When I first decided to become a strict vegetarian, French Onion Soup was one of the things I missed the most. Admittedly, one of my favorite parts is the bread and melted cheese on top, but the caramelized onions and rich broth are hard to beat too! A few years ago I discovered some beef-flavored vegetable broth that was vegetarian-friendly and naturally, the first thing I made with it was French Onion Soup. I experimented with several recipes before coming up with this version, which happens to combine wonderful taste with ease of crock pot preparation. The onions slowly cook and caramelize all day and when you get home at night all you have to do is add some liquid and this delicious soup is ready to go. It’s super easy and low maintenance, and it tastes great.
If you’re a vegetarian and are looking for a beef broth alternative, I’ve had good luck with the brand ‘Better than Bouillon’. There are other brands that work great too, and I’ve also heard that mushroom broth will add a similar flavor.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1½ pounds yellow onions
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 8 cups beef broth (low sodium) or vegetarian beef broth alternative
- ½ cup Sherry
- Salt and pepper
- French Bread
- Gruyere or Swiss cheese
- Turn the crock pot on high and add the butter. While the butter melts, thinly slice all the onions and add them to the crock pot along with the sugar. Stir to combine and then cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 8 to 10 hours, until the onions have caramelized.
- Stir the flour in with the onions and let it cook for about 3 minutes. Slowly add the beef broth and sherry then cook on high for about an hour until it's hot. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Toast the bread in a toaster until browned on both sides. If you have oven safe bowls, ladle the soup into the bowl then place a piece of toast on top. Layer a slice of cheese on top of the bread and put in the oven under the broiler setting for a few minutes until the cheese melts. If you don't have oven safe bowls, place the toasted slices of bread on a cookie sheet and put a slice of cheese on top and cook under the broiler until the cheese melts, then put the pieces of toast and melted cheese on top of the soup.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen