If you want to make your kitchen smell like heaven, try this slightly sinful vegan French onion soup with garlic croutons. Infused with utterly sweet onions and a hint of bourbon, it takes comfort food to the gourmet level. Enjoy on your own or serve as a luscious Valentine's Day side dish for your love. Traditionally, French onion soup is made with beef broth, but the just thought of animal broth can be a turnoff, so I've veganized an FOS recipe from A Life Less Ordinary by Alex Legendre and Zoe Ellison. To give the veggie broth a heartier flavor, I've added a bit of Worchestire sauce (just look for the kind without anchovies). This and the alcohol is completely optional--onions are amazing on their own, no?--but these little additions make this ordinary soup feel like a special occasion. Serve with freshly toasted bread and a crisp green salad. Dim lighting and flickering candles optional.
- 2 large red onion
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter
- generous splash olive oil
- several sprigs fresh thyme leaves (stems discarded)
- pinch unrefined sugar
- 1 tablespoon unrefined all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups high-quality vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 whole wheat baguette (preferably at least a day old)
- 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled
- generous sprinkle mustard powder
- nip of bourbon
- salt to taste
1. In a large pot set on medium heat, warm olive oil and 1 tablespoon of vegan butter. Slice your onions as thinly as possible, and add them to the pot. Toss the onions occasionally, letting them get soft (about 8-10 minutes). 2. When the onions are soft and the sugar, thyme, and flour. Stir continuously for two minutes. 3. Add wine, vegetable broth, and vegan Worcestershire sauce. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and allow the soup to simmer for 30 minutes. 4. While the soup is simmering, prepare the croutons. Slice half of a baguette in half (lengthwise). Toast each half in a toaster over. 5. Once toasted, remove from the toaster oven and rub peeled garlic cloves along the toasted sides. Apply a some pressure. "Seal" your garlic rub with a thin layer of vegan butter. Generously sprinkle with mustard powder. 6. Using a sharp, serrated knife, cut the toasted bread into small squares. Place the croutons on a piece of aluminum foil and broil in the toaster oven until golden and crispy (about 3-4 minutes--watch closely!). Remove and set aside. 7. Fill bowls with soup, top with croutons and fresh thyme for garnish.
Related: Vegan Winter Minestrone Soup
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Photos: Mary Hood Luttrell