Even though literally any food that exists can be made vegan, I always hear people say there are ‘just a few things’ that can never be made entirely from plants no matter what. One of those things is French Onion Soup. I don’t know what about French Onion soup seems so mysterious and elusive. It’s probably the ultra-savory broth or the bread-y/cheesy top, but this recipe brings both. The star of the soup is the onion, and we plant eaters know our way around onions just fine.
I’ve actually been looking for a good recipe for this for awhile and I found it in a cookbook my boyfriend stumbled upon and bought for me a few months ago. (In hopes I’d make him the tortilla soup on the cover. Oops! Made this instead.) This book, Vegan Cooking for Carnivores, was written by Ellen and Portia’s personal chef, Roberto Martin. His recipes are attainable, with few ingredients and simple preparation, while still being insanely good. This soup takes maybe an hour of active time and serves six.
Here’s what you need:
For the soup-
3 large white onions
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 cup dry sherry
8 cups of broth made from Better Than Bouillon ‘No Beef Base’
(When making the broth, use a little less of the base than the label calls for. It can get too salty really fast if you use too much.)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the top-
1 French baguette
1 cup grated Daiya mozzarella cheese
Here’s what you do:
For the soup-
Remove the tops and bottoms of the onions and cut in half lengthwise. Then slice them lengthwise into thin strips.
Heat soup pot over high heat. Add the oil and let it heat up, then add the onions and sauté over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until they caramelize. This should take about 40 minutes. The onions will be turning a dark brown color and some may stick to the bottom of the pot. If they do, just turn off the heat, cover the stuck onions with the loose ones and wait few minutes. This should loosen them up and allow you to turn the heat back on and continue to caramelize them until they’re a deep dark brown.
Add the sherry. This will deglaze the pan, so you can scrape the bottom and sides of the pot down with a spoon. Cook the onions in the sherry until it’s almost evaporated. Add the broth and cook on medium low for about 15 minutes, to allow the flavors to blend. Season with pepper to taste. (It won’t need salt.)
For the top-
The croutons can be made while the broth simmers. Slice the baguette at an angle into 1/4 inch slices. (Make sure they can fit in your soup bowls.)
Place the slices of bread on a clean baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees, or until they’re just a little toasty. Turn on the broiler (or the highest setting on your oven if you don’t have a broiler) and sprinkle the grated Daiya cheese on them. Bake/broil for 2 to 3 minutes until the cheese is perfectly melty.
Ladle the soup into your bowls and place one crouton in each. Serve.
And that’s it!
What you’re left with is equal parts savory and cheesy- a gooey, melty, flavorful soup experience. If you’re just serving one or two, only make the amount of croutons you need tonight, save the rest of the baguette for next time and store the broth in small, individual tupperware containers in the freezer, and it can last you a pretty long time.