My delicious Healthier French Onion Soup is a lightened up version of a classic restaurant dish that you can make at home.
When the weather gets cold, don't you just want to curl up with a hot, comforting bowl of soup? My delicious French onion soup is a lightened up version of a classic restaurant dish that you can make at home.
Besides being a crowd-pleaser, this dish is also really inexpensive to make (it doesn't get much cheaper than onions). It's delicious served alone or topped with a crusty piece of French bread and gooey, melted Gruyere cheese.
The Secret Ingredient- Caramelized Onions
The base of the soup is simple- it's made by caramelizing onions until they are deliciously sweet and golden brown. Caramelized onions are one of my favorite secret ingredients! I love to incorporate them into dishes because they add so much flavor without too many calories.
It does take a little patience to make them though. It takes time for the onions to cook down to the point that their sugars start to caramelize and they turn a lovely brown color. But it's so worth the effort!
I usually make an extra large batch and save the rest to use in other dishes. Caramelized onions make a great topping for things like pizza or flatbread and burgers. They also can be stirred into pasta dishes, sauces and dips to add depth of flavor.
Check out my full tutorial on how to make amazing caramelized onions.
How to Make Healthier French Onion Soup
Classic French Onion soup recipes typically use butter to cook the onions. However, for my healthier French onion soup, I use heart healthy olive oil instead. The caramelized onions have so much intrinsic flavor, you won't miss the butter.
Once the onions are finished caramelizing, you simply add some fresh herbs, beef stock, wine (or sherry) and a bit of cognac. Then you just simmer the soup until it's done.
You can substitute chicken stock or even vegetable stock if you want to make a vegetarian version of this soup.
The soup is delicious alone but classically, it's served with crusty bread and tons of Gruyere cheese that's melted under the broiler just before serving.
To simplify the process and cut some calories, I toast slices of French bread in the toaster oven with some grated Gruyere cheese. It's such a strong-flavored cheese, you'll find that a little goes a long way. Bon appétit!
More Soups and Stews
Looking for more tasty soups and stews? Check out my collection of the best Fall Soup Recipes to get more ideas.
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Healthier French Onion Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 ¼ lbs. sweet yellow onions (about 3 large onions), thinly sliced (about 8 cups sliced)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus extra to taste
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup dry white wine or sherry (I used a mixture of the two)
- ¼ cup cognac or brandy
- 8 cups less-sodium beef broth (can substitute chicken or vegetable broth)
- black pepper
- 6 slices French baguette (1 ounce each)
- 2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat and add the onions. Stir to coat the onions with the oil.
- Cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes until the onions start to soften. Add the salt and sugar and stir to combine. Continue to cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown and caramelized, about 45 minutes. Take your time with this step as this is what’s going to provide the rich flavor for your soup. If the onions start to burn or catch bottom, you can add a small amount of water to deglaze the pan.
- Once the onions are caramelized, add the garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Cook another minute or two and then stir in the flour. Cook, stirring, another 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat up to high and add the wine (or sherry) and cognac. Cook until reduced by half. Add the broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the soup, partially covered, 20-30 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper.
- Top the bread with equal amounts of grated cheese. Toast the bread in the toaster oven for a couple of minutes until the cheese melts and the bread is toasted. Alternatively, you can place the bread on a baking sheet and place it under the broiler. Ladle the soup into bowls and top each one with a slice of cheesy toast. Serve hot.
So happy to hear this turned out so great for you! And thank you for sharing with us! 🙂
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Nedra Brannan says
Seems easy. I will try this. Thank you!
How much sodium is in it? My mother absolutely loves french onion soup, but can't have much salt. I would love to make some for her!!!!
Each serving has 1289 mg sodium as the recipe is written without any additional seasoning.
Great recipe and I keep forgetting about it, made it last year and it was delicious. I actually have a dinner party coming up and I can see this on the menu. xoxo
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Sound yummy!!!! I'll try this weekend.
Thanks for your comment, Fooibi! I hope you like it!
Karen Louise Hart says
I saw this link on Facebook, agreed making French Onion Soup a great idea, waded through hundreds of recipes on my favourite website,but compared to Foodiephysician's version, they all seemed wrong/bleak/unappetizing.Came out great! Thank You.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Karen! So glad you liked the dish!
Jennifer @ Town and Country Living says
Yum. I just added this to my menu for Saturday night.
Great! Let me know how it turns out!
Love this healthy version of a much loved dish of mine. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year xoxo
This is one of my favorites too! Happy New Year!
I caps says
Nice healthy recipes you have shared here. Thanks for your great support on such type recipes.
Thanks for your support!