Soul Warming French Onion Soup [that will also do your body good]

I might have overindulged during the Holidays, but for the record, not all of my indulgences were of the unhealthy kind, you know…

I mean sure, a lot of them were, but still, I did get to enjoy some extremely comforting dishes that were made super healthy too.

Hey, after all, it’s not because it’s Christmas that EVERYTHING you eat has to be of the super indulgent kind.

For proof, check out this amazing French Onion Soup that I made for my daughter on New Year’s Eve.

French Onion Soup | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

French Onion Soup, you see, would be one of her ultimate favorite foods in the whole wide world, like the one thing she would probably choose to have for her birthday if I asked her what she wanted to eat, so, although I never considered this to be the healthiest, I still make it for her every now and then.

Since she likes it so much, and since I love her even more than she likes onion soup, I decided to make this as a starter for our New Year’s Eve Dinner.

However, just like I did with our entire Christmas menu this year, I also pledged that I would keep this one as healthy and clean as I possibly could and hope that she would find it as just as good.

Well, contrary to what I initially thought, it wasn’t really all that hard to keep this soup healthy.

I mean, all there is to it really are fresh onions, good home made low fat turkey stock,  good, wholesome whole grain bread and a little bit of light cheese, which I consider to be good for you so long as you don’t overdo it.

French Onion Soup | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

The only thing that bugs me about it really (and that I know I will never be able to do anything about) is the fact that you have to cook the onions for so long. I am a strong believer in cooking any food, but especially fruits and vegetables, as little as you possibly can because cooking destroys some of the nutrients.

But when it comes to making onion soup, you just don’t have a choice! The key to making fantastic onion soup is to get the onions to caramelize real good before adding anything to them at all, save for a few spices… and that takes close to a half hour!

That’s where all the magic happens, though! That’s where all the amazing sweet and nutty flavor of the onions comes to life. That’s also where the gorgeous, deep golden brown color of the broth emanates from.

What’s left of the onions’ nutrients after they have cooked for so long, I’m not too sure…

But if I have to choose between that and any other meal that comes out of a can or pouch, I’ll take the former without so much as a moment of hesitation!

French Onion Soup | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

Plus, hey, sometimes, you do have to cut yourself a little slack, too.

I say this soup is still shockingly healthy for a meal that ranks so high in the “comfort food department”.

Just don’t go do what I did that night and have raclette right after…

Stick with something light, like a salad or something.

Oh, and you might want to go easy on the dressing!

Soul Warming French Onion Soup

Yield: Serves 4

Nutritional Information based on 1 serving

Soul Warming French Onion Soup


  • 10 medium onions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ tsp Himalayan or fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 whole star anise`
  • 4 whole Juniper berries
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp dried savory
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 5 cups low fat turkey or chicken stock
  • 50g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 50g low fat mozzarella, grated
  • 100g light emmental cheese, grated
  • 4 slices stale or toasted whole grain bread


  1. In a large stockpot, cook the onions, garlic, salt and pepper over medium heat until the onions get super soft and take a beautiful caramel color, about 20-25 minutes. Stir often so the onions don't burn.
  2. When the onions are ready, add nutmeg, star anise, juniper berries, bay leaf, dried savory, Dijon mustard and stock.
  3. Bring to a boil then cover, lower the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse. Turn off the heat