The classic French onion soup gets a healthy makeover in this easy vegetarian recipe. Caramelized onions and savory broth make for a cozy, comforting meal.


A Comforting Vegetarian Take on a French Classic

French onion soup is a beloved starter, but traditional recipes call for beef broth. This vegetarian french onion soup recipe offers all the cozy, mellow flavor of the classic soup without the meat.

Onions take center stage here. Slow cooking brings out their natural sweetness for a deep, caramelized taste. Vegetarian broth provides a savory base while wine and herbs offer warmth. Topped with a crusty bread and melted cheese, this meatless onion soup makes a soul-satisfying plant-based meal.

Rich, Sweet Onions Meet Herbs and Wine

At the heart of this vegetarian recipe lie aromatic onions. Half an hour of sautéing over low heat gently coaxes out their inherent sweetness. Sherry and white wine complement the mellow allium flavor. Thyme, parsley and bay leaf round out the taste.

The result is a French onion soup with beautifully caramelized onions hugging a rich wine-kissed broth. It’s veggie comfort food at its best.

How to Make Vegetarian French Onion Soup


  • 3 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 thick slices crusty bread
  • 1 cup grated gruyère or Swiss cheese


  1. In a large pot over medium-low heat, cook the onions in the oil and butter for 30 minutes until very soft and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more.
  2. Increase heat to medium-high and carefully add the sherry and wine. Simmer briskly for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add broth, bay leaves, thyme. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and gently simmer 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat broiler. Place oven-safe bowls on a baking sheet. Ladle soup into bowls and top with the bread and cheese. Broil for 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbling.

Pro Tip: Slice onions evenly for even cooking. Use a serrated knife.

Vegetarian Substitution Ideas

Traditional French onion soup centers around beef broth. But vegetable broth makes a flavorful vegetarian stand-in. For an extra savory twist, try:

  • Mushroom broth – Adds meaty, earthy flavor
  • Walnut broth – Offers richness with a hint of sweetness
  • Soy broth – Provides a strong savory taste

On top of the soup, classic recipes call for croutons topped with Gruyère, a nutty Swiss cheese. But don’t be afraid to experiment:

  • Sourdough bread – Offers a tangy contrast to the sweet onions
  • Cheddar cheese – Brings sharpness to balance the rich broth
  • Vegan cheese – For a completely plant-based take

So whether you stick with the original recipe or put your own spin on the soup, feel free to get creative! The beauty of this vegetarian french onion soup recipe lies in how customizable it is.

Pro Tip: Not a fan of wine or want an alcohol-free soup? Use broth instead for a kid-friendly take.

Serving Suggestions and Variations

This versatile meatless soup works splendidly as a comforting starter, light meal or simple supper. Garnish with fresh herbs or croutons for extra flavor and crunch.

Some tasty ways to serve it:

  • As the starter course of a dinner party menu
  • Alongside a mixed green salad for lunch
  • With crusty bread and a cheese plate
  • Top it with veggie-friendly toppings like sautéed mushrooms

If using smaller oven-safe bowls or ramekins, adjust portions and cooking times accordingly. Individual servings make for great easy entertaining.

For added richness:

  • Stir in a cupful of cream or coconut cream
  • Mix in nutmeg, paprika or cayenne pepper
  • Swirl in pesto before serving

To up the veggie quotient:

  • Add soft carrots and celery chunks
  • Mix in sautéed greens like kale or spinach
  • Feature it as the centerpiece of a vegan cheese board

However you choose to prepare it, this cozy vegetarian alternative to classic French onion soup makes for a deeply flavorful, crowd-pleasing recipe suitable for multiple occasions. Bon appétit!

Vegetarian French Onion Soup: FAQ

Still have some questions about making meatless French onion soup at home? Here are answers to some frequently asked recipe questions.

Is French onion soup usually vegetarian?

Most traditional recipes call for beef or chicken broth, making them not vegetarian-friendly. But vegetable broth makes a flavorful substitution.

How do you make vegetarian French onion soup?

Sauté onions in oil and butter until caramelized, then simmer in a mix of vegetarian broth, white wine and herbs for a flavorful meatless take. Top with bread and melted cheese.

What kind of bread do you use for French onion soup?

A crusty artisan bread or sourdough works best. The bread cubes soak up the rich broth while providing texture contrast to the tender onions.

What type of cheese goes on top?

Gruyère is the classic choice, but other melty cheeses like cheddar, Swiss or gouda also taste delicious. Sprinkle shredded vegan cheese for plant-based diets.

Should onions be caramelized first?

Yes, low and slow sautéing sweetens the onions, developing flavor through gradual browning. Thirty minutes stovetop is ideal for rich depth.

Is French onion soup time consuming to make?

With hands-off cooking time, caramelizing onions takes about 30 minutes followed by 15-20 minutes simmering the soup itself for a total under an hour.

What wine tastes best in the broth?

Dry white wine varietals like Chardonnay, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc balance nicely with the browned onions. Avoid oaky wines which overpower the soup’s delicate flavor.


With its comforting layers of tender onions, savory broth and melted cheese topping, vegetarian French onion soup makes for a cozy plant-based meal. Slower stovetop cooking teases out the onions’ sweetness while wine and herbs provide depth of flavor. Creative toppings plus small individual portions make this versatile meatless soup perfect for both everyday dining and special get-togethers.

Myra Henry created the Keto Taco Salad blog to share my favorite delicious low-carb recipes without sacrificing flavor. when i started the keto diet 2 years ago, I discovered a love for making healthy Mexican dishes like keto taco salads. My blog features easy keto taco salad recipes and tips for keto success.

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