French Onion Soup

Some months ago I made a French onion soup for Smark that seems to have made a much larger impression upon him than I’d realized. He’s been asking me to make him onion soup again for months, and although I’m usually very glad when he makes requests, I’ve been avoiding this particular one because I don’t remember what I did last time and was therefore unsure I’d be able to live up to his expectations. I’m breaking out of my cooking slump, though, and today felt up to the challenge. I wish I’d baked my own bread for this – I haven’t baked in several weeks – but maybe the fact that I didn’t will make the recipe more accessible to those who don’t bake bread. Caramelizing the onions for this takes a long time – I actually let them cook for two hours – but they can largely be ignored, so it’s not active time by any means. If you turn the heat up a bit higher than I did, you can caramelize them in an hour.

French Onion Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 huge or 3 normal-sized onions, any kind, I used a mixture of white, red, and yellow, thinly sliced
1 tsp salt
4-6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 tsp thyme
2 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups vegan “beef” broth
crusty French bread, sliced (3-4 slices per serving)
melty vegan cheese, like Daiya, shredded
Dragonfly’s Bulk, Dry Uncheese Mix, if you have it on hand (and if you don’t, why don’t you?)

Bring a soup pot or Dutch oven to medium-low temperature and add the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the sliced onions and the salt.

Cook the onions over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are caramelized and greatly reduced. Here is what their progression will look like:

Add the white wine, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, and pepper.

Stir in the broth.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for half an hour. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Slice the bread into 1/2″ thick slices.

Pop the bread slices under the broiler for a minute and a half, turning half way through.

Ladle the soup into individual broiler-safe bowls. (If you don’t have individual broiler-safe bowls, just broil the whole pot and ladle into individual servings later.)

Float the bread slices on the soup.

Top with shredded “cheese”, then optionally sprinkle with the uncheese mix.

Broil for a couple of minutes – keep an eye on it, the broiler works fast and things burn very quickly and it will probably be no longer than two minutes., depending on your oven.

Serve on individual trivets or other heat-safe surface.

Don’t make the mistake I did and leave the room momentarily in the middle of dinner.

Mark rated this “totally awesome”. Apparently I did his memory of my first French onion soup justice. Whew!

Speaking of Daiya cheese, which is now available in the US at all (I’m told) Whole Foods stores, here is a picture of some mac and cheese made using it – a quick post-swim meal from earlier this week.


  1. radioactivegan Said,

    April 26, 2010 @ 12:31 am

    that looks delicious! i found daiya at Earth Fare in Knoxville, TN. so maybe it’s at all earth fares, too? it is some pretty tasty stuff.

  2. renae Said,

    April 26, 2010 @ 9:14 am

    Oh, I hope it’s at all Earth Fares because that’s where I shop when I’m in Charleston!

  3. susan Said,

    April 26, 2010 @ 12:03 pm

    wegmans in pennsylvania just started carrying it…

  4. renae Said,

    April 26, 2010 @ 12:06 pm

    If my Wegmans starts carrying it that will be even better news (it’s closer than Whole Foods)!

  5. trinity Said,

    April 26, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

    I feel like you just read my mind. I’ve been craving French Onion soup (though I don’t think I’ve ever even had it). Yum! Can’t wait to make it.

  6. Erin Said,

    April 26, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

    I don’t know that I ever had “real” french onion soup, but your version looks amazing!

  7. kibbles Said,

    April 26, 2010 @ 6:13 pm

    Thanks for the great dinner idea tonight! My kitchen smells amazing right now.

  8. Josiane Said,

    April 26, 2010 @ 11:34 pm

    I usually do a cheater quickie version of French onion soup, but once in a while I’m up for the real thing. I’ll have to try your version next time. And thanks for pointing out Dragonfly’s Uncheese Mix – it sounds neat!

  9. susan Said,

    April 27, 2010 @ 4:17 pm

    it seems brachtune has very good taste…i just caught mine with his head in my water glass…very sneaky

  10. bed frames Said,

    April 30, 2010 @ 4:03 am

    I really don’t like onions but the dish looks so delicious! I guess I want to try it.

  11. meg Said,

    April 30, 2010 @ 3:32 pm

    This is a formal request from your blog stalker for your Daiya mac ‘n’ cheeze recipe. We finally have Daiya here in Sacramento (I thought it was my nagging both my local Whole Foods and Daiya but then it turned out they did it nationwide without my help… I’m self important) so I’m all over the stuff. I’ve tried and devoured several batches of it when I don’t feel up to making my ‘traditional’ two-pot+one-baking-dish version but I bet you’ve come up with an amazing recipe. Quit withholding your secrets! 🙂

  12. renae Said,

    April 30, 2010 @ 6:38 pm

    Hi Meg, I just made a white sauce (roux of olive oil + flour, whisk in non-dairy milk), then tossed in cooked pasta and a bunch of Daiya and cooked until it was melty. It was the first time I’d used Daiya to make mac and cheese, but I can do a real post on it the next time I do.

  13. Jes Said,

    May 3, 2010 @ 10:26 am

    I need to go to Richmond to get some Daiya stat.

    The French Onion Soup looks divine & I’m going to have to bookmark it for a cool night. I can’t believe how hot it is already, but I’m sure some weird cold front will breeze through. Is there anything better than caramelized onions??

  14. Kristen Said,

    May 18, 2010 @ 2:28 pm

    Yum this looks so good.

    Do you think we could post this ingredient photo on the Daiya FB, or possibly site?

    Please contact us at

  15. Teresa Said,

    January 27, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

    I just searched all the vegan blogs I could looking for a french onion soup to make… and this is IT! Thanks so much for your documentation of this dish! I will likely post it on my blog and link back to you when I make it (:

  16. renae Said,

    January 27, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

    I hope you like it Teresa – let me know how it turns out!

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