I often miss food from the “old days”. One dish that I never thought to try was French Onion Soup. Partly because I’m lazy, and partly because I tend not to be the biggest fan of imitation cheese products. I will preface that by saying that I wasn’t ever the biggest fan of actual cheese either, so it isn’t that big a surprise really. I did however, for whatever reason, enjoy a molten hot bowl of french onion soup. So I decided that I would give it a go. I found this recipe and pretty much followed the soup to the letter. The rest I improvised. Much to the delight of the Hubs. He loved the bread crouton so much he is going to make them again for a holiday party we have every year to celebrate Christmakkah. Part of that is likely due to the fact that I caved and used gruyere on his. But I LOVED the Daiya on this dish and had I known how much I was going to like it, I would have skipped the actual cheese on his and made him try the vegan version. Lesson learned.

I even had fancy little french onion soup bowls courtesy of bubbie (the kid’s bubbie, not mine of course). Thanks Bubs! Betcha thought these were long donated to the auxiliary!

I also decided that we needed a protein with this so I used Kathy Patalsky’s recipe for Cannelini bean burgers and just made them into little sliders. Minus a bun. They look like cookies, but they are actually a lovely little smoky patty. The Hubs approved! (He usually hates home made veg burgers). It was a match made in vegan heaven. Well, for me anyways.

Vegan French Onion Sou
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 large white or yellow onions, sliced into thin half-moons

3 fresh thyme sprigs (about 1 tbsp), leaves stripped (or ½ tsp dried)

2 tbsp good quality aged balsamic vinegar OR 1/4 cup red wine (I used the vinegar but the Hubs said he would have preferred the wine. Noted)

6 cup  vegetable stock (no salt added)

1 bay leaf

3 tsp sea salt, divided

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Crouton:

Sliced sourdough baguette

Daiya or cheese alternative of your choice OR thinly sliced gruyere cheese

Recipe:
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, thyme, 1 tsp salt and drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over the onions; lower the heat to medium low.  Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the onions caramelize and turn light golden brown, about 50-60 minutes. Add the balsamic or wine and cook until it’s absorbed and the onions are a deeper brown, about 15 more minutes. Add the stock,  bay leaf, remaining salt and pepper, then bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer at least 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Instead of baking the cheese onto the soup, put slices of  bread on a baking sheet, rub the tops with a fresh garlic clove, drizzle with a little olive oil and top with the gruyere or vegan cheese. Bake for 5-10 minutes at 350º until the cheese is melted. Top each cup of soup with a slice or two of the cheesy bread and enjoy!

White Bean Burger Sliders

makes one dozen

1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup bread crumbs, fine
1 can white cannellini beans, drained
dash salt
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
dash chipotle powder
dash garlic powder
dash black pepper
1/2 tsp liquid smoke

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork. Mash REALLY well.

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and start hand-shaping your burgers. You should get about 12 little sliders or 4 thick burgers – depending how big you make them.

4. Lay your burgers on the parchment paper and bake in oven for 20-30 minutes – or until brown crust starts to for on the outside. Longer baking times will dry out your burger more. Turning off the oven and letting them sit for a while also works great. The Hubs liked these a lot because they were not wet inside. I let mine it in the oven after the 25 minutes of cooking for at least another 20 minutes or so.

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