Most French Onion soups use beef broth. I’ve even eaten a few versions with chunks of beef included. This soup utilizes vegetable broth, which is obviously healthier for you as it eliminates the meat fat swimming in the broth. It’s also just as delicious and, I would argue, less guilt on your soul and waistline. This particular recipe comes from “The Complete Encyclopedia of Vegetables and Vegetarian Cooking”but I think every good vegetarian cookbook comes with a vegetarian version of this classic favorite. This recipe is my favorite so far, but I have some others to try too. The original recipe had me using an oven to broil/toast the bread and finished soups, but I had my own plans for this soup. I decided to utilize something my mother taught me that I’ve used on this blog several times before and get a cylinder of crescent rolls, flatten them out and bake the soup in a glass container in the oven till the rolls baked on top. It was an absolutely brilliant move…at least, in my opinion, because I thought it turned out really well. I also used Vidalia onions (a sweet onion) for this rather than a plain old yellow onion like I have before. I honestly thought the sweeter onions made the soup taste so much better. I’ll never use any other kind of onion again. I made this for dinner for Karen, Jim, Cody, Jake and I a few nights ago and there was none left by the end of it. I also made cheesy garlic bread for dipping into the soup because though the crescent roll topping was delicious, french onion soup begs for a lot of crusty dip-worthy stuff. The recipe you see below is part from the cookbook and part mine. I hope you enjoy!
Vegetarian French Onion Soup
4 large onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups vegetable stock
salt and black pepper, to taste
2 ounces cheddar cheese (or more, if you’re a cheese-aholic like us!)
1 cylinder of crescent rolls
1. Peel and quarter the onions and slice or chop them into 1/4-inch pieces.
2. Heat the oil and butter together in a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
3. Fry the onions briskly for a few minutes, stirring constantly.
4. Reduce the heat and cook gently for 45-60 minutes. Be careful not to scorch your onions. Stir frequently as they begin to break down.
5. When the onions are a rich brown, add the stock and a little seasoning.
6. Simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
7. Transfer the soup into a large ovenproof soup bowl (I used a glass one made for the oven).
8. Sprinkle a good amount of cheese on top of the soup.
9. Open the cylinder of crescent rolls. Spread them out and flatten them. Try to make sure they’re all molded together pretty decently so none of them get lost in the soup during baking (crescent rolls often come “pre-cut”).
10. Place the crescent roll dough blanket over the bowl. If it covers the whole bowl, great, if not that’s ok. Let it float on top.
11. Bake according to the directions on the crescent roll container.
12. About 5-7 minutes before the topping is baked, pull the bowl out of the oven and sprinkle with any leftover cheese. Return to the oven and finish baking.
13. Serve IMMEDIATELY. This stuff is at its best when it’s hothothot!