Bonjour mes amis!
I am tres excited about this recipe ~ you must know…. French Onion Soup is one of my most favourite soups!
OMG, I crave this stuff! When winter rolls in, I get into a hibernating mode and one of the things I do embrace about winter is good soothing tasty meals that warm the heart and soul…
I find a bowl of this Vegan French Onion Soup paired up with delicious grilled cheese (also vegan and gluten free) just hits the spot right now. I liked keeping the rich classic taste in this traditional soup while honouring a vegan diet and offering wheat-free and gluten-free options… Bon Appétit!
VEGAN FRENCH ONION SOUP
(vegan, dairy-free, meat-free, gluten-free options, wheat-free)
makes 4 servings | 1 hr cooking time
- 4 large sweet onions
- 4 Tbsp olive oil + more if needed
- 2 Tbsp vegan buttery spread (I use Earth Balance)
- 2 L water with stock vegetables (celery, carrots, parsnip + other favourites) OR 2 L vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
- 1 Tbsp potato starch
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup wild dried mushrooms
- 4 slices of gluten free bread or rye toast bread
- 1/2 – 1 cup vegan shredded mozzarella cheese ( I use Daiya)
- green onion for plating
Directions: Slice the onions very thin and heat place in a large pot with olive oil. Stir them to coat well and heat on low being careful not to burn the onions. Add in the buttery spread after 10 minutes and continue sautéing for about 45 minutes, stirring every few minutes and checking for colour. You are after a golden colour and glossy finish on the onions. It is easy to burn the onions if you’re heat is too high and that will ruin the flavour. Do not cover with a lid. If the oil cooks away too much, you may be heating the onions too much, or you simply need to add a little more oil. About 30 minutes into cooking time, add in the dried mushrooms.
Adjust the heat if needed to cook but not burn the onions. Ovens have different settings and different pot materials give you different cooking resolutions. I prefer to use either stainless steel or cast iron. (never coated pots or pans).
(Because the onions take a longer time to sauté, it’s gives you enough time to cook your own stock!) I do that all the time and still to this date have never purchase stock yet! ;)
Bring a separate medium pot with water to a boil, peel the vegetables and roughly chop them, or even just cut in half so they fit in the pot. Boil on medium for about 20-30 minutes. You can remove the vegetables carefully with tongs (and use them in a salad or add to another recipe – in our house, our 5 year old loves cut up cooked vegetables).
Back to the onions, they should look golden and glossy by now and the dried mushrooms should be somewhat soft. Add in red wine, salt and pepper and fresh thyme. Simmer for about 10 minutes uncovered until the red wine cooks down – you may turn the heat up slightly for this.
Slowly pour in the *stock* into the pot with onions and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes.
If using store-bought stock, it’s best to heat it up separately first and pour it in hot.
While that is cooking, prepare the starch to thicken up this soup: In a small bowl whisk together the potato starch with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Mix well so no clumps remain. Slowly, while mixing the soup, pour the contents inside the large pot.
Heat for another 5 minutes or so and très bien! You have a beautiful French Onion Soup awaiting…
To serve: Heat the broiler up in your oven or mini-oven and prepare 4 oven-proof ramekins. Fill the bowls to the top, place a slice of preferred bread on top (if your bread is dense, it’s best to toast it first so it’s nice and crispy) sprinkle top with vegan cheese and place in the oven. Broil for about 3-5 minutes until you see the cheese start to melt on top and change colour to light gold.
now for the companion to this delicious soirée… (keep the oven still on)
GLUTEN-FREE & VEGAN GRILLED-CHEESE
(vegan/ dairy-free, gluten-free/ wheat-free)
- 8 slices of gluten-free bread
- 1/2 cup vegan cheese (slices are easier to handle – but shredded works fine too – just more cumbersome)
- vegan buttery spread
Directions: Spread the buttery spread generously on the outsides of two slices. Heat up a skillet and place the first slice “butter” down, add cheese slices or an even portion of shredded cheese on top and cover with the other bread slice — butter facing top!
Allow the bread on bottom to turn a nice golden colour, then flip the bread over to cook the other side. (this is when slices of cheese work better than shredded cheese) Slices stay in place while shredded cheese may fall out – if using shredded, get a good grip on the sandwich and flip, then put some of the cheese back in.
Because vegan cheese may take longer to melt, or it could be that gluten-free bread is more dense and the heat doesn’t get through fast enough. My bread got nice and toasty on the outside but the cheese didn’t melt enough inside. If this happens, wrap the cheese sandwich tightly in parchment paper (I don’t use aluminum foil and I don’t recommend it), and place in the oven to allow to melt for about 5 minutes longer. Just remember to switch the broiler off to a regular oven 350 F temperature, to avoid a possible my-sandwich-caught-on-fire moment
If serving the soup with the sandwich, time the pre-serving together so you have both foods ready at the same time more or less. You may serve the grilled cheese sandwich still wrapped in the parchment paper – keeps the heat in and adds for a nice tactile food experience.
Sprinkle with green onion and serve! Bon Appétit!
Patience is key in this recipe, but that’s why I love cooking this lovely French Onion Soup in the winter — the heat just warms up the house nicely and the kitchen becomes even more cosier and heartwarming…. pure love.
Pressed for time?
My winter cooking tip is to cook in the evenings for next day, so you can just reheat when you come home and savour a great home-cooked meal. You can also double the batch or make it to serve 6 and freeze in air-tight containers for a quick thawing of the soup later on. This soup reheats well even with bread and cheese on top.
Scooping up a spoonful of this cheesy French Onion Soup and savouring it’s richness and smooth texture was, in one word : an experience.
To me, because it took me about 5 years to eat my favourite soup, (why that long? don’t ask. — it had to do with me thinking that I can’t have French Onion Soup because it’s always on beef broth and always with a wheat crusty toast and always with stretchy dairy cheese – that’s why) it was a true experience that I enjoyed thoroughly… I’m so happy I can eat this lovely soup again and happy that we can embrace these cold winter days just a little more…
ps. unbeknownst to me, sadly little kids hardly care for French Onion Soup. Working on it ;)
Do you like French Onion Soup?
Do your kids like onions?