French Onion Soup

This version of French onion soup is made without butter, flour, sugar, or beef stock. All of the most popular recipes for this soup have one if not all of these unhealthy ingredients! When you make my version you'll see how unnecessary they are. I even found one recipe about the same size that used an entire stick of butter!! Now think about the number of calories in 1/2 cup of butter... Contrary to popular opinion, the trick to making really good French onion soup is the wine that you cook into it (not the amount of butter and sugar). The soup will take on a lot of flavor from the wine so make sure to use a wine that you like to drink. You can use white or red, dry wines tend to work better. I really like oaky Chardonnays like Grgich Hills Napa Vally Chardonnay from 2008. Notes: Vegan: If making this vegan, make sure to use vegan cheese and vegan bread. Vegetarian: If you are a strict vegetarian, make sure to buy vegetarian cheese that does not contain animal rennet. You want to find cheese that is made without rennet or with vegetable rennet. Gluten-Free: Make sure to buy gluten free bread like Ezekials or Rudis; often found in the frozen section.

Makes: 3 cups

Preparation time: 20m
Cooking time: 20m
Total time: 1h30m


  • 6 cups sliced onions (about 4 large onions)
  • 2 cups red or white wine (use a wine you like to drink)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or dried oregano or savory)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 2-4 slices whole grain bread (vegan or gluten-free: see note above)
  • 2-4 slices white cheese (Muenster, Swiss, Gruyere, Provolone or vegan cheese)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced or pressed)

Equipment: 10” or 12” heavy-bottomed skillet or cast iron pan with lid (I actually use my cast iron tagine for this), toaster oven or oven


  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet or cast iron pan over medium.
  2. INLINE-LINK-START href="" target="_blank">Caramelize the onions INLINE-LINK-END by cooking them covered for 20 minutes, then turn the heat up to medium-high and uncover for 20 minutes more. Once uncovered, the onions need to be stirred every 3-5 minutes to keep from burning. They are done when they are dark brown. If your onions haven't started to darken yet, make sure you turned up the heat and cook a little while longer. They'll start to stick to the bottom of the pan. That's ok, just scrape this up and continue to stir ever 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the wine to the onions and cook for about 5 minutes at medium high.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and add the vegetable stock, garlic, bay leaf, sage and thyme to the onions. Simmer for 30 minutes. If you want the soup to thicken up leave the lid off, otherwise cover it as soon as it reaches the thickeness you like.
  5. While the soup is cooking you can toast the bread into croutons. Preheat your toaster oven or oven to 400ºF and cook for 5-10 minutes until crunchy.
  6. When the soup is finished cooking, taste it and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaf and spoon the soup into individual ramekins.
  7. Top with croutons, then a thin layer of cheese and put under the broiler for 2 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. Take it out of the oven and enjoy it with a nice glass of that wine you used in it!