January 17, 2017

Vegetarian French Onion Soup

Hey, did you know that in France they don’t call it French Onion Soup? Nope, it’s just Onion Soup. I know: Mind. Blown. Right?!? Does that mean that French Fries are just, well, fries?!?

When I was in Paris, I had Onion Soup Gratin and it was amazing. And you know what? It didn’t have that giant cap of cheese over the top of the soup that is more like a separate entity than part of the soup. No, this had oooooooey, gooey cheese, that melted into the soup, making it all thick and stringy and so very, very good. The bread wasn’t ginormous cubes of white bread that turns to glue the second it hits the broth; it was a good slice of toasted crostini, that fit snugly in the bowl but still allowed for that cheese to slide down into the soup and commingle. Commingling is good.

I’ve probably made onion soup at least 40 million times over the years and I’d like to think that I have mastered it. The way I like it, of course. But, if you like the cheese cap, go for it. If you love more bread than broth, practically a grilled cheese sitting in a pool of oniony goodness, own it! See, Onion Soup isn’t difficult to make, and it is super customizable. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why this classic is still popular today! Add in to the mix that it’s pretty frugal and has that whole stick-to-your-ribs-comforting thing going on, and you’ve got yourself a winner at dinner.

French Onion Soup with no beef stock?!?

I make my French Onion Soup a little differently than the traditional method (which, I might add, is soooo delicious). I forgo the traditional beef stock, in favour of a veggie one, and I get a little crazy with the gruyere, adding it under the crostini and on top (if there’s a world where gruyere doesn’t exist, I don’t wanna know about it). The result is still deeply rich and flavourful, with those stringy cheese strands that stick to your chin in the most glorious way possible, and the soup itself takes on a thick, creaminess thanks to the sneaky addition of gruyere under the crostini, which melts and commingles in the broth (remember what I said about commingling?!?).  My stomach literally just growled.

One last thing: caramelizing onions is easy. But it takes time. So, if you have 10 minutes to make dinner before rushing out the door, this isn’t the ideal meal. But, if you’ve got 45 minutes, dive right in! You can’t rush onions. They need to get all soft and golden and delicious. I did a post awhile ago on caramelized onions where you’ll find a little step by step with photos. I know. It’s pretty nice of me. 

So, without further ado I present Onion Soup Gratin, Mud On Her Boots style.

#meatlessmonday calls for some soul satisfying French Onion Soup! www.mudonherboots.com


Vegetarian French Onion Soup

6 servings


  • 4 Large Onions: I love using Vidalia when I can find them. But any kind of onion is fine.
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil+more for drizzling
  • 2 Cups White Wine: preferably something you'd actually drink. Typically I'll use a chardonnay, but whatever you have on hand is totally fine.
  • 4-6 cups of Vegetable Stock
  • Salt+Pepper, to taste.
  • Day old baguette sliced thickly-8-10 slices
  • 2 cups grated grueyere


    Cooking the onions:
  • Peel and slice onions into thin rounds.
  • In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter with oilive oil. Add onions and stir to combine with oil/butter mixture.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to caramelize. This should take 35-40 minutes. DON'T RUSH THIS STAGE!! Onions will quickly burn if you don't keep an eye on them, and then the end result will be harsh and bitter tasting.
  • Onions are ready when they are soft and a light to medium goldeny brown colour.
    Preparing the soup:
  • Once onions are caramelized, turn up the heat and pour in wine, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan. Allow wine to come to boil for two minutes or so. You are looking to burn off some of the alcohol taste.
  • Add vegetable stock and warm.
  • Taste, then season with salt and pepper.
  • Taste again.
  • Reduce heat to low and let sit.
    For the crostini:
  • Turn on Broiler.
  • Place baguette slices on a baking sheet. Drizzle slices with olive oil and sprinkle a little salt and pepper on them.
  • Put under broiler until toasted to desired doneness.
    To assemble the soup:
  • Using onion soup bowls or other oven-safe vessels, ladle in soup, ensuring that each bowl gets a good amount of onions (you're looking for lots of onions, here!)
  • Grab a thick pinch of the gruyere and sprinkle it over the soup.
  • Top with a toasted crostini.
  • Then cover crostini with another good pinch of gruyere.
  • Put soup bowls on a baking sheet and pop under the broiler. KEEP AN EYE ON THEM as cheese is notorious for burning quickly (#askmehowiknow!)
  • Remove bowls from oven once cheese has melted and is starting to bubble.
  • Serve.

Happy Souping!

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