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French Onion Soup Plus

     
     It’s been a while!  

     October proved to be much busier than I anticipated.  With the changing seasons brought a bit of a change of internal temperature for me.  I always try to ward off viruses any way I can.  Usually, I’m successful.  

     For whatever reason, my immune system felt a little overwhelmed this year.  Needless to say, I was in bed for a good 48 hours shivering and sniffling.  Over those few days when I was recovering, I downed soup and tea like mad!  Soup is a food group that I overlook during the warmer months, with the exception of the occasional gazpacho.  I really love soups during the fall and winter.  There’s something magical about eating and drinking something all at once.  I love to drink all my leftover broth.  It warms my heart! ^_^

One of my favorite soups is French onion.  I used to eat this in my pre-veg days, like most people, I suppose.  It’s a pretty common menu item.  I really wanted it the one day when I wasn’t feeling well.  There’s something really comforting about sweet caramelized onions in a rich salty broth.  However, I was faced with a bit of a dilemma: I only had half an onion…

     Yeah, you can’t really do much with half an onion!!  That’s basically one serving!  Luckily, I had some other vegetables in my fridge that needed to be used.  This version of baked onion soup is a hodge podge of ingredients that I had on hand.  However, I think after making “onion” soup this way, I’ll never settle for just onions again!  It was definitely delicious and also a hit with my “non-veg” family.  😉

     I prepared the soup in the “French” fashion (or wherever it came from!) with a crunchy crouton in the bottom of a crock and melted “cheese” on top.  I used some gluten free bread that I had on hand, but you can use any toasted bread that you prefer (or, omit if you choose).  The “cheese” is also optional, but it’s so fun!  I also like the presentation because it reminds me that vegan dishes can imitate conventional ones pretty well when they feel like it!

French Onion Soup Plus

Adapted from Baked Onion Soup in Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons by Nava Atlas
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 cups water + 1 vegan bullion cube (or all vegan broth)
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1 Tb whole grain mustard
  • 1/4 of small/medium red cabbage, shredded
  • 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 of large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup carrots. julienned
  • 1 cup celery, julienned
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tb olive oil/vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 slice non-dairy swiss cheese (I used Daiya), opt.
  • 3 homemade croutons (per serving), opt.

Instructions
Oven 375 F.

  1. In a large stock pot, heat the margarine/oil over medium-low heat.  Saute the garlic and onion, low and slow, until golden brown in color, stirring often.  This will take about 5 minutes.  
  2. Add all the other vegetables (minus mushrooms), season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes.  
  3. In a mug/bowl, dissolve the bullion cube with a cup of boiling water (skip if already using prepared broth/stock).
  4. Add all the liquid ingredients, mushrooms, mustard, bay leaf,  to the pot over the vegetables.  Bring to a slow boil and then turn down to a simmer.  Leave on the stove until the rest of the vegetables are cooked (preferably al dente). 
  5. Taste the broth for salt and add more tamari if needed.
  6. To assemble, place  croutons in the bottom of a soup crock/bowl.  Ladle some soup over the croutons.  Place a slice of non-dairy cheese over the top of the crock/bowl.  I garnished mine with some dried parsley.  
  7. Place in the oven for about 6 minutes, just until the cheese melts.  Serve immediately! 
  8. Feel better about life. ❤

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