Your taste buds won’t know this French onion soup is lightened up.
Although brothy soups are generally considered healthier than creamy ones, French onion soup tends to be more indulgent compared to broth-based soups like vegetable or lentil soup. That bread-and-melted-cheese crust atop the soup can definitely pile on extra saturated fat and refined carbs.
And then there’s the sodium. Even the lightest, veggie-packed soups can have sky-high salt levels. If you’re looking for low-cal soup recipes for a healthier lunch choice, it is important to consider the sodium content that you may be introducing to your diet. High sodium levels—if eaten on the reg—can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, and heart failure. They may also bloat you up like the Goodyear blimp.
To address the high sodium levels, this healthy French onion soup recipe skips the salty stock and uses a from-scratch base flavored with herbs and veggies. The primary ingredient for the stock is onion peels. Although we mostly think of onions as nothing more than an aromatic, they have a surprising amount of nutritional value. Onions contain vitamin C and certain phytonutrients that may be beneficial for the cardiovascular system.
The secret ingredients to make this low-salt, vegetarian broth taste like the beefy original are low-sodium soy sauce and mirin (rice wine). These two ingredients are well known for their umami (meaty) and pleasantly acidic flavors, particularly in Japanese cuisine.
To serve, chef Colombe Jacobsen recommends pre-toasting a whole grain piece of bread (look for 100% whole wheat), then adding a small amount of grated gruyere cheese and thyme. Then scoop the healthy French onion soup directly over top of the bread and cheese. The heat of the soup will melt the cheese without needing to place in the oven. Yummmmm.
For more low-salt, healthy soup recipes, try Colombe’s ajiaco chicken soup or garlic soup. For more tips on slashing sodium from your diet, here are a cardiologist’s 7 tips for following a low-salt diet.
- 4 turnips
- Onion skins (papery white parts, not the yellow)
- 12 cups water
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 4 large onions, sliced
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 bunch thyme (tied in a bundle)
- 1/3 cup mirin
- 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- Fresh cracked pepper
- 1-cup Gruyere cheese (grated)
- 4-6 slices toasted crusty bread
InstructionsFill a large heavy bottomed pot with 12 cups water. To that add 4 turnips rough chopped and onion skins (the papery white part). Boil and bring to a simmer for about 50 minutes or until the veggies are soft. Strain and reserve stock. Throw away the turnips and onion skins. In a large soup pot, soften the butter. Add the sliced onions and thyme bundle and cook over medium heat, until slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add 1 tsp of salt. Then add the reserved vegetable stock, mirin and soy sauce. If you want the soup to have more broth, add water. Cook about 5 more minutes and remove thyme bundle. Serve by placing one piece of bread topped with a sprinkling of Gruyere in a soup bowl, then add the soup overtop and the cheese will melt. Garnish with a few thyme leaves and fresh cracked pepper. Serves 8-10
Nutrition Information Based on a Single Serving
*Percent Daily Value are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
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I've got a much lighter version of one of
my favorite cold weather soups.
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I'm Kolom, and you're watching Eating by
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Today we're gonna make a French onion
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it's gonna be healthy, delicious, and much
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So, first I have to start with my stock,
and that's my base for
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all the flavor of my onion soup.
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And I'm just gonna use onion peels.
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Now onions have a surprising amount of
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They are great for cardiovascular issues,
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they're also great for building bone and
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So for the stock, we're gonna use the
yellow papery part of the onion, and
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that's gonna give us a nice rich flavorful
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And since we're making a vegetarian broth,
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we need to find a nice richness that we'll
get from the flavor of these onions.
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And then a little secret I'll show you
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Now in addition to the onion skins, we're
going to chop a turnip.
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Turnips give a lot of good flavor to the
broth, and that's what we're looking for,
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particularly because we don't have the
meat in the broth.
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Usually, you have a beef or chicken stock
for your onion soup.
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But this is gonna be purely vegetarian.
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So, we've got the peels for
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our stock, and we'll save the onions for
our actual soup base.
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Let's get our broth started on the back
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In go the papery skins of the onion and
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We'll bring that to a boil and then we'll
simmer for about 50 minutes.
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In this pot, we'll start on our onions for
the body of the soup.
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First, we'll put in two tablespoons of
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You can always use olive oil if you're
watching your butter intake.
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Once your butter is melted, add in your
sliced onions and your bundle of thyme.
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You wanna wilt these until they get nice,
and caramelized, and a little brown.
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Butter, onions, and thyme are just the
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So I just strain the onion peels and the
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From our broth, and now we just have a
nice clear broth.
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I'm gonna add our finishing flavors.
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Which are the reduced sodium soy sauce and
the mirin, the rice wine.
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And that really gives my broth flavor, and
that's a little trick.
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We're not having to use any meat in your
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It's really starting to smell perfect.
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It's really rich, but still light.
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All right, let's come over here.
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This is how I recommend serving your soup.
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So I pre-toast a whole grain piece of
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then I just add about a tablespoon and a
half of fresh grated Gruyère cheese.
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It's a little bit like Swiss, so if you
can't find Gruyère, you can use Swiss.
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Cheese is high in fat, but if you use it
sparingly it adds a lot of flavor.
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It's got calcium in it.
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I'm also gonna add a little bit of thyme
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And now come with me over to the stove.
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I'll add my onions, which I've sauteed,
into the broth.
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There's nothing better than sauteed,
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And now, just ladle.
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The soup over top and that naturally melts
the cheese, so
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you don't even have to put it in the oven.
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And that's really all there is to it.
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My cheese is perfectly melted now.
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I love how the bread soaks up all that
juicy onion broth.
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So flavorful and you can still have your
onion soup, but
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it's just a little lighter.
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So, it's healthier.
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Thanks for watching Eating by Heart.
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Hope to see you again real soon.
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