Looking for something simple yet elegant for a quick holiday lunch or light supper? French onion soup is easy, nutritious and delicious.
Onions are fat free, cholesterol free and low in sodium, while high in vitamins C and B6, potassium, iron, folate, manganese, copper, phosphorus, fiber and high-quality vegetable protein, all for less than 45 calories in an entire onion!
Onions contain flavonoids and organosulfur compounds, anti-oxidants which have been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. The National Onion Association reports that various compounds contained in onions help fight inflammation related to arthritis and asthma, promote healing of gastric ulcers, help prevent atherosclerosis, regulate blood sugar, and have the potential to decrease the incidence of osteoporosis.
Spelt (the toast in the following recipe) is loaded with its own health benefits, and the health benefits of red wine are well-documented (although you can either leave out the wine or substitute unsweetened cranberry juice if you like).
The USDA reports that Americans eat an average of only 20 pounds of onions per person, per year. You can do better than that. Stop by Liberty Market or Mr. Garber’s at 2nd Street Market and pick up some nice organic onions. All the ingredients in this recipe are available at Liberty Market, excepting the wine, and The Wine Gallery at the Market can help you out there.
Easy vegetarian french onion soup
- 1/4 cup butter (can substitute 3 T olive oil if you wish)
- 3 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup red wine (optional, see above)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable bouillion powder
- 4 slices spelt bread
- 8 ounces coarsely grated gruyere or Swiss cheese
- ½ tsp dried organic thyme
- 6 peppercorns, ground
Melt butter in a 4 quart saucepan. Stir in sugar. Cook onions over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
Stir in flour until well blended with the onions and pan juices. Add water, wine, and broth; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low and cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Toast the bread slices in the toaster or at 325 degrees F in the oven or just until browned, about 10 minutes.
Ladle the soup into four 12 ounce, oven-safe bowls. Place 1 slice toasted bread on top of the soup in each bowl. Sprinkle ½ cup cheese on top of toast in each bowl and place bowls on a cookie sheet.
Bake the bowls of soup at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 10 minutes, or just until the cheese is melted.
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