Monday, September 16, 2013

Mofo 2013 - Day 16 - O is for Onions

Oh onions, what a boring world it would be without you. I truly feel sad for people who hate onions. I love them in so many ways. They bring such great flavors to so many dishes.

Onions come in 4 general varieties with many variations of each: yellow, red, white and green. Yellow is by far the most common in the US. Red ones can add beautiful color to many dishes. The white varieties are the ones used most in Mexican cooking. The green varieties, scallions and chives are great sprinkled on top of all sorts of yummies including two of  my favorites: baked taters and nachos.

They are part of the Allum family. The humble onion has been used not only in cooking, but can also be rubbed on the skin as an insect repellent. I'm guessing by the way you will smell, it might end up being a human repellent as well. Studies have indicated that the onion can help prevent certain diseases and illnesses including heart disease and ulcers. If you get stinky onion breath, don't fret. Eat a couple of sprigs of parsley to get you back to kissable.

Onions are super versatile. You can slice them raw and put them on sandwiches and salads. Dice them up for tacos and pizza. Throw them on a skewer with other goodies and grill them. They are great in chutney, soups, stews and relishes. Oh and of course, we can't forget the addicting onion rings.

Before I gave up the beefs, I used to LOVE french onion soup. It is traditionally made with a concentrated beef stock. It is honestly super easy to make a vegan version of the soup itself by subbing a strong veggie stock. Instead of covering the crock with melted cheese like the traditional version, my version makes use of sliced stale baguettes to serve as a raft for the gooey cheese.

Onion Soup (of the French variety) with Cheezy Croutons

Makes 4 servings.

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium onions (I like to use a combo of red and yellow), halved and sliced very thinly
2 cloves garlic minced
1teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled between your fingers
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup red wine
5 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons kitchen bouquet (optional, but highly recommended)
1 1/2 teaspoons vegan Worcestershire sauce

12 slices baguette
olive oil for baking
1/2 cup shredded white vegan cheese (I used Daiya Havarti)

In a heavy bottomed soup pot heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add sliced onions. Saute until onions are golden brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. (This makes the onions beautifully sweet). If pan gets dry, add a touch of water so onions won't stick. Add garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Add thyme, salt, pepper and rosemary. Saute for another minute until fragrant. Deglaze with red wine. Saute until liquid is mostly evaporated. Add vegetable broth, kitchen bouquet and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 20 more minutes. Soup can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.

While soup is simmering, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush both sides of baguettes slices with olive oil. Bake for 7 minutes. Turn and sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon cheese. Return to oven for another 7 minutes or until cheese is melty and bubbly.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with 3 cheezy croutons. Serve immediately.


  1. yes, I love onions too. I also feel very sad for the onion haters out there, they are missing out. French onion soup is never something I had pregan, but since going vegan I've fancied having a go at making it. Yours looks perfect.

  2. I'll admit I used to be a white onion hater, but I've come a long way and now eat caramelized onions straight out of the pan (they're so good!). French onion soup is one of my favorites, especially with a really rich flavourful broth like this one! Man that looks good.