Vegetarian French Onion Soup with Cheese

Vegetarian French onion soup with cheese
French onion soup photo by Chris Alack / Getty Images
  • 50 mins
  • Prep: 35 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: about 4 servings
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Looking for a vegetarian French onion soup recipe? You've found it! Most French onion soup recipes rely on a strong beef broth for flavor, but using a strong and good quality vegetable stock will impart plenty of flavor. Any kind of vegetable broth will work just fine, but if you can find a vegetarian beef-substitute broth or vegetarian beef-flavored soup base, you may want to use that.

Another tip for a meaty-flavored soup, if that's your thing? Add a dash of liquid smoke to the soup while its simmering, if you have some on hand. 

This is a quick and easy vegetarian recipe for a basic vegetarian French onion soup with just a few simple ingredients. It's not a super fancy recipe, but it really doesn't need to be. If your cupboard is nearly bare and you're wondering what to make for dinner tonight, try this super easy vegetarian French onion soup along with a side salad and an artisan bread and you'll have yourself a complete meal.

For a vegan version, use a non-dairy soy cheese and vegan margarine (or even olive oil) instead of the butter. 

Need this recipe to be gluten-free as well as vegetarian or vegan? Just check the ingredients on your vegetable broth, as some are gluten-free and some are not. Or, make your own homemade vegetable broth if you want to be certain. 

What You'll Need

  • 1/2 pound onions, sliced into strips
  • 2 tbsp butter or
  • vegan margarine (I like Earth Balance brand)
  • 5 cups good quality strong vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese

How to Make It

Brown the onions in the butter or vegan margarine in a large soup pot, allowing to cook well for at least 10 minutes, and up to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 10-20 minutes, you can add a little bit more butter or margarine and cook them for even longer, up to an additional 20 minutes if you have time, but you don't need to.

Add vegetable broth, scraping the pot to get all the onion bits incorporated into the soup, then cover, and allow to simmer for at least 10 minutes.

Season with a generous amount of salt and pepper, and add cheese, allowing it to melt slightly.

Serve immediately.

Traditionally, French onion soup is served in individual bowls with a sliced baguette on top, covered in cheese, and broiled in the oven for about 10 minutes. I'm not a big fan of bread, so I personally just enjoy my French onion soup with out this step. Up to you. 

Like meat-free soups? Here's more vegetarian and vegan soup ideas to try: