A word of warning now: my camera/lighting situation is abysmal. I just really enjoy cooking and thought it would be nice to share some recipes that I love. If you’re looking for a beautifully-crafted food blog, this is NOT it. If you’re after a super-easy vegan French Onion Soup, keep reading!
I love French Onion Soup. The chewy cheese, the croutons soaked in that delicious, savory broth, and the slippery onions bursting with flavor. Problem is, apart from the obvious cheese-not-being-vegan issue, the broth is generally beef broth. Luckily, it’s incredibly quick and simple to make. It can even be made in a crock pot and be ready to eat after a long day at work (actually, I’ve never made it in a crock pot, so let me know how that goes). Find the recipe here, or follow along with me…
Chop or slice 3 large onions (or equivalent). I personally prefer chopped, but sliced is, I believe, traditional. I also prefer red onions to white, but honestly I don’t really find that it makes that much difference. Melt about a tablespoon of vegan butter (I use Smart Balance Light Non-Dairy Spread) in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. I’ve made this without any butter before and it tastes just as good, but you do have to babysit the pot a bit more so the onions don’t stick, adding a bit of water throughout. I think this is where using a crock pot might come in handy. Saute the onions until translucent with a touch of color, about 15 minutes with butter, 30 minutes without.
While that’s going on, you can make your croutons. Slice a baguette into 1/2 inch-thick slices. Lay them out on a baking sheet and toast them on one side in the oven at 350°F for 5-10 minutes.
It is also at this point that it is compulsory to eat a popcorn ball.
Now you can add in about 3 tablespoons of Better Than Bouillon reduced sodium vegetable base (or save the equivalent 8-10 cups of vegetable broth/stock until later), 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and 2 minced garlic cloves. Stir until fragrant.
I know that lots of people are completely alcohol-free, but to me, red wine is essential for this recipe. There are plenty of non-alcoholic wine options on the market, so I’m sure they would work. I added 1/2 a cup of red wine and stirred until bubbling. Now you add water (and/or your reserved vegetable broth) until the pot is full and increased the heat to high.
It’s strange: at this point, you’ll stir the pot, and as you stir, you’ll think, Where did the onions go? I didn’t add nearly enough! This is just a watery mess with a couple of bits floating around! So you’ll stop for a minute or two, stare out the window, and wonder where it all went wrong. Then you’ll hear the pot just start to steam and simmer, look at it again, and…
MAGIC! Perfection! Like this, it will store in the fridge for about a week. But forget that, let’s eat. You can, of course (and I have), eat it as is, but for the full effect, there still a little more to do.
Fill your soup crocks (or any oven-safe soup bowls) with (reheated if necessary) soup. Add as many croutons as needed, toasted side down. The reason I don’t toast both sides is because some of the croutons might stick out from under the cheese, and I don’t want them to get too burnt.
Now the cheese! I’ve tried Chao slices, but they never gave me the crunchy, crusty brownness I was looking for. I know it’s more traditional to use enough cheese to spill over the edge, but because this cheese gets SO crusty, it’s actually too hard to eat and wasn’t really worth the cleanup. Now pop this under the broiler until brown and bubbly.
The entire process takes less than an hour, and it’s so worth it! I hope you give it a try and let me know what you think!
French Onion Soup | Printable Version
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
1 T vegan butter (optional)
3 large onions, chopped or sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ t black pepper
3 T reduced sodium Better Than Bouillon vegetable base
½ c red wine
1 baguette, sliced
Vegan cheese (I like Daiya Swiss-style slices)
1. In a 4-quart pot, sauté the onions with or without vegan butter until the onions are translucent with just a touch of color, about 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, lay out ½ inch-thick slices of baguette and toast one side in oven set at 350 F for 5-10 minutes.
3. Stir in garlic, pepper, and vegetable base and continue stirring until fragrant. Add wine and stir until bubbling. Fill the pot the rest of the way with water and increase heat to high. Once simmering, serve immediately, or cool and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
4. To serve: Reheat soup if necessary, and ladle into onion soup crocks or other oven-safe soup bowls. Top with baguette slices, toasted side down, and vegan cheese. Broil until brown and bubbly. Serve immediately.