerful, umami soup, you’ll be rewarded for your patience!
- Extra baguette slices can be toasted. This soup is excellent on its own, but it’s even better with a crisp, cheesy baguette on top. Jack and I always devour our bread pieces before our soup bowls are emptied when we cook this recipe. Extra baguette should be toasted so that you have enough to eat with your complete bowl of soup.
- Make it ahead of time. Because the taste of this soup develops as it sits in the fridge, it’s a terrific meal to prepare ahead of time. Cook the soup from beginning to end and keep it refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat the soup on the stove and toast the baguette slices in the oven when you’re ready to eat. If you have any leftover soup, you may store it in the freezer for up to three months.
Suggestions for Serving French Onion Soup
Because this French onion soup is so fragrant and thick, a small amount goes a long way. For a holiday meal or a date night, I like to serve small bowls as an appetizer. Serve it with any protein of your choice and a simple salad, such as my Caesar Salad or Pear Salad. It’d be great with pasta as well. Serve it with one of the following recipes:
- Broccoli with Orecchiette
- Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
- Fettuccine Rabe
- Butternut Squash Ravioli
French Onion Soup
|Time to Prepare: 10 minutes
1 hr 30 mins to cook
1 hr 40 mins total time
Serves: 4 TO 6
This French onion soup is just as excellent as any restaurant version! The broth is rich, delicious, and flavorful, but the toasted baguette is the finest part. This recipe is elevated by the addition of melty, golden brown cheese.
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 pounds medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- 1½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1½ tablespoons tamari
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose white flour
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Baguette slices
- Gruyère cheese, aged cheddar, and/or Parmesan cheese
- Fresh thyme
- Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
- In a big pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Toss in the onions, salt, and a few grinds of pepper to mix. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes, or until the onions are very soft. Increase the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir in the vinegar, tamari, thyme, and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes after adding the flour to the onions. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the wine has evaporated. Add the broth and cook for 30 minutes over medium heat.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the baguette slices on the baking sheet, covered with cheese, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the slices are toasted and the cheese has melted.
- Serve the soup in ramekins or bowls with toasted baguette slices, fresh thyme, and a pinch of red pepper flakes on top, if preferred.