One-Pot Wonders

French Onion Soup

January 10, 2010
9 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This vegetarian twist on a classic soup uses a secret ingredient we all have on hand from our holiday baking. It lends a depth of flavor and aids in making a quick rich, stock from the already caramelized onions, so you'll never miss the traditional beef. Thyme is also the traditional herb used in this soup but I don't always have it on hand. Rather than buy a specialty ingredient, I just use a dried bay leaf which I always have hanging around.

And, as for cheese, use what you like. Gruyere or Swiss are traditionally used, but since I've thrown tradition out the window, go for whatever melting cheese strikes your fancy. I used Provolone, and in a pinch tested it with a mix of Monterey Jack and Grana Padano. —Jennifer Perillo

What You'll Need
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 large onions, sliced
  • 1 dried bay leaf or a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Salt & freshly ground peper, to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 4 one-inch thick slices of baguette, toasted
  • 4 ounces shredded Provolone, Swiss or any melting cheese of your choosing
  1. Melt butter in a 6-quart stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onions, bay leaf and season with salt and pepper; stir to coat well. Saute until they begin to soften and become golden, about 15 minutes. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, until onions are softened, about 20 more minutes.
  2. Remove and discard bay leaf. Stir, scraping up browned bits at bottom of pot. Raise heat back to medium-high and slowly pour in the water. Add garlic clove, sherry vinegar and molasses. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
  3. Preheat broiler. Evenly ladle soup into 4 oven-safe bowls. Place one slice of toasted baguette on top of each. Evenly sprinkle cheese on top and place on a rimmed baked sheet. Cook under broiler until cheese is golden and bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Valerie Gutchen Arnade
    Valerie Gutchen Arnade
  • dymnyno
  • lastnightsdinner
  • Kelsey Banfield
    Kelsey Banfield
  • drbabs
Jennifer Perillo is the Consulting Food Editor at Working Mother magazine, and a regular a contributor to Relish Magazine and She shares stories about food, family and life at her blog In Jennie's Kitchen and in her debut cookbook, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen (Running Press 2013).

7 Reviews

Rachel February 5, 2016
This is fantastic. Really enjoyed it on a cold, winter night, and it was even more delicious the next day.
Valerie G. November 14, 2015
I'm finding it takes more like an hour to caramelize this amount of onions.
bkmmtl December 8, 2013
I doubled the recipe for the soup, added a cup of red wine and 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar and it was great!
dymnyno January 15, 2010
I am keeping this recipe ( I'll give you credit!)..will be making this puppy soooon!
lastnightsdinner January 11, 2010
a) I totally voted up that gorgeous cheesetastic photo; b) this sounds fabulous - French onion soup is the very first dish I taught myself to make when I was a kid, and your version sounds wonderful
Kelsey B. January 11, 2010
Oooh, this is speaking to me on cold winter nights. Yum. Great photos, too!
drbabs January 11, 2010
Jennifer, this is great. I love French onion soup and considered making it vegetarian, but I couldn't figure out how to get the richness and depth of the beef stock. Molasses! Who knew? And since I use molasses in bran muffins, which i make all the time (I have to post the recipe), I always have it in the house--not just at holiday time.