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French Onion Soup (Vegetarian)

French Onion Soup (Vegetarian)

Adam Alguire, chef at Cafe CanCan, shared this savoury recipe of iron-boosted vegetarian French onion soup. Perfect for a winter warmup!

  • 2 min read



Photo credits @Nikkileighmckean

Prep Time: 30min.     Total Time: 1hr.      Servings: 9 servings, 1-3/4 cups (425 mL) each.


  • Cut all the vegetables into 1 inch cubes, toss with vegetable oil and roast at 450f until the edges start turning black.
  • Put all the vegetables with the herbs into a large pot and cover with 2 L of ice cold water or even just use ice. The colder the water, the better extraction of flavour.
  • Cook this at a gentle simmer until the liquid reduces by half. About 2 hours. During this time, drop your Lucky Iron Fish into the pot while simmering for 10 minutes.
  • Strain the remaining liquid and reserve for the soup. You can use all the cooked vegetables for a puree or baby food, just add a touch of honey to sweeten the burnt vegetables and maybe a little vinegar if you like.
  • Julienne the onion, taking care that they are very uniform in thickness, otherwise you will not be able to get the proper caramelization as the thinner pieces will be finished while the thicker ones have yet to reach their potential.
  • Melt the butter (you can use oil, but you wont get the same result as butter can caramelize as well but oil does not), add the onions and a good 3 finger punch of salt.
  • On a medium high heat and with a wooden spoon, cook the onions until they are a deep brown. Basically keep cooking until you can no longer keep up with scraping the bottom of the pot as there are too many sugars sticking to it. When you get to this point, turn off the heat and let the moisture of the onions soften the sugars and then you will be able to easily remove them.
  • Put it back on the heat again until the sugars build up and continue the above process over and over. This step usually takes between 1 to 2 hours depending on how ambitious you are feeling.
  • When you are finished cooking the onions, add the flour and cook over low heat stirring constantly so the flour doesn't catch on the bottom. The flour can be omitted if you prefer a thinner soup or have allergies. Then add the sherry.
  • Cook and stir for a couple minutes as it incorporates into the flour. Then slowly add your stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring between additions to ensure a smooth incorporation into the flour. 
  • When all the stock is in, ensure nothing is sticking to the bottom by feeling with your trusty wooden spoon (that has now probably covered your hands in blisters) and bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. 
  • Adjust the seasoning with salt and some pepper and add a touch of sherry vinegar just before serving to brighten the flavours of the long cooked soup.
  • Top with cheese (like Gruyere) and croutons.
  • For best results, leave the soup overnight in the fridge and serve the next day.
If you are short on time, you can also visit Cafe CanCan and get it right away, with pulled brisket and chicken stock. Yum!