This vegan french onion soup with homemade mozzarella is everything french onion soup should be: packed with caramelized onions, salty, savory, and topped with a thick crouton and generous mound of melted cheese. This recipe was originally published on December 10, 2014. The post has since been updated with new photos. The recipe remains the same!
The below story is one I shared when I originally wrote this post in December 2014. Take a trip down memory lane with me or jump straight to the recipe if you prefer. Happy soup making and happy holidays!
The holidays veil my thoughts with a reminiscent spirit. I find myself passing the drive to and from work thinking about the past. Sometimes my thoughts float all the way back to my early childhood and settle into memories that have faded with time.
While Dan and I were home for Thanksgiving, we made a point to drive by the house I lived in until I was seven. It was the house my mom grew up in, and my parents purchased it from my grandparents shortly after I was born. The family that bought the house from my parents still lives in it to this very day, and they've maintained the same landscaping, colors, and overall appearance my parents had so many years ago.
After we drove past the house—figuratively traversing memory lane—and crossed back onto the highway, we passed the spot where our old favorite restaurant, Derby Street, used to reside. Within an instant, my mind flooded with memories.
My mom's love for rice pudding.
The way my little brother Brad and I used to exit the restaurants' booths by way of crawling underneath the table.
And French onion soup.
The above flurry of memories led me to later recreate a vegan variation of Derby Street's French onion soup.
When I share my plans to make a vegan version of French Onion Soup (let's shorten that to FOS) with my mom, she was encouragingly skeptical.
That sounds so good, but how are you going to do it without beef broth?
My mom had every right to ask this question because she's known for making an epic FOS. So, point well received and challenge accepted.
After some tinkering with seasonings, this vegan version of FOS came to be, and let me tell you: it's damn delicious. I hardly ever swear on here, so you best believe this is the good stuff. Bring your worries, cares, and doubts to the dinner table, because this soup will allay them all.
Dan took one bite, let out a tricky-to-interpret groan, and boldly declared this was the best French Onion Soup he'd ever tasted.
To make this soup, you'll start by melting down a large dab of coconut oil in a dutch oven or oven-safe pot. You'll then add in a mountain of sliced onions, cover the pot, and let them sweat for 30-ish minutes.
Once the onions have softened and mellowed, you'll pop the entire pot into the oven (hence the need for one that's oven-safe) and continue to cook and caramelize the onions for 45 minutes or so.
Once the onions have reduced to about ¼ of their original volume, you'll return the pot to the stove, add a generous splash of dry white wine, and simmer off the alcohol for a few minutes.
Then, stir in filtered water, low-sodium soy sauce or tamari, balsamic vinegar, garlic, thyme sprigs, and sea salt. The combination of white wine, tamari, and balsamic creates layers upon layers of flavor.
While the soup simmers, you'll make a batch of this vegan mozzarella cheese.
Once the soup is ready, ladle it into small crocks, top with toasted baguette slices, generously dollop on homemade vegan mozzarella, and broil until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
I hope you love this vegan French onion soup with cashew mozzarella as much as our family does.
On that note, let's slice some onions and shed tears of happiness!
Vegan French Onion Soup
For the Soup
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 4 large yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- 4 cups water
- ½ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari or to taste*
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 small bundle fresh thyme springs bound by kitchen twine
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- 1 recipe Vegan Cashew Mozzarella
- Thick slices of regular, multigrain, or gluten-free baguette, toasted
For the French Onion Soup
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Melt the coconut oil in a dutch oven or large oven-safe pot over medium heat. Add the sliced onions to the pot, cover, and cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer the pot to the oven and keep the lid slightly ajar. Bake the onions for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and burning.
- Carefully remove the pot from the oven and return it to the stove.
- Before turning on the heat, add in the white wine to deglaze the pan. Scrape at the bottom and sides of the pan to release all of the flavorful onion bits (that's the good stuff).
- Turn the heat on medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes to cook off the alcohol.
- Add the water, soy or tamari, balsamic vinegar, thyme bundle, garlic, and sea salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer (partially covered) for 40-45 minutes..
- When the soup has nearly finished simmering, make the cashew mozzarella.
To Top + Finish Soup
- Heat broiler to high.
- Once the soup has finished simmering, turn off heat, and carefully remove the thyme stems.
- Ladle the soup into small, oven-safe crocks, top with 1-2 pieces of toasted baguette, place a large dollop of vegan mozzarella on top (reheat the cheese, whisking in a small splash of water, if it has become too thick to easily dollop on top). Transfer the crocks to a rimmed baking sheet.
- Broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly, making sure to watch carefully to avoid burning.
- Remove from oven, carefully transfer hot crocks to individual plates, garnish with a thyme sprig, and serve immediately.
**If you don't have a high-powered blender, be sure to soak the cashews in hot water for 30-45 minutes before blending.