Vegetarian French Onion Soup

I’ve been LOVING soup this winter (like more than usual) and this Vegetarian French Onion Soup has really been hitting the spot lately! It’s relatively easy to make and so ridiculously comforting. You can make it with or without the cheese so leave it off if you’re wanting a vegan version of this delicious soup!

And if you’re looking for other delicious vegan soups, this Chickpea Noodle Soup is one of my FAVS as well as these: Vegan Butternut Squash Soup, Alphabet Vegetable Soup, Moroccan Chickpea Soup.

several white bowls of french onion soup with bread and cheese on top

A few months ago I found myself HARD CORE craving French Onion Soup. Naturally, I ended up creating my own Vegetarian version of this classic soup and figured that I would share it on my blog! While it takes a bit of time to caramelize the onions, it’s simple to make and PERFECT for cold winter dinners!

Truthfully- this was a recipe that took little effort to make vegetarian. It’s really just a matter of replacing the beef broth and finding small ways to really substitute that flavor and classic color.

close up shot of caramelized onions coming out of a bowl of french onion soup

I never used to make french onion soup at home until the past few years and it’s just SO COMFORTING! Like chicken noodle soup as a kid level of comfort and I am HERE FOR IT.

As written, this soup serves 4 but those are larger portions. If desired, you could easily make this into a 6 servings soup and serving it as an appetizer or side dish with a meal.

french onion soup in a white bowl with toasted bread around it

Lets go over the ingredients I used to make this soup vegetarian:

  • Onions 🧅 – probably what you would expect to see in a ONION soup :D
  • Veggie broth – instead of using beef broth, I swapped in to for veggie and then added in a few other ingredients to give it that meaty flavor including…
  • Red wine 🍷 – I LOVE the extra flavor that this adds to the soup and it gives it a darker color similar to what you would get if you used beef broth. If you don’t want to use this, you can swap it for an equal amount of additional veggie broth and then add in a small splash of soy sauce.
  • French bread  🥖 – an absolute MUST for that classic onion soup deliciousness!
  • Fresh herbs 🌿 – You *could* use dried herbs here but I high recommend fresh if you can swing it.
  • Gruyere cheese 🧀 – this is totally optional and can be omitted if you’re wanting to make a vegan version of this soup! You could also swap it for vegan cheese which I HIGHLY recommend!

several white bowls of french onion soup with bread and cheese on top

For the bread topping:

For classic French Onion Soup, you cook everything, ladle it into oven proof bowls and then top it with toast French bread and sprinkle on the cheese before broiling it in the oven to get the cheese melted.

HOWEVER: if you’re wanting to skip that step for whatever reason, you can melt the cheese on the toast before placing it on top of your bowl of soup. And then completely skip the broiling process. I really like the classic method but this is definitely a little easier.

several white bowls of french onion soup with bread and cheese on top before the cheese has melted

AND that’s it! This is overall SOUPer easy to throw together and legit one of my favorite soups on the blog!

As usual, if you end up making this recipe PLEASE please please tag me in a pic on Instagram @foodwithfeeling!

bowls of french onion soup sitting on a baking sheet with bread and melted cheese on top

More vegetarian soups to try:

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Vegetarian French Onion Soup


  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

An easy and delicious VEGETARIAN French Onion Soup that’s vegan friendly and SO so good on cold winter nights!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of yellow onions (about 5 large), peeled and sliced (I cut mine in half and then slice them into half moons)
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (use vegan where applicable)
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar (you can use coconut sugar here if you’d prefer)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 cups of vegetable broth*
  • 1/2 cup of red wine**
  • 1 tablespoon of worchestire***
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme (can use dried if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices of French bread (or something similar), cut into thick slices
  • 1 cup of Gruyere cheese, freshly grated (optional or sub for vegan cheese)

Video

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive over medium high heat. Once hot, add in the sliced onions and begin to caramelize. Cook, stirring often, until the onions start to soften, about 20 minutes.
  2. Add in the butter and continue to cook the onions until they begin to brown, about 15-20 additional minutes. Really watch it and adjust the heat if the onions are starting to burn at all. You want them to slowly cook so that they brown slowly.
  3. Stir in the sugar and salt and continue cooking for 15 more minutes until the onions become well browned. During the last couple of minutes, add in the garlic and continue to stir.
  4. Deglaze the pot by stirring in the red wine and use a wooden spoon to scrap any bits and flavor from the sides and bottom of the pot. Stir in the veggie broth, worchestire sauce, bay leaves, thyme, and black pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Stir every few minutes.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush or spray the slices of bread with oil or cooking spray and place on a baking sheet. Toast for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. You want the bread to be lightly toasted. Once done, set aside.
  6. Season soup to taste with additional salt and pepper as needed. Ladle the soup into oven proof bowls, top with the toasted bread, and even sprinkle the cheese across the 4 bowls. Place the bowls on a large baking tray and broil in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbling around the sides.**
  7. Serve immediately and ENJOY!

Notes

  • *More so than other broths, I’ve noticed that veggie broths have a great range of sodium levels. If yours is low sodium then you may need a smidge more salt to the soup
  • **I like something like merlot or pinot noir here
  • ***Check to make sure it’s vegetarian as some have anchovies in them
  • **if you don’t have oven proof bowls or don’t want to fiddle with it, you can melt the cheese on the toast before placing it on top of the soup and then not worry with that final step of broiling the soup.
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: american

Keywords: vegetarian soup, vegan soup, french onion soup, onion recipe