French Onion Soup is a treat, for when you are at a restaurant, right? It doesn’t have to be! With this quick, healthy, and delicious version, it will become one of your go-to meals.
Roasting these onions in the oven gives them great depth of flavor and makes this recipe super simple – no standing by the stove, babysitting them! Nothing gets missed in the flavor, though. To save time, purchase the sliced onions from your local market’s salad bar or produce section.
Now let’s talk about something that’s really important, here. In some dishes, I would tell you it’s okay to go ahead and skip the wine. Broth could be used as a replacement. This is not one of those situations! Even if don’t usually like red wine or don’t really like wine at all, PLEASE don’t skip it in this recipe, unless you have a really good reason to! The wine really adds a special flavor to this soup. The alcohol will burn off, leaving just the rich flavor of the wine. And don’t buy the cheap $3 bottle at the store. I am not saying you have to raid the cellar for the 12-year-old, $60 bottle of Cabernet, but use something that you would not mind drinking by itself. (In fact, you can polish off the rest of the bottle with dinner, if you are so inclined.) It really will make a difference in the flavor of the soup.
This recipe can be made low-to-no-carb and gluten-free by leaving off the crostinis and melting the cheese directly over the soup. To do this, you will want to use slices of cheese, which overlap the rims of the bowl. If you are trying to save on calories, go easy on the cheese. If you are going the Paleo diet route, skip the cheese all together – this soup is delectable, even without it!
Note: The prep times listed on this recipe assume that the onions are bought sliced and ready to go from the store (from the produce section or salad bar). If slicing these on your own, add 10-15 minutes to the prep time.
- 4 large onions, sliced (2 ½ pounds)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Olive oil
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 2 c (½ bottle) good red wine
- Thyme bundle
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 4 c chicken broth
- 4 c beef broth
- Store-bought crostinis or bagel chips
- 7-8 oz Gruyere cheese, grated, or cut into slices, to top soup bowls (Can use provolone slices instead)
- 2 green onions, cut on the diagonal (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425°. Spread onions out between 2 aluminum foil-covered baking sheets with rims. (The aluminum foil makes clean up faster.) Toss onions with olive oil and salt, right on the baking sheets (about 2 TBSP olive oil + 1 tsp salt per baking sheet). Let them roast for about 25-30 minutes, until soft, with the edges becoming browned, but not burned.
- Melt butter in a skillet over Medium heat. Add one clove minced garlic. Add the onions. Toss the onions, butter, and garlic. Add a pinch of salt (about ½ tsp). Cook 3-4 minutes. Add about half of a bottle of good red wine, thyme bundle, and bay leaves. Let the wine cook down until it is fully reduced, where the onions are still moist, but are not swimming in the wine, about 10-15 minutes. Add broths and Worcestershire sauce.
- Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes. Taste the soup! Add salt, as needed. (I ended up adding about ¾ tsp, but this will vary, depending on how much salt is in your broths.)
- Remove thyme bundle and bay leaves. Ladle soup into individual oven safe bowls. Top with a few store-bought crostinis (or bagel chips). Place cheese on top. Broil for 4-5 minutes, on upper ⅓ rack, until cheese is brown and bubbly.
- Optional: Garnish with green onions
Spread out 4 large, sliced onions between 2 rimmed, aluminum foil-lined cookie sheets. You can totally purchase these already sliced from your market, either from the produce section or the salad bar. The type of onion doesn’t matter. You should have about 2-1/2 pounds.
Toss with olive oil and salt (about 2Tbsp oil and 1 tsp salt for each cookies sheet). Place in a 425-degree pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes, until onions are soft and beginning to turn brown.
They should like this when they come out of the oven.
Melt 3 Tbsp butter in a large pot (Dutch oven size). Add 1 minced garlic clove, onions, 1/2 tsp salt, and toss. Cook 3-4 minutes.
Add 2c (about 1/2 bottle) good red wine and the thyme bundle, tied together with the 2 bay leaves.
This is how the thyme bundle looks. I just tied all of the woodsy stems and 2 bay leaves together with butcher’s twine to make fishing them out of the pot (later) easier. If you don’t have butcher’s twine, throw 3-4 thyme sprigs and 2 bay leaves into the pot.
Let the red wine fully reduce, to a point where most of the liquid has evaporated, there are no puddles, but the onions are still moist, about 10-15 minutes
Add 1 container low-sodium chicken broth (4 cups), 1 container beef broth (4 cups), and 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce.
Bring to boil, reduce to simmer (reduce heat to Med/Low). Cover. Simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes. Remove thyme and bay leaves. Taste! The soup may need salt. Mine did. I ended up adding about 1/2 tsp at first, tasted again, added about 1/4 tsp, tasted again. Then I was good. Each brand of broth will have different salt content. You really need to taste the soup to see if it needs more. Oh, and by the way, please use a different spoon each time you taste (no double dipping!). I often end up with 8-10 spoons in my dishwasher by the time I am done making dinner!
Ladle soup into 4-6 oven-proof soup bowls. Place on an aluminum foil-lined, rimmed cookie sheet (in case of spillage).
I couldn’t find crostinis at my market the other day – they were out. So I tried bagel chips. I gotta tell you – LOVED them! They did the job of helping the cheese stay afloat, stayed crisper, and tasted lighter. I think I will be using these from now on!
Place a few crostinis or bagel chips on top of the soup. Notice the lack of bread product on the one bowl for my non-carb-eating husband.
Slice Gruyere cheese into large pieces. Let’s be generous, now, people. This is REALLY good stuff.
Place the cheese on top of the soup bowls. If possible, your cheese should overlap the rim a bit.
Broil on the top 1/3 rack of the oven for 4-5 minutes, until cheese is melty and bubbly.
Garnish with green onions, if you want to. Oooh-la-la!