Vegan French Onion Soup

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French onion soup is a classic and gets its flavor from deeply caramelized onions. This Vegan French Onion Soup recipe has every bit of the flavor, with only a fraction of the fat.

close up of vegan french onion soup in white crock bowl

I absolutely love soup, and this is one that is at the top of my favorites list. Topped with sourdough bread and homemade vegan mozzarella, I think you are going to be amazed by this healthy French onion soup recipe’s incredibly warm texture and taste.

This recipe is so good, that it was even published on the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies website.

french onion soup in brown crock bowl and white bowl

You’ll love this soup because it’s…

  • Amazingly flavorful
  • Deeply caramelized
  • Fresh
  • Full of phytonutrients and antioxidants
  • Completely satisfying
  • Warm
  • Comforting

Back in 2016, Dr. Colin Campbell’s family (author of The China Study) messaged me to say how much they liked this soup and asked permission to share it in their PlantPure Nation newsletter. How awesome is that?!

overhead shot of french onion soup in 2 soup crock bowls

How to make vegan French onion soup

The recipe card at the bottom of the page has the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions.

Begin by slicing the onions into thin crescents. The thickness really depends on personal preference.

onions being diced on cutting board

I am often asked which knives I use personally, and I have to say that it is Victorinox. They are the same company that makes Swiss Army Knives and the quality is excellent.

In a large pot, saute onions in 1/2 cup of veggie broth or water until they begin to heavily brown.

onions sauteeing in stockpot

Add half of the red wine (1/4 cup) and minced garlic. Continue to brown the onions for about 3-5 minutes on low heat. Add a little more water if needed. Scrape down the bottom of the pan to release all of the flavors of caramelizing onions. The alcohol cooks out of this.

Next, add the other half of the red wine and continue cooking for approximately 3-5 minutes. Onions should be thickly browning, but not sticking to the bottom.

french onion soup cooking in large stockpot

Add remaining ingredients to pot–4 cups water, soy sauce, balsamic, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on low for approximately 15-20 minutes. While this is cooking, begin making Vegan Mozzarella Cashew Cheese Topping.

Making vegan mozzarella

The mozzarella cheese is the most amazing part of this recipe, in my opinion. It tastes heavenly and even has a little bit of stretch to it like regular dairy mozzarella.

vegan cashew cheese stretching on fork with pot in background

White beans can be substituted for cashews in this recipe to make it nut-free.

Personally, I love the cashew version because the flavor is out of this world. However, I understand completely that some folks have nut allergies or heart disease and are staying away from nuts.

cashews soaking in water and bowl of beans with labels

Thankfully, white beans do a good job of substituting in this cashew cheese recipe. Just keep in mind that the outcome will taste a bit different.

I don’t soak my cashews for this recipe because I have a Vitamix blender that does a great job of getting them nice and creamy. However, if your blender is less powerful, you’ll likely need to soak the cashews in hot water for at least 30 minutes.

cashew cheese ingredients in vitamix blender on white background

Place all of the mozzarella cheese ingredients in a blender or food processor and process on high until nice and smooth.

Pour the blended cheese into a saucepan and begin heating slowly and whisking together as it warms. This will happen pretty quickly, so do not leave it unattended. Stir it nearly constantly until it reaches the desired thickness and stretchiness.

Assembling the vegan French onion soup

After making the soup, pour it into oven-safe bowls. Top with pieces of sourdough bread. Then finish off with a large dollop of the mozzarella topping.

Place the soup crocks on a baking sheet and broil in the oven for approximately 3 minutes, or until the tops are brown and bubbly. The finished product is incredible!

brown bowl with french onion soup and spoon

*Originally published April 01, 2016.

Your Questions Answered:

  • Q: What is the difference between onion soup and French onion soup? At my house, onion soup is simply caramelized onions with an added assortment of veggies and seasonings. But, French onion soup will always be a base of onions with delicious toppings of sourdough bread and dairy-free mozzarella cheese.
  • Q: What can I use instead of red wine or sherry? If you don’t have red wine on hand, you could sub out red wine vinegar or even rice vinegar. Even apple cider vinegar will work in a pinch.
  • Q: Do I have to make the mozzarella cheese to go with this? Nope, the mozzarella can be left out. However, I think it’s a very important part and so highly recommend it.

