French Onion Soup (Vegetarian!!)

I cannot tell you the number of times that my family and I have gone to restaurants where they serve French Onion Soup and we can NEVER eat it. Why? Because one the primary ingredients is beef broth!! UGH SO ANNOYING. It always looks so bubble, so cheesy, so yummy and delicious, and in the 23 years of my life, I have NEVER tried it. Well, that all changed when I made MY version.

If you didn’t read my Christmas 2010 post, one of my favorite gifts was from my oldest sister

– my first piece of Le Creuset cookware!  A mini cherry red cocotte- it is sooo cute. I finally got the chance to use it! With my mini cherry cocotte came a Le Creuset cookbook, so this recipe is a slightly adapted version of that- I mean, obviously it is since the recipe calls for traditional beef stock and that is a NO NO.

Spicy French Onion Soup:

slightly adapted from Le Creuset Mini Cocotte Cookbook 
  • 4 large white onions- diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic- crushed and minced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (yes, I know, not usually part of my ingredient list, but this is traditional for this soup!)
  • 1 tbsp red crushed pepper (please adjust to your spice level!)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 5 cups unsalted vegetable broth
  • 3-4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere Cheese
  • 4 slices thick crusty bread
  • 4 shallots- cut in half
  • 4 mini cocottes/oven safe bowls
1. Preheat the oven 400 degrees.
2. In a large heavy-duty pot heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the diced onions, garlic and red crushed pepper. Saute for about 7 minutes. Lower the heat to low and cook the onions for about 30 minutes until soft and caramelized- this is a slow process and takes times, be patient!
3. Once the onions are caramelized, add the salt and taste to make sure its not too salty or undersalted. Add the vegetable broth, bay leaf, thyme and lemon zest. Increase the flame to medium-low and simmer for about 10-15 minutes- until the soup is infused with the thyme and bay leaf.
4. Divine evenly among the cocottes. Take the halved shallot, and stuff back-side-in into the slice of bread. In a skillet sprayed with some cooking spray, place the bread onion face down and sear for about 2-3 minutes until the onion is charred. Remove and carefully place on top of cocoette. Top with 1/4 of the Gruyere cheese. Place in the oven, and bake for about 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubble. Remove and serve immediately.
Serves 4
Like this Recipe? You’ll love my other veggie favorites! 

23 thoughts on “French Onion Soup (Vegetarian!!)

  1. Very nice soup. I have never been a great fan of soups, but this autumn i was short in vitamins and I been cooking a lot of autumn soup for me and possible post. But you are right, my mother always said, not ruin a great vegetarian soup with beef broth!

  2. This looks amazing. My boyfriend, a carnivore/chef, has made this for me (as I am a lacto/ovo vegetarian) and he uses a little dash of vegetarian (Annie’s, I think?) Worcestershire sauce to give it a little richer color and zing.

    Is Gruyere cheese made with dairy-based rennet (which is from cow’s gastrointestines) ? If so, do you know what a vegetarian substitute would be ?

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