Vegetarian French Onion Soup

Vegetarian French onion soup


Have you ever eaten a soup that makes you think Yumm that was really something special! Once, many years ago that happened with me with a vegetarian French onion soup which I ordered in a restaurant in Jersey.

Since then I’ve made it loads of times but in the beginning my vegetarian French onion soup never quite hit the mark. Until now that is! And this is the result, this yummy French-onion-style-soup to die for.

If you’re happy to make this soup without following a detailed recipe, the basic route for success is to fry the onions with a little salt and garlic for a long time until they turn brown.

In another pan, create a vegetable stock by adding lots of vegetables, herbs and flavourings to a pan of water and cooking it on a low heat for a long time. Or learn this simple method for making the most delicious vegan stock.

You then mix the two pans together, taste for seasoning and flavour, add a glass of red wine and allow to cook slowly for a further hour.

Serve and eat and enjoy! I like to serve it with grated cheese on top but if you want it to be vegan just leave out the cheese and switch the butter for olive oil.

This recipe does take a while to make and it gets better if you cook it slowly. If you’re looking for a quicker recipe take a look at this easy onion soup recipe.

Vegetarian French Onion Soup
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  • 5-6 large Spanish onions peeled and sliced into halves and then into quarters. Slice one or two of the onions thicker so that you have some chunky onion in the soup when it's finished.
  • 2 cloves garlic squeezed
  • butter and olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Gram Flour
  • 1 slosh red wine
  • Flavour the water with vegetable. You can make use of what you've got in the fridge but here are some example vegetables:
  • 2 leeks thinly sliced
  • 2 celery sticks chopped in half
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot peeled and cut in half
  • 1 red pepper whole
  • 1 green pepper whole
  • 1 tsp Marmite
  • Gluten free soy sauce


  1. Add all the vegetables - the leeks, celery, sweet potato, carrot, red pepper and green pepper to a pan of water. Add a teaspoon of salt, dash of gluten free soy sauce and teaspoon of Marmite.
  2. Put onto a high heat until the water starts to simmer and then turn down to keep it on a gentle simmer with the lid on.
  3. In a separate pan, heat the butter (or olive oil) and squeeze the garlic into it. Add 3/4 of the sliced onions and stir to coat in melted butter. Pour on a little olive oil and stir fry for a moment. Cover with a lid and cook on a low-medium heat for about 10 minutes until the onions look a bit transparent and tender. Remove the lid and turn up the heat to medium.
  4. Fry the onions, stirring, and making sure they don't stick at the bottom. In the beginning you can just stir every so often easy because they'll have juices and won't stick to the bottom but after a while you do need to keep a close eye on them and keep stirring and watching so they don't suddenly burn.
  5. Season with a little salt.
  6. It's important to realise that it takes a long time to brown onions. I always used to expect much quicker results so I'd turn up the heat and do too-fast a job. But that doesn't work to get full flavour. Let them have a good 40 minutes cooking time. When they're brown, add one tablespoon of gram flour and keep stirring, then ladle in some stock-water from the other pan until you have a sauce consistency.
  7. Remove the whole peppers, carrot and celery pieces from the stock pan. Blend the leeks and sweet potato into the stock and then mix with the onion sauce making sure to get every bit of browned onion into the soup and not left clinging to the pan to be washed down the sink!
  8. Once the soup is all mixed together, give it a taste to see if it needs more herbs, soya sauce, Marmite or salt. Cover and leave on a low heat to further cook for 40 minutes.
  9. Serve with grated cheese and toasted gluten free bread.

Do you do anything differently when you make vegetarian French onion soup?

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