Vegetarian French Onion Soup
Before I became vegetarian I looooooved French onion soup! The beefy, salty, cheesy, oniony deliciousness was totally rad. I even had those fancy-pants French onion soup bowls with the handles so you can pop them in the oven to melt the cheese. Yummmmm.
This was one of those dishes I didn’t really realize I would be losing when I went vegetarian, until I almost ordered it at a restaurant one day and then thought ‘Oh yeeeeaaaah. Right. Damn.’ #sadface
So I set out to create my own vegetarian French onion soup and – if I can be so bold – I think I effing nailed it! It’s loaded with vitamin B-12, which is nutritionally awesome for us vegans and vegetarians, and the onion and garlic content will get those arteries a-flowin’!
My secret ingredient that gives this soup the delicious ‘beefy’ taste is…. drumroll please….. Marmite. Yes, Marmite! This helpful little guy here:
If you aren’t familiar with Marmite, it’s going to sound and look totally disgusting to you, but TRUST ME on this one! It’s vegetable yeast extract that looks like some bastardized version of hot fudge topping, smells pungent, and has a very salty, beefy sort of taste – fair warning if you decide to lick the spoon, yo! It also happens to be high in protein and is totally loaded with B vitamins.
The Brits put this stuff on their toast (in the past I actually really liked it on buttered toast with a fried egg), and they even have Marmite flavoured crisps (potato chips)! But I use it in several of my soups, marinades and dishes to add ‘oomph’ to veggie recipes and broths. I love this shit. <3
You can usually find it in the baking/cooking ingredients aisle of your grocery store, or at a bulk store like the Bulk Barn. If those fail, try a British food store.
I’m personally not a fan of soggy bread. DO NOT WANT. So I don’t include it in my vegetarian French onion soup recipe. But if you wanted to bake some croutons with a few stale bits of bread, salt and garlic powder, you could toss those in and the croutons won’t go soggy as fast as a big hunk of bread shoved to the bottom of the bowl.
If you’re vegan, you could of course omit the cheese or use a vegan-friendly alternative like Daiya. I also use a fabulously tasty vegan Worcestershire sauce by Annie’s. It’s slightly pricey but you only use a wee little bit so it lasts a really long time.
*Just a quick note on this recipe: If you decide to refrigerate it for lunches, be aware that the oils will congeal a bit on the surface of the soup once it chills. Just give it a stir and you’re good to go. It hasn’t gone bad, don’t worry! 😉
What you need:
4 cups white cooking onions, sliced
5 large cloves garlic, minced
2 cups mushroom broth, if you can find it
2 cups vegetable broth (or 4 cups veg if you can’t find mushroom)
2 cups hot water
3 tbsp refined coconut oil or canola oil
2 tbsp +1tsp Marmite
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Shredded white cheddar cheese (optional)
What you do (it’s easy peasy):
1) In a large pot, sautee the onions and garlic on medium-low until very soft but not yet turning brown. While they are sauteeing, prepare the broth.
2) Once onions and garlic are very soft, add broth, hot water, and remaining ingredients (except for the cheese).
3) Stir very thoroughly, cover and bring to a gentle boil for 5 minutes.
4) Reduce heat to low, and simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve immediately with or without shredded cheese, or set aside to cool before refrigerating or freezing.
Makes 6 lunch-sized portions.
Cost per portion: