Vegetarian French Onion Soup
I love French onion soup, but it's almost always made with beef broth, and I'm a vegetarian. I have my own French onion soup recipe that is easy, vegetarian, and really yummy. Read on and learn how to make it yourself!
French Onion Soup Ingredients - Using vegetarian vegetable broth
This onion soup recipe is very simple, with no fancy ingredients and little prep work required. None of these measurements needs to be perfect. A little more or a little less of anything is no big deal with this soup. For best results, use a homemade vegetable broth.
- 2 quarts vegetable broth, homemade or from the store
- 2 pounds yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced (about 6-7 medium size, no need to be too precise)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- Salt & pepper
- Loaf of French bread, cut in one-inch slices
- Â½ pound Gruyere cheese, shredded or sliced
About the cheese - Use Gruyere for traditional French onion soup
DON'T SMELL IT!
I'm kidding. Mostly. Gruyere cheese is really stinky, but it's the traditional cheese for French onion soup, and I think it works best for this recipe. I don't even like Swiss cheese (and this is a particularly foul Swiss cheese), but I like it with the soup and encourage you to try it.
In the end, you can use whichever type of cheese you like, and I promise I won't judge. Unless you use Velveeta, because that's just wrong.
Equipment & Tools
No special equipment needed for French onion soup
You don't need any special equipment or tools for this recipe, and there are no fancy techniques used.
- Large pot or stockpot
- Wooden spoon
- Cutting board
- Oven-safe bowls
Oven-Safe Soup Bowls
The recipe - Vegetarian French Onion Soup Recipe
This soup is easy to make, and there is not much you can do to mess it up. Just watch the onions when you're browning them to be sure they don't burn.
- Heat the oil in the pot over medium heat.
- Add the onions to the hot pot and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. The onions should become soft but not yet browned.
- Add the sugar, salt, and pepper, and continue cooking for about 20 minutes. Stir frequently and lower the heat if necessary to avoid burning the onions. They should be golden brown and soft. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. (The onions should be fairly sweet at this point.)
- Add the garlic and broth and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for at least 15 minutes. You can keep the soup warm on the stove until ready to broil and serve, or allow it to cool and keep it in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
- When ready to serve, heat the broiler and ladle the soup into individual oven-safe bowls.
- Top each bowl with a layer of bread, trimming slices if necessary to cover the entire surface.
- Cover the bread with the cheese. (Use sliced cheese and let it hang over the edges if you want the traditional messy French onion soup look and you don't mind scraping melted cheese off your bowls for hours later.)
- Heat under the broiler until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown.
Onion cutting tips - How to cut an onion without tears
Check out this video clip of the always-entertaining Alton Brown advising on cutting an onion without tears. (Goggles optional.)
Stockpots - Use a Large Pot for Making Soup
Prep Tools - A good knife and large cutting board makes it easier
Any knife and cutting board will work, but it's nice to have a large cutting surface and one really good knife to work with. My favorite all-purpose knife is a Santoku, which has dimples on the sides of the blade that help to release the food, so you don't have to push each slice off the blade.
More Vegetarian Soup Recipes
The Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, NY, is a pioneer in vegetarian cooking since 1973. This is just one of their many bestselling cookbooks.
Grab a spoon and let me know what you think!
Monica Lobenstein from Western Wisconsin on January 08, 2014:
Sounds good. We've been looking for a good veg french onion soup recipe. This sounds like it's worth a try... I love gruyere cheese!
LouisaDembul on March 14, 2013:
I just love onion soup!
kabbalah lm on March 03, 2013:
Onion soup is so yummy
Rose Jones on February 26, 2013:
I think I would prefer the beef broth, but I am willing to give yours a try. Pinned to my soup board and blessed. I am going to try Justin's suggestions.
anonymous on October 02, 2012:
I love "regular" French Onion soup but my girlfriend and roommate don't eat beef. I wanted to share the joy of this dish with them, so this recipe was a really great launchpad!
I recommend adding 1 cup of burgundy wine to the sauteed onions and letting that boil a bit until thick before adding the broth. Also, some spices: rosemary, sage and thyme to really make the flavors pop. Optional but awesome.
Jemecan on October 01, 2012:
Barbara Walton from France on October 01, 2012:
What a chic looking lens - perfect for this classic French soup. Blessed!
anonymous on June 18, 2012:
@anonymous: A vegetarian doesn't eat meat. Cheese is dairy. There is a big difference between a Vegetarian and a Vegan.
anonymous on June 12, 2012:
@anonymous: cheese is an animal by product, not an animal product. beef broth, on the other hand, is made with the bones of the animal.
anonymous on May 31, 2012:
@anonymous: Vegans don't eat animal produced products such as cheese or eggs, however Vegetarians do. :)
anonymous on April 30, 2012:
you're a vegetarian and won't eat beef broth...but cheese is just fine? whatever.
waldenthreenet on April 17, 2012:
Valuable topic . Thanks. Gotta look for a "package" to make thing easier at "Trader Joes" or another grocery store in my neighborhood. Love French Cooking. COngrads on your Squidoo level 61. Conversations helps with new ideas. Thanks.
cherielady lm on February 05, 2012:
wanna try it next weekend :)
anonymous on January 20, 2012:
enjoyed this indeed, looks terrific.
Katie Harp on December 21, 2011:
great vegetarian lens! blessed by a squid angel :) <3
awakeningwellness on December 18, 2011:
Yum sounds really good...thanks for sharing!
Malu Couttolenc on December 18, 2011:
This vegetarian french onion soup sounds delicious! Have to try it!
entertainmentev on December 06, 2011:
I know what I'm making for dinner tomorrow night.
anonymous on November 25, 2011:
Thank you for posting a veggie version of French onion soup!
Laraine Sims from Lake Country, B.C. on November 19, 2011:
I've been looking for this recipe. Thank you. Blessings.
anonymous on November 19, 2011:
earthybirthymum from Ontario, Canada on November 03, 2011:
Great Lense, we make veggie french onion soup in our home.
anonymous on November 03, 2011:
If you eat Gruyere then I got news for you - you ain't vegetarian, as there are no versions of this cheese which use vegetarian rennet. It is thickened with lining of calf stomach, so you might as well have the traditional beef stock in your soup as you are eating one of the worst things there is. Sorry.
food monkey on October 24, 2011:
looks great! nice lens!
JodiFromFlorida on October 17, 2011:
Yum! Great lens.
anonymous on October 08, 2011:
Thank you! I have always loved French Onion Soup and have always been more of a vegetarian than anything else! Now I have many good things to experiment with! Thank you, again!
anonymous on September 15, 2011:
I have never tried it either. Great lens.
verkeerd on September 11, 2011:
Never tried the vegetarian version, I will very soon do it. Thanks!
anonymous on September 03, 2011:
@anonymous: Some vegetarians consume dairy, and some even consume eggs. It all depends on their choices. One can argue the egg consumption with the living versus not yet living debate.
anonymous on August 27, 2011:
@anonymous: Its very possible to call this vegetarian: Its easy to find vegitarian cheese. If you want it vegan just skip the cheese.
anonymous on August 27, 2011:
@GrinningFool: Easy: Dont put cheese on the bread and chose a bread without milk in it.
Jules Corriere from Jonesborough TN on August 25, 2011:
I just had to click on and see how to make a beef broth soup into a vegetarian soup! The recipe looks terrific! Thanks for sharing!
RecipePublishing on August 04, 2011:
anonymous on June 14, 2011:
If a soup has cheese in it, how can it possibly be called vegetarian? Where does the cheese come from?
CherylsArt on June 10, 2011:
Sounds tasty. Blessed by your neighborhood Squid angel.
sushilkin lm on May 10, 2011:
Thanks for sharing your knowledge here..
anonymous on April 03, 2011:
itsmuzza2011 on March 18, 2011:
great lens i love soup and making it for my kids they love to eat it with crusty bread, my nickname at school was soup as i hate that much of it, and i could eat it everyday, how crazy is that ?, well done i love this lens ha ha
anonymous on March 03, 2011:
Please do not confuse Swiss cheese with Gruyere. And Gruyere does not stink. Try the true cave aged variety of Gruyere from Switzerland - you will never use another cheese where you need real cheese flavor.
greenkat lm on February 25, 2011:
Loved It! Thanks!
Krafick on February 22, 2011:
Onion soup is delicious. Thank you.
Diana Grant from United Kingdom on February 14, 2011:
It certainly looks good. I didn't know it needed sugar - I will try that, as I always think my onion soup is a missing a little je-ne-sai-quoit (I can't spell it either!).
Here's a Cupid Kiss from a Squid Angel for Valentine's Day
GrinningFool on February 12, 2011:
Now if we could only make it vegan!!
jojokaya lm on January 26, 2011:
Yummy..thanks for sharing
Tyla MacAllister on January 18, 2011:
I have been looking for a Vegetarian Onion Soup recipe for years. This one looks really yummy. *Blessed by a squidangel*.
fadibody on January 10, 2011:
Delicious! Definitely, you got interesting lens here!
Ben Reed from Redcar on January 07, 2011:
Sounds yummy. Thank you.
jackieb99 on January 01, 2011:
It looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe.
anonymous on December 27, 2010:
sounds delish! can't wait to try it.
fbaum818 on December 10, 2010:
Great article. I love French onion soup.
rasgriz on December 10, 2010:
its look delicious
ChrisDay LM on December 09, 2010:
Now that's a real treat!
anonymous on November 04, 2010:
@anonymous: You are aware that there are vegetable based, microbial, and genetically engineered rennets as well right? Or is your self-righteous attitude getting in the way of rational thought?
John Dyhouse from UK on October 19, 2010:
Did not realise that onion soup used beef stock, I make soups regularly and have never used anything other than a vegetable stock (low salt, of course)
gia combs-ramirez from Montana on October 16, 2010:
Yum! Didn't think vegetarian onion soup was possible!
piedromolinero on September 13, 2010:
I love french onion soup.
anonymous on September 06, 2010:
@anonymous: nothing like a judgmental attitude to help educate or inspire someone to learn more being vegetarian!
WindyWintersHubs from Vancouver Island, BC on April 30, 2010:
Congratulations on your Purple Star! I usually make the beef broth version but always looking to try something new. Trying to eat less meat and more veggies. Thanks for our recipe. :)
anonymous on March 31, 2010:
strange, you claim to be vegetarian yet you eat cheese which contains rennet(stomach lining of a calf)!?! Hmm double standard. There are lots of veggie cheeses out there however... At least there are here in Holland. I too am a veggie and enjoyed your recipe. cheers
AuthorNormaBudden on March 19, 2010:
Congrats on the purple star! I would love for you to submit your purple star lenses at https://hubpages.com/community/purple-star-awards-
Moe Wood from Eastern Ontario on March 13, 2010:
I love a good onion! And apparently you are a good onion -- congratulations on your purple star.
semas on March 12, 2010:
Thank you for the well explained recipe! Sounds yummy and will definitely try it out!
marsha32 on March 12, 2010:
Congrats on the purple star!
JanieceTobey on February 22, 2010:
Sounds yummy! I'd love to have you join the Delicious Vegetarian Recipes Headquarters!
Indigo Janson from UK on January 22, 2010:
Wonderful, it looks delicious and easy to follow, and I love the way you put this page together. Featured on my blog (The Custard Bowl).
VeggieGeek on January 21, 2010:
Yum this looks fantastic!
anonymous on November 22, 2009:
I recommend using less sugar is any sugar at all. MY boyfriend thought it was way too sweet....not sure how to fix the leftovers (suggestions welcomed)
Sniff It Out on August 02, 2009:
Sounds yummy and one I will definitely have to try!
I have featured this on my celery soup lens.
anonymous on June 26, 2009:
i am a vegetarian and im gonna try this recipe! :) sounds good to meee!
Cheryl Kohan from England on May 25, 2009:
Yummers! I must make this for my vegetarian daughter...and me, too, actually!
AppalachianCoun on April 27, 2009:
Great lens. We will try the cheese, but we feel about the same, as you do, about swiss cheese.
Kerri Bee from Upstate, NY on April 20, 2009:
The Giant Squid Greeters are kicking off a fun team challenge. You are hereby formally invited to join my team: Kab's Fab Squid Squad. I think you'd be a great addition to the Squid Squad.
RolandTumble on April 05, 2009:
Yum! I'm not a vegetarian, but this sounds great. 5*, favorite & lensrolled to my foodie lenses.
anonymous on February 12, 2009:
[in reply to KathleenH] What's even better is to add cooking Sherry and Thyme to this recipe and it really gets good.
deborahlynncarman on February 01, 2009:
Can't wait to try your French Onion Soup recipe with homemade broth.
MargoPArrowsmith on January 16, 2009:
Well, I have just featured this on Onions, They Get No Respect Thanks for adding to my lens!
KathleenH on October 15, 2008:
Hey congratulations on a great lens! I've been looking for a good French onion soup made from scratch and I think I just found it! Thanks so much - I love the vegetarian option as we're trying to reduce our meat intake. Thanks again!
AlisonMeacham on October 08, 2008:
I love french onion soup. I always make it at home as usually the recipes in restaurants have a beef stock base and I am vegetarian!
MargoPArrowsmith on September 11, 2008:
Yum. Little better than a great bowl of French Onion Soup and the lens is just as delicious.
anonymous on August 20, 2008:
You can also use - McKay's beef broth - all veggie & no msg awesome tasing & they also carry chicken flavor for all your chicken receipts
freaknoodles1 (author) on August 19, 2008:
Hi Richard! You could definitely use vegetable stock cubes and water or cans or cartons of veggie broth from the soup aisle at the grocery store. If you have more time, you'll get the best flavor and the healthiest soup from homemade broth. I have instructions for homemade veggie broth at www.squidoo.com/vegetable-broth.
anonymous on August 17, 2008:
What do you recommend the broth part to be made of: would vegetable stock cubes and water suffice?
beachbum_gabby on June 19, 2008:
I'm not a vegetarian but I love this soup matched with a garlic bread.
dyllen on June 18, 2008:
Welcome to the 'Soups - Great Food - Recipes and Chefs' Group
5 stars for your great lens!
KimGiancaterino on March 21, 2008:
Mmmmmmm! I'm a vegetarian too, and this is one of my favorite meals of all time.
anonymous on March 21, 2008:
I am going to try this tonight. I wanted to try something different for our Good Friday meal and frankley the family is getting tired of grilled cheese and tomato soup!
Music-Resource on March 16, 2008:
Hi Freaknoodles, Yummy Vegetarian French Onion Soup lens. ~Music Resource~
AlisonMeacham on February 19, 2008:
I am vegetarian too so know how difficult it is to find a good version of this soup - thanks for this one I look forward to trying it out.
Clairwil LM on February 18, 2008:
You've been nominated for Lens of The Week!
BobW on February 01, 2008:
This looks like a great recipe. Your lens is great. Stop by my lens at: http://www.squidoo.com/Vegetarian-Sources-of-Prote...
Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on January 30, 2008:
My husband requested French onion soup just this week. I think I'll try your recipe this time. Thanks!
SpicySun on October 16, 2007:
Great lens! Nice job! Spicy says: "Come on by and visit Spicy Sun Dips." You'll love it!
goldtouch on September 02, 2007:
I'm tempted all over this lens. 5 star.
Fat Loss Foods
Aika on August 30, 2007:
Whoa~ after reading your lens, I felt hungry ^_^ 5* for a yummylicious lens.
karukera on August 21, 2007:
TrÃ¨s bon article!!! toutes mes fÃ©licitations ;-)
containergardening on August 14, 2007:
This is making me Hungry! I think I need to go to my fresh container gardening and pick up to some fresh onions and try your tasty soup!
This will be perfect for the fall! Thanks and had to give you a 5 star rating for this one!
mn3guy on August 10, 2007:
That sounds very good (even for a meat and three veggies guy). I can smell it now! 5*
Meat and Three Restaurants
CherylsArt on August 06, 2007:
Nice lens, and welcome to the Vegetarian Recipes Group.
anonymous on August 03, 2007:
Yummy, I knew I shouldn't have come in here hungry! Great Lens, well done, loved it - Kathy
fleurdelisrising on August 03, 2007:
Delectable lens! I could eat my screen!