By fan request, I made a classic winter soup with a history as rich as its flavor. This Vegan French Onion Soup is the perfect soup for those cold winter nights.
During ancient times (and even today), onions were cheap, easy to grow, and simple to store. So for the poor peasant, the onion was a savior, with onion soups being popular during the Roman times.
One story says that our modern version goes back to the 17th century when King Louis XV was at his hunting lodge one night and was hungry. When he only found onions, butter, and champagne in the pantry, he decided to use the three ingredients to make French onion soup for the very first time.
The croutons and Gruyère cheese came later I guess.
In my version, I leave the cheese out, but I do have a recipe for a pan pizza mozzarella you could try if you’re feeling adventurous.
I love traditional peasant foods because of the simple ingredients they used.
But… I do have a few recommendations when it comes to the broth which in my opinion is the key to making this dish delicious.
- yellow onions
- organic Better Than Bouillion low-sodium vegetable base*
- dried shiitake mushrooms (optional) *
- cooking sherry (or dry white wine) *
- soy sauce (or tamari)
- fresh sprigs of Thyme
- French baguette
- vegan cheese (optional)
See the recipe card for quantities.
- I chose the “Better Than Bouillion” broth over my normal low-sodium veggie broth because the difference in flavor will knock your socks off. It is SO much more flavorful and the organic version is oil-free. And if you add some dried mushrooms you bump it up even more.
- The BTB Veggie Base is a Costco item but I’ll add my Amazon affiliate link as well. I earn a little bit from every purchase.
- Cooking sherry can be found in most grocery stores near the vinegar.
Step 1. Prepare your onions by cutting them in half from root to tip (or pole to pole). Remove the skins and then make thin slices using the same orientation.
Step 2. Add your onions to a large Duch Oven with a teaspoon of salt and about ¼ cup of water to prevent sticking. Saute them on medium heat for 30 – 45 minutes until they begin to soften and brown, stirring often and adding more water when needed.
The key to caramelizing onions without oil is to use a consistent heat (medium), stirring often, and only add more water when the pan becomes dry.
When the onions have reduced, stir in the minced garlic.
Some browning on the bottom of the pan WILL happen, and we WANT it too. Those browned bits (called “the fond”) have a lot of flavor. We’ll mix those in when we deglaze the pan.
Step 3. While the onions are browning, cut a French baguette into ¾” slices and toast in a 350°F oven or toaster oven until browned, then set aside.
Also, heat 5 cups of water to boil then add the dried mushrooms (if using) and the veggie base and turn off the heat. Mix well. Once rehydrated, the mushrooms can be removed, diced, and returned to the stock if you wish.
For 5 cups of water, I used 1 ½ Tbs of BTB veggie base.
Step 4. When the onions have substantially reduced and browned, add ¼ cup of cooking sherry (or white wine) to deglaze the pan, being sure to scrape up all those brown bits on the bottom. Mix well.
Step 5. Tie a small bundle of fresh thyme sprigs (about 5g or just add ¾ teaspoon dried) and add to the pan along with the broth and soy sauce. The soy will add even more of that rich umami flavor to the broth.
Step 6. Mix well and continue to simmer on med-low heat until the soup has slightly reduced, about 20 min.
Step 7. Serve with toasted bread on top.
Step 8. If using cheese, serve in oven-safe bowls, top with the toasted bread, and then cover with your favorite vegan cheese. Broil just until the cheese has melted then serve.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
By fan request, I made a classic winter soup with a history as rich as its flavor. This vegan french onions soup is the perfect soup for those cold winter nights.
- Prepare onions by slicing them in half from root to tip, then removing the skins
- Thinly slice the onions from root to tip and add them to a large Dutch oven
- Add ¼ cup of water and saute on medium heat for 30-45 min, stirring often and adding water as needed.
- Meanwhile, cut the baguette into ¾” slices and toast in a toaster, toaster oven, or in a 350° F oven until browned.
- Also, prepare broth by bringing 5 cups of water to a boil, adding the dried mushrooms and veggie base, stirring well, then removing from the heat.
- Once the mushrooms have become rehydrated they can be removed, diced, and added back to the broth
- Stir the minced garlic into the onions
- When the onions have browned. deglaze the pan with the sherry, being sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan
- Tie the thyme sprigs into a small bundle
- Add the broth, thyme, and soy sauce and mix well.
- Continue to simmer on med heat for another 15-20 min.
- Ladle into oven-proof crocs (if using cheese), topped with a baguette toast, and top with vegan cheese
- Broil until cheese has melted and serve
- If not using cheese, ladle into bowl and top with toast and serve
Keywords: vegan French onion soup