Food with Friends: Vegetarian French Onion Soup

Lital is BACK! I’ve challenged her to make me her best French onion soup, then we swap spots and I make her mine.

Lital is BACK! I’ve challenged her to make me her best French onion soup, then we swap spots and I make her mine. My version includes a rich, umami laden vegetable stock, deeply caramelized onions, and cheesy slices of baguette!

Vegetarian French Onion Soup

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 6 hours
Servings 8 people
Calories 494.77 kcal


For the Vegetable Stock

  • 3 large carrots cut into thirds
  • 3 large onions quartered
  • 6 stalks celery cut into thirds
  • 1 8 ounce container button mushrooms
  • 1 bell pepper cut into sixths
  • 1 small head garlic halved
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 Parmesan rind
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 bunch parsley stems
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 dashes Worcestershire sauce

For the Soup

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 large onions thinly sliced into half moons (about 15 cups)
  • 2 large shallots thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 6 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

For the Croutons

  • 8 ¼ inch thick slices French bread, toasted
  • 8 ounces Gruyère cheese grated
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Freshly chopped parsley for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Spread carrots, onions, celery, mushrooms, and garlic out onto 2 sheet pans. Drizzle olive oil evenly over vegetables, season with salt and pepper, then toss to ensure vegetables are evenly coated.
  • Place in oven and roast until vegetables are deeply golden brown and caramelized, 45-60 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and add all vegetables, except for garlic, to a large Dutch oven or stock pot, being sure to scrape in pan juices and fond from the roasting process. Squeeze roasted garlic into pot and discard skins. Add dried mushrooms, peppercorns, rind, bay leaves, parsley stems, Worcestershire and 10 cups of water, and place over high heat until boiling.
  • Once water is boiling, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 1-1 ½ hours, or until stock has reduced to about 8 cups.
  • Strain stock and discard vegetables. Taste and adjust salt and pepper accordingly. Cool and store stock in airtight containers until ready to use.
  • To make the soup, heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium low heat. Add butter, and once melted, add onions, shallots, garlic, Dijon, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, dark brown and caramelized, about 40-50 minutes. Deglaze pan with a splash of water throughout the process if onions begin to stick and burn. Sprinkle flour over onions and stir until vegetables are coated and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure nothing burns. Next, increase heat to medium, add white wine and vinegar, and scrape up any brown bits that have formed on the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
  • Add vegetable stock to pot, stir well, then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until soup has thickened, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside while you prepare the croutons.
  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Place 8 ovenproof bowls on a large rimmed baking sheet. Divide soup among bowls and top each with two toasts (cut to fit if necessary) and cheese. Bake until cheese is bubbling and golden brown, about 6–8 minutes. Carefully remove from oven and top with fresh thyme leaves.
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