This filling and comforting vegan french onion soup has all the classic flavors of a deep, rich umami and wine broth with layers of caramelized onions. Absolutely delicious.
Being quite honest, I can’t believe we waited so long to even attempt this recipe. It was a favorite before going vegan and I welp, it’s finally here. Our vegan french onion soup recipe.
Now, for those of you who may not know, french onion soup is made of a ton of caramelized onions and then other ingredients, the main ones being broth and wine are added.
It has a deep umami flavor and is is then layered between croutons, and loaded with cheese before being broiled to perfection.
The cheese and the fact that the broth is usually beef broth make the original recipe not vegan. However, we love the substitutions that we will sharing with you in this post on how to make the absolute best vegan french onion soup recipe.
P.S. I know we will be asked. The pots inside the photos are Hearth and Hand 0.5qt dutch ovens. Any 16-18oz oven safe dishes will do though.
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VEGAN FRENCH ONION SOUP INGREDIENTS:
Below are notes about the ingredients before we get into the full recipe located lower in this post on how to make the best vegan french onion soup:
- Onions – we choose to do a variety of onions. We think that the slightly flavor differences in each gives a much better overall flavor of the dish. We went with 1 red onion and 2 each yellow, white, and sweet.
- Vegan Butter – this provides the oil that we need for the oil in order to correctly caramelize the onions, but also provide some richness to the dish
- Salt – adding salt a little after the onions have been cooking, not only helps with flavor, but it pulls the water out. This leads to a slowly cooking process; however, you will get a much more even caramelization across the onions.
- Flour – This is just a little bit of thickener added to make the best soup
- Not Beef Bouillon Cubes – French onion soup is traditionally made with beef broth so we wanted to go with an as close taste as we could. We used Edward & Sons Not Beef Bouillon Cubes for this recipe and mixed with water to give us our broth.
- Vegan White Wine – We personally used Chardonnay. Dry, white wine is traditionally used in french onion soup, however, you will find many variations from sweet wine to red wine to something in between. An important thing to note is not all wine is vegan. Double check your favorite brands at Barinvore.com
- Thyme – we prefer fresh thyme, but this is an optional ingredient
- French Bread – it’s not french onion soup without the perfect bread layered in the dish. We used a french loaf and cut it into thick slices
- Vegan Parmesan – this is a questionable ingredient as some say french onion soup should always have parmesan and others say no way. We ultimately decided yes to more (vegan) cheese and went with it
- Vegan Mozzarella – Gruyere is the classic choice and Swiss is a good substitute for that; however, it’s near impossible to find vegan versions of those, so we went with mozzarella for it’s ease of finding
SUBSTITUTIONS AND VARIATIONS:
- Onions – if you can only pick one, go with just yellow onions for the entire dish
- Vegan Butter – substitute with oil
- Salt – do not omit this if you want to properly caramelize the onions
- Flour – can swap with gluten free 1:1 flour, chickpea flour, or another similar flour (do not use coconut flour)
- Not Beef Bouillon Cubes – 3 cubes get mixed with 6 cups of water for our recipe. Instead substitute with mushroom broth for the next closest flavor to the traditional recipe. If you have to, you can use vegetable stock, but we would recommend adding some umami flavoring in like vegan worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, mushroom seasoning, etc. (we do not have amounts here)
- Vegan White Wine – if alcohol free, use more stock here – vegetable stock would be fine for this
- Thyme – use dried herbs or omit
- French Bread – Italian loaves or baguettes would also work
- Vegan Parmesan – can omit
- Vegan Mozzarella – try another cheese like vegan provolone
Frequently Asked Questions:
We have found that a variety of onions gives a superior taste, especially for those who notice subtle difference. For that reason, we used yellow, white, sweet and red onions for this dish. Typically red onions aren’t used to caramelize because they turn grayish in color, but since all the onions are going into a broth, it’s okay in this case.
You can find safe for you vegan cheese, soy free butter and even swap the flour for a gluten free variation. The tricky part will come in when we are needed to add the bread. We have not tried making this with vegan gluten free bread, but you could give it a go if that’s what you need.
People know that wine is made from grapes, so why wouldn’t it be vegan. Unfortunately, in the finishing process, many wine makers, use products called isinglass which is derived from fish. Others use honey. Because of this, some wines aren’t considered vegan friendly.
Yes! Just replace the wine with vegetable stock.
Our first recommendation, would be to use mushroom broth. Yes, even if you don’t like mushrooms, this is what we would recommend because of the flavor profile similarities. If you still can’t find that, try to flavor some vegetable stock with a more umami flavor like mushroom seasoning, soy sauce, vegan worcestershire, etc.
We hacked the photos a little to be honest. We first melted 2oz of mozzarella in a microwave safe small bowl for a few seconds until melted. Then waited for it to cool and stretched it across the oven safe dishes that held our soup. We proceeded with the recipe steps are written otherwise. You can still get a nice melt with the time in the oven and broil; however, in order to have the best looking photos, this is the trick that we used.
What other vegan soup ideas could I make?
Soups are perfect warming, comfort foods. Warmth and filling meals is what we crave when it’s colder outside.
Naturally, we want more of those delicious recipes at out fingertips and we are happy to oblige those needs.
If you are looking for more vegan soup recipes you should try our:
- Vegan Apple Chili
- Vegan Butternut Squash Soup
- Vegan Lentil Soup
- Vegan Tomato Soup
- Vegan Lasagna Soup (pictured above)
- Vegan Broccoli and Cheese Soup
- Slow Cook Vegan “Chicken” Tortilla Soup
See all of our easy vegan soups!
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Vegan French Onion Soup
- 7 medium onions, thinly sliced (we did a variety, 2 yellow, white, sweet and 1 red)
- 1/4 cup vegan butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour (use gluten free if needed)
- 3 not beef bouillon cubes (sub with 6 cups mushroom stock)
- 6 cups hot water (omit if using stock)
- 1/2 cup vegan white wine (we use Chardonnay)
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 loaf french bread, cut into 8 1" thick slices
- 8 tbsp olive oil, or more vegan butter, melted
- 1/2 cup vegan parmesan, shredded, divided
- 8 oz vegan mozzarella
- In a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, melt vegan butter over medium heat.
- Add in all the sliced onions, and stir very well until they are all coated with the vegan butter.
- Turn heat to medium low and let cook for 5 minutes. Stir again and cook for another 5 minutes. Then, sprinkle the salt across the onions and stir again.
- Let the onions cook for another 30-60 minutes, stirring about every 4-5 minutes, careful to not burn the onions. You want them to brown and become sticky, but not burn. *If you notice they seem like they are burning, turn your heat lower and add more vegan butter or a splash of vegetable stock if needed.
- While this is cooking, in another pot or large bowl, combine the not beef bouillon cubes and hot water together according to package. *Skip this step if just using pre-made stock.
- Once your onions have caramelized, add the flour and stir to coat. Let cook for another 2 minutes.
- Pour in 1/2 cup of the stock and scrap up any bits that are sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Add in the remaining stock, wine, and thyme sprigs. Stir together again. Let simmer for 30 minutes.
- While simmering, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Add bread slices to a baking sheet and brush both sides with oil. Bake for 10-15 on each side or until golden brown.
- Turn oven temperature up to 350 degrees F. Add salt and pepper to soup if desired.
- Into oven safe bowls, add one slice of bread and sprinkle 2 tbsp vegan parmesan over bread. Then ladle 2 cups of soup into the bowl. Add another slice of bread and 1/4 of the cheese.
- Place soup dishes into the oven for about 30 minutes. After, if desired, carefully place until a broiler to brown the cheese. *Make sure to watch so it doesn't burn!