Wednesday, November 17, 2010

French Onion Soup-- Vegetarian Style

 I've been feeling a bit like buying frozen pizzas or eating pretty simple sandwiches lately. While I am writing this I am perfectly content to just grab a handful of grapes from the fridge-- yes my computer is by my fridge and it's weird but it's a long story-- and not cook a big meal at all throughout the day. Maybe school is finally getting to me but it's sad because this is my favorite time of year. It's the time where I can make cookies and give them to people without feeling a bit awkward about it and, best of all, hearty soups are finally an acceptable meal. So I'm not going to make anything tonight, but I will share this excellent soup I made about a week ago.

 Since I have become vegetarian I miss very few things about the meat eating world but one thing that always makes me regret my decision is going to La Baguette in Colorado Springs and watching those around me enjoy a bowl of French Onion Soup. The cheese on these bowls looks like it must take days to soak off and it consistently smells welcoming and delicious. Alas! Full of beef broth! Recently though on a day when apparently many vegetarians decided to give up on cooking, I found a great cookbook in the thrift store. Lo and behold it had a decent looking French Onion soup recipe in it using vegetable stock. As my christening of this new cookbook I made this soup first. I have quite low expectations for recreations of traditionally meaty dishes but I fell in love with this one right away. I must admit though, I think that what I really love is the croutons soaked in onion broth and covered with melted cheese. That was without a doubt the best part.
This recipe wasn't very labor intensive but it was time consuming. Mostly for this stage of the game because these onions need to get to an amber brown color and that takes a good hour to do. It's worth it though to bring out that onion flavor.

I decided to toast some chunks of bread in the oven before I added them to the soup. The recipe only called for one slice of a baguette on top and I have many problems with this. First of all, why buy an entire baguette to use two slices? and second of all I demand more bread! It's the best part.

I don't know how oven proof these bowls were but they seemed to hold up fine so I won't complain. I found this recipe in my new cookbook Vegetarian and Vegetable Cooking by Christine Ingram. So far it was $1.50 well spent. It does seem like it may be from Western Europe or something though because sometimes I come across a ridiculous ingredient (vegetarian suet for example)

2 Large yellow onions
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
2-3* cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
slices of French bread
grated Gruyere or other Swiss cheese

1. Chop the onions into quarter inch chunks. In a deep saucepan heat the oil and butter together over medium Add the onions to the pan and fry for a few minutes, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat and cook for another 45 to 60 minutes. At the beginning they only need to be stirred occasionally but as they begin to brown, stir more frequently.

2. When the onions are a rich amber color, add the stock and some salt and pepper. Simmer partially covered for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat the broiler and toast the chunks or slices of bread. Then fill two oven proof bowls with the soup, top with bread and then grated cheese on top. Broil until the cheese is melted and delicious looking.

*I added the option in the ingredients for 3 cups of vegetable stock. I used only two cups and it was still good but not really as soupy as I wanted it.

This is linked up at Fresh, Clean and Pure Fridays, Friday Potluck, Vegetarian Foodie Fridays, Fight Back Friday, Foodie FridayFood on Fridays, I'm Lovin' it Fridays, Friday Favorites. Whew!


  1. I didn't know you were a fellow Colorado Springs-ian! I've never been to La Baguette, even though there's one within walking distance of our house... crazy! Anyway, I haven't found a single one of your posts that I don't completely love... and I completely love this one -- thanks for breaking down the French Onion soup -- it looks WONDERFUL!

  2. This looks outstanding. Since it comes by recommendation (yours), I believe that I shall make some. Thanks!

  3. O my! I live in Denver right now but I go back to Colorado Springs frequently and I Always try to get to La Baguette it's so excellent and you should definitely give it a try. I like to think that my soup gives their soup a run for their money though (pipe dream!)

  4. I finally came into making French Onion soup when I learned that you can buy beef flavoured veggie soup stock. So when we get a hankering for FO soup this is what we use.

  5. Yum. I've been looking for a vegetarian onion soup recipe. This one looks really good. Thanks for sharing

  6. beef flavored veggie soup stock... hmmm... I'm not sure how I feel about that.

    I do know that I've been craving this for a long time so any veggie substitute is fine by me.

  7. Wow. two french onion soup recipes in the potluck blog hop this week. awesome. It's going to kill me deciding which one to try!

  8. looks delicious...i love the amber brown color of the onion, yum! thanks for sharing your recipe! happy weekend! :)

  9. That looks really good! Thanks for linking up for Friday Favorites last week! Hope to see you again this week!

  10. I love that you have done a vegetarian version of this classic! What a great recipe!

  11. Erin- it makes me so happy when I see my pictures on your website.

    and to all- always go with the vegetarian version of a food!

  12. The first picture makes my mouth water. It looks so easy to make :)

  13. Thank you! It was surprisingly easy to make.


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