Other great soup recipes

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This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

If you try this recipe, please let us know how you like it by rating it and leaving a comment. We love to hear from you!

close up of vegan french onion soup in white crock bowl
4.66 from 20 votes

Vegan French Onion Soup

French onion soup is a classic and gets its flavor from deeply caramelized onions. This vegan version has every bit of the flavor, with only a fraction of the fat. Topped with sourdough bread and vegan mozzarella, I think you are going to be amazed by its incredibly warm texture and taste.
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 5 servings

Ingredients 

French Onion Soup

  • 3 large yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup veggie broth or water
  • 3 cloves garlic diced
  • 1/2 cup red wine alcohol cooks out
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons ground or fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • sourdough bread
  • Vegan Mozzarella

Vegan Mozzarella Topping (optional)

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews or white beans
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch or tapioca flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

French Onion Soup

  • Begin by slicing the onions into thin crescents. The thickness really depends on personal preference.
  • In a large pot, saute onions in 1/2 cup of veggie broth or water until they begin to heavily brown.
  • Add half of the red wine (1/4 cup) and minced garlic. Continue to brown the onions for about 3-5 minutes on low heat. Add a little more water if needed. Scrape down the bottom of the pan to release all of the flavors of caramelizing onions. The alcohol cooks out of this.
  • Next, add the other half of the red wine and continue cooking for approximately 3-5 minutes. Onions should be thickly browning, but not sticking to the bottom.
  • Add remaining ingredients to pot–4 cups water, soy sauce, balsamic, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on low for approximately 15-20 minutes. While this is cooking, begin making Vegan Mozzarella Cashew Cheese Topping.
  • Pour the soup into oven-safe bowls. Top with pieces of sourdough bread. Then finish off with a large dollop of the mozzarella topping. Place the soup crocks on a baking sheet and broil in oven for approximately 3 minutes, or until tops are brown and bubbly.

Vegan Mozzarella Topping

  • White beans can be substituted for cashews in this recipe to make it nut-free. Personally, I love the cashew version because the flavor is out of this world. However, I understand completely that some folks have nut allergies or heart disease and are staying away from nuts. Thankfully, white beans do a good job of substituting in this cashew cheese recipe. Just keep in mind that the outcome will taste a bit different.
  • I don’t soak my cashews for this recipe because I have a Vitamix blender that does a great job of getting them nice and creamy. However, if your blender is less powerful, you’ll likely need to soak the cashews in hot water for at least 30 minutes.
  • Place all of the mozzarella cheese ingredients in a blender or food processor and process on high until nice and smooth.
  • Pour the blended cheese into a saucepan and begin heating slowly and whisking together as it warms. This will happen pretty quickly, so do not leave it unattended. Stir it nearly constantly until it reaches the desired thickness and stretchiness.

Video

Notes

Your Questions Answered:
  • Q: What is the difference between onion soup and French onion soup? At my house, onion soup is simply caramelized onions with an added assortment of veggies and seasonings. But, French onion soup will always be a base of onions with delicious toppings of sourdough bread and dairy-free mozzarella cheese.
  • Q: What can I use instead of red wine or sherry? If you don’t have red wine on hand, you could sub out red wine vinegar or even rice vinegar. Even apple cider vinegar will work in a pinch.
  • Q: Do I have to make the mozzarella cheese to go with this? Nope, the mozzarella can be left out. However, I think it’s a very important part and so highly recommend it.

Nutrition

Calories: 117kcal | Carbohydrates: 15.2g | Protein: 3.5g | Fat: 3.4g | Fiber: 2.9g | Sugar: 5.4g

Disclaimer

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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About Terri Edwards

Hi guys! I am the content creator behind EatPlant-Based and a licensed Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. I am passionate about sharing healthy recipes and tips to empower others to get healthy.  I’m so glad you’re here! Read More…

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23 Comments

  1. Tried this tonight……it was sooooooo peppery, I was the only one who could eat it. I would cut the pepper by at least half, if not more. It was disappointing since it tool awhile to make and I was really looking forward to it. 🙁

      1. I don’t add much pepper, but that is definitely subject to tastes. Add as much or as little as preferred.

  2. Thank you so much for this. My husband loves French onion soup and he has missed it since we went plant based. I can’t wait to surprise him with this!!

  3. I made this for dinner tonight and wow, it was amazing. Exactly what I have been needing. I quadrupled the batch so we could have left overs and freeze portions, I am so glad I did as I will be enjoying this for lunch tomorrow too. Thank you for the great recipe.

    1. Wonderful! I am so glad that you enjoyed it. Smart move on quadrupling the recipe and freezing some for later. Thanks so much for your comment!

  4. I’m going to make this this week, it looks so good! Can I leave out the bay leaf and replace the balsamic vinegar with red wine/ white wine vinegar? I don’t have any balsamic vinegar at home.

  5. I was planning on making this tonight but I just realized I don’t have any red wine. Want substitution ideas? Thanks!

  6. Very delicious! I used mirin in place of red wine. I also used sprouted grain bread (ezekial) one night and I experimented with replacing the sourdough with millet as well. It was delicious every way!

  7. Question re: using beans instead of cashews for “cheese” topping … just want to confirm this is cooked or canned beans, not raw beans and soaked liked the cashews? Plan to make the recipe soon, thanks for sharing.

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