For a slight variation on the traditional French onion soup recipe, I’m sharing my vegetarian version, using balsamic vinegar.
My first cookbook has a version of French onion soup using beef broth, and, optionally, wine. In theory you could just swap the beef broth with vegetable broth, but that would leave the soup missing the rich flavor that the beef broth brings to the party.
So I much prefer this version, and I’m not just saying that because I don’t eat much meat. The better reason—I look for any excuse to use my favorite basalmic vinegar is my cooking and recipes.
The soup itself is dairy-free, but I usually add Parmesan or some form of Swiss cheese on top of the soup. You may want to up the ante by adding some toasted bread pieces to the soup as well.
French Onion Soup
I’ll admit that I use water most of the time, but when you have vegetable broth on hand, it’s a great nutritional addition. I recommend a lightly flavored broth so that the soup maintains the flavor of the onions and balsamic vinegar. The balsamic vinegar I use has no added sugar, which is good for sugar-free diets such as SCD.
- 3 large yellow onions (preferably sweet)
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil or ghee
- 2 teaspoons salt (split between step 3 and 4)
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- drizzle of honey (optional)
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) balsamic vinegar
- 6 cups (237 ml) water or vegetable broth
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan or other cheese
- Heat a wide stock pot or dutch oven on low heat.
- Add the oil and onions to the pot, cover, and cook on a low heat for 15 minutes.
- Take the top off the pot. Raise the heat slightly and add 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic, and a drizzle of honey. Cook uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes, occasionally stirring the onions. The onions should be browned but not burnt. Add a drizzle more oil if the onions are sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Add the broth or water, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and balsamic vinegar, and simmer for 15 minutes. Feel free to add a bit more salt if needed.
- Place soup servings in oven-safe soup bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan or Swiss cheese on top.
- Place the soup bowls in an oven under a broiler or at a broil setting for 2 minutes or so, or until the cheese is bubbling.
- Serve hot.
- Store leftover soup in the refrigerator for a few days, or freeze for a few months.