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Easy Vegan French Onion Soup Recipe

vegan french onion soup recipe _elizabeth rider

French onion soup is hearty and elegant, and surprisingly easy to make. This is my vegan twist on the dish, the main difference being that I use vegetable stock instead of beef stock. Give it a try, you’ll be surprised at how much it tastes like the original. You can use any combo of onions you have on hand, they all become sweet when cooked down and caramelized.

The hands-on time for this recipe is really limited; most of the time it takes is spent on the stove without your help. It’s the prefect thing to make on a weekend afternoon while you’re doing other chores around the house.

Aside from being delicious, this vegan french onion soup recipe actually has healing and medicinal properties.

Onions, along with garlic, shallots, scallions and leeks, come from the Allium family and are loaded with antioxidant power. They’re particularly high in flavonoids that simulate the production of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant for your liver that helps eliminate toxins. Onions also contain high levels of sulfur and quercetin, which help neutralize free radicals in the body and protect cell membranes.

Our other star ingredient, thyme, has been used for its medicinal purposes for centuries to treat things like gastrointestinal issues, laryngitis, and lack of appetite. It can also help relieve respiratory ailments related to the common cold and flu. Thymol, favonoids, B vitamins, vitamin C and others give thyme its healing properties.

Easy and so good for you – eat up!

Easy Vegan French Onion Soup Recipe

Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 2 hours
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large white or yellow onions, sliced into thin half-moons
  • 3 large fresh thyme sprigs (about 1 tbsp), leaves stripped (or ½ tsp dried)
  • 2 tbsp good quality aged balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cups (1qt) vegetable stock (no salt added)
  • 2 cups purified water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tsp sea salt, divided
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Optional (non-vegan version):

  • Sprouted whole grain bread
  • Grated Gruyere cheese (not healthy but a little is ok for an indulgence)

Recipe:
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, thyme, 1 tsp salt and drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over the onions; lower the heat to medium low. The onions may be filling the pot completely but will cook down to about ⅓ of their mass. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the onions caramelize and turn light golden brown, about 50-60 minutes. Add the balsamic and cook until it’s absorbed and the onions are a deeper brown, about 15 more minutes. Add the stock, water, bay leaf, remaining salt and pepper, then bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer at least 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

I usually eat it just like this, but you can also serve it with toasted sprouted grain bread and melted gruyere cheese for a more classic presentation. Instead of baking the cheese onto the soup, put slices of sprouted grain bread on a baking sheet, rub the tops with a fresh garlic clove, drizzle with a little olive oil and top with the gruyere cheese. Bake for 10 minutes at 350º until the cheese is melted. Top each cup of soup with a slice of the cheesy bread and serve.

This soup (minus the cheese and bread) freezes extremely well in an airtight glass container.

Tip: You can also substitute 1/4 cup of a good quality, bold red wine for the balsamic vinegar. I suggest a burgundy or cabernet sauvignon.

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vegan french onion soup recipe _elizabeth rider

Easy Vegan French Onion Soup Recipe

  • Author: Elizabeth Rider
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 45 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x

Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large white or yellow onions, sliced into thin half-moons
  • 3 large fresh thyme sprigs (about 1 tbsp), leaves stripped (or ½ tsp dried)
  • 2 tbsp good quality aged balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cups (1qt) vegetable stock (no salt added)
  • 2 cups purified water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tsp sea salt, divided
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

    Optional (non-vegan version):

  • Sprouted whole grain bread
  • Grated Gruyere cheese (not healthy but a little is ok for an indulgence)

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot or Dutch oven.
  2. Add the onions, thyme, 1 tsp salt and drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over the onions; lower the heat to medium low. The onions may be filling the pot completely but will cook down to about ⅓ of their mass.
  3. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the onions caramelize and turn light golden brown, about 50-60 minutes.
  4. Add the balsamic and cook until it’s absorbed and the onions are a deeper brown, about 15 more minutes.
  5. Add the stock, water, bay leaf, remaining salt and pepper, then bring to a boil.
  6. Turn the heat to low and simmer at least 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
  8. I usually eat it just like this, but you can also serve it with toasted sprouted grain bread and melted gruyere cheese for a more classic presentation. Instead of baking the cheese onto the soup, put slices of sprouted grain bread on a baking sheet, rub the tops with a fresh garlic clove, drizzle with a little olive oil and top with the gruyere cheese. Bake for 10 minutes at 350º until the cheese is melted. Top each cup of soup with a slice of the cheesy bread and serve.
  9. This soup (minus the cheese and bread) freezes extremely well in an airtight glass container.
  10. Tip: You can also substitute 1/4 cup of a good quality, bold red wine for the balsamic vinegar. I suggest a burgundy or cabernet sauvignon.

 

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  1. Terre rivera says:

    This was such a delicious dish that was inexpensive and so easy to make. For this recipe, I didn’t have any thyme or balsamic vinegar handy so I substituted them with oregano and ACV. Plus I added chopped kale. It was amazing!!

  2. Saheli says:

    Thank you for this and other lovely recipes. Inspired to make these.!

  3. Lynn says:

    Just made this for the first time, absolutely delicious!!!! I used a vegan provolone and sprouted grain bread…will definitely be making this again and sharing with friends! Thank you!

  4. Mary Sheehan Dakin says:

    Delicious. I wanted a meaty flavor so added 4 oz sliced mushrooms when the onions were almost carmelized. It’s definitely a keeper. Good enough for company. Thank you

  5. Mac907 says:

    I know this post is old, but just in case anybody stumbles upon this comment…
    I recommend getting the veggie stock and herbs simmering while the onions are cooking. I also added a dash of soy sauce and vegetarian Worcestershire sauce to the stock. After the balsamic vinegar cooked off, I added the stock and let it simmer for only a few minutes instead of 30. Was a great way to shave off some time without a noticeable difference. Delicious recipe, by the way. I haven’t eaten French onion soup in almost a year since going vegetarian/vegan. Have made it twice in the past 2 weeks. The second time around, I made a double batch and froze half into individual portions in baggies to heat for a quick lunch or dinner. Thanks!

  6. NYVegan says:

    Cheese isn’t plant-based, so vegans could use an alternative (e.g., a cashew/nutritional yeast combo with a touch of light vinegar). Also find it curious that bread is listed under the optional “non-vegan” version. Just don’t top it with dairy cheese.

    • Thanks for stopping by, and, you’re right! Cheese isn’t vegan or plant-based, that’s why it’s listed under “Optional (non-vegan version).” I think the sprouted grain bread I was using had dairy in it so it’s listed there too. This is a great recipe to make you own. ~Elizabeth

  7. Christina Bebee says:

    Me and my hubby love this soup! Have already made it twice since finding it a couple weeks ago. I doubled up the latest batch in hopes of freezing some, though we may not have leftovers at this rate! Have added to my personal recipe collection. Thank you!!

  8. Tweeter says:

    This soup is BOMB. Made for under $1 but super nutritious! Didn’t have thyme or pepper. Replaced with a dash of red pepper flakes, a few generous dashes of curry powder, and a generous sprinkling of dried basil. Vegan onion soup with a kick!! YUM! Already made it twice.

  9. Frédéric C.B. says:

    How can this recipe be vegan if there is “Grated Gruyere cheese” as ingredient?
    If you want to make it vegan, maybe Daiya would help.

  10. Loved the Recipe. I think the vegetable broth we used had too much sodium though so it was a little salty. I noticed the particular broth we used had more sodium than the other in our cabinet. otherwise, i will certainly be cooking this one again

  11. Kara Nicholson says:

    Great recipe!! Also, I referenced this article/video just to confirm I had the right idea on half-mooning onions 🙂 http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/cooking-tips-techniques/preparation/slice-onion-00000000002230/index.html

  12. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Elizabeth Rider, Elizabeth Rider. Elizabeth Rider said: Yum! Easy Vegan French Onion Soup from WholeLivingBlog http://bit.ly/e0cpWf […]

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