Cozying Up with Vegetarian French Onion Soup

Vegetarian French Onion Soup

Does this stuff just look like winter or what?

You’re probably already aware of this, but we’re in the middle of a wee bit of a cold spell.  Newsflash, I know.  Because your numb toesies and chattering teeth hadn’t alerted you already.  Now I am of good, upstate NY stock; I can handle a cold spell or two.  But I’ve been coddled into weakness by a year and a half of DC weather, and I was no match for what today had in store for me.  After several self-pitying walks to and from the Metro I was ready for some warmth in my life.  A cup of tea helped in the short term (roasted dandelion root– it sounds weird I know, but it’s my latest obsession and it’s SO GOOD), but the wind had gotten to my bones and I needed something more to thaw me out.  Lucky for me I had some leftovers in my fridge that were just what the doctor ordered.

Simpler times, when the outdoors was something to be celebrated and "Polar Vortex" wasn't part of our vocabulary.

Simpler times, when the outdoors was something to be celebrated and “Polar Vortex” wasn’t part of our vocabulary.

I meant to give this recipe to you sooner.  I made it on Friday, got all jazzed about it, and then realized I’d forgotten to take any pictures past the initial, chop-the-onions phase.  Which means you’ve gone 4 WHOLE DAYS longer than you have to without this soup in your life.  Can you ever forgive me??  Have a bowl of this and then decide– somehow I think you’ll be in a far better mood.

If you can chop 4 onions without shedding a tear you deserve a medal.

If you can chop 4 onions without shedding a tear you deserve a medal.

Vegetarian French Onion Soup

This soup is great for chilly days like today when you’re planning to spend a few hours inside.  The onions will take a loooong time to caramelize, but that’s kind of the idea– gotta cook ’em slow to get that amazing flavor!

  • 1 stick Butter
  • 4 large Onions, sliced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 T. dried Thyme
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 c. Red Wine (you should probably heat the rest up with a cinnamon stick, an orange, and some cloves for a quick mulled wine.  You know, for your health.)
  • 3 T. Flour
  • 2 qts. Vegetable Broth (traditional recipes use beef broth, but you won’t miss it!)
  • 1 loaf French Bread or Baguette, sliced
  • 4 oz. Gruyere

Melt butter in a large pot over medium-low heat.  Cook onions, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme until caramelized.  AKA find something else to keep you busy for the next hour and a half.  Once onions are deliciously caramelized, add wine and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer until wine cooks off, then discard the bay leaves.  Stir in flour and cook for a few minutes to get rid of the floury taste.  Add in veggie broth and simmer for at least ten minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Even if your parents haven't given you a beautiful cast iron casserole for Christmas (thanks guys!!!), I promise your soup will still be delicious.

Not the prettiest soup in the world, but anything looks good in that beautiful blue Christmas gift (thanks Mom and Dad)!

For the cheesy bread topping that is the real reason anybody eats French Onion soup in the first place, top bread slices with grated Gruyere and broil for a few minutes til golden brown.  If you’re snazzier than me and have oven-proof soup tureens, fill the bowls with soup, place bread and cheese on top, and toast under the broiler.  But don’t worry, the soup taste just as good without the added class 😉

Cheesy Gruyere Bread

I don’t understand people who don’t like to cook. Don’t they know they get to feed themselves stuff like THIS if they do?!

I was a bit nervous about this soup– I’ve never made any kind of French Onion soup before, and I certainly have never made it (or had it, for that matter) with vegetable broth instead of beef broth.  I was afraid it might lack flavor, but it didn’t AT ALL.  BF doesn’t even like soup and he had seconds both times I made it!  French Onion soup is one of those awesome recipes that takes a few simple ingredients and makes them into something amazing.  And despite consisting of little more than onions and broth it is somehow insanely filling, which is perfect for cold winter nights when you want a little extra meat on your bones.  This is definitely a recipe to keep in rotation for the next few months!