10 March 2012

French Onion Miso Soup

Many many years ago the BFF and I enjoyed a delicious French Onion soup at a local vegan/vegetarian restaurant. Part of the soup base included miso. Despite not generally being a fan of miso, the BFF raved and raved about it and wanted me to recreate it for him. 1

Sure, I thought, why not?

If there's one thing I can pretty confidently say about my cooking skills, it's that I'm good at recreating savory dishes, once I've tasted them and without a recipe.
I can't explain why, it's just something I've always been able to do. Baked goods, however, were an entirely different story... until recently.2

Back to soup though... I had to think about that one for ahwile. I had never eaten French Onion Soup before that day3, and I hadn't eaten/tasted the soup consciously.4
The first version I sort of threw together. It was good, - the BFF ate it - but something was definitely missing. I didn't consider it much of a success and - not having much of a history with French Onion Soup to begin with- didn't bother even trying to make it again... until years later, when the BFF asked again.5
Not the first draft.
OK, I thought. So if, I was going to try this another time, and inundate my apartment with the smell of onions, I was going to make it count.

For the second go, I went ahead and peeked at a run-of-the-mill French Onion Soup Recipe and noticed what I hadn't paid attention to in tasting years back.6  To be honest, I was sort of annoyed with myself, because it was so simple. In fact, this recipe requires only 6 ingredients, including the herbs. There are no fancy steps involved, no reductions or pre-prep,  yet the outcome is a truly delicious soup, that I would happily make (and eat) again (and again).

I served the soup in the traditional way, with a toasted bread and melted cheeze, but this is completely optional. The soup was excellent on its own.
P.S. I didn't make my own vegan/gf bread([!!] - I know...); I cut up some store bought, and toasted it in the oven, until dry and crisp. The bread is still vegan, gluten free and allergy friendly; that counts for something.

French Onion Miso
(serves 3-4)
  • 2 Large Yellow Onions
  • 1/3 Cup Chickpea Miso (red soy miso is nice too - make sure it's Organic/Non-GMO!)
  • 2 Quarts Filtered Water
  • 2 Tbsp Organic Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2-4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Tbsp Thyme
  • 4-5 Slices of your favorite Vegan/GF/Allergy-Free Bread
  • Daiya Mozzarella Shreds
Peel the onions. Slice off the top ends, and cutting from top to root, slice them into 1/4 slices.
Cut each slice (it's easiest to stack the slices and cut several at once) into halves or quarters, depending on desired length.

Place the onions into a medium-large stock pot along with the miso, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.
Sauté over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the the onions begin to soften and the miso, vinegar and oil have combined and evenly coated the onions.
The improved version.

Add the water, and bring the soup to a gentle simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 40-45 more minutes, or until the onions are completely tender and translucent.
Note: Chickpea miso tends to be a bit less salty than soy miso (at least the one I use is). Feel free to add a bit more miso or a few pinches of sea salt, to suit your taste.

While the soup is cooking, you can prepare and toast the bread. I simply cut a few slices of a store-bought (vegan/gf/allergy-friendly) loaf into large squares and toasted them for 40 minutes at 200F. It struck me afterwards that it would have made a nice presentation to cut the bread into circles, using a biscuit cutter. The downside of this method would be leftover bits of bread scrap.

Once the soup is ready, and the bread is toasted. Prepare the bowls for serving.
Crank up the oven to the broiler setting or 500F.
Ladle the individual servings into ramekins or other oven-proof bowls. Float your bread pieces or disks on top of the soup, and cover with however much Daiya floats your boat Gluten Free toast.

Arrange the ramekins/bowls on a baking sheet. Place them under the broiler for 5-10 minutes, or until the Daiya is fully melted - or leave them a bit longer, until the Daiya is bubbly and slightly browned.

Serve (carefully) and Enjoy!

1. He loves onions though; they totally trumped the miso.
2. Of course, they're all Cucina Libera-fied/Libera-ted (dork alert!... yet again)
3. Honestly!
4. Yes, I know. Hardly mindful eating.
5. Apparently, he forgot the previous uninspired soup, in that time.

6. There's a good mindful eating lesson here, kids.


  1. Oh yum, looks and sounds soooooo delicious, thanks.

    You are welcome to join in my food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here all bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon.

    1. Thank You!
      I'll definitely check out your blogger event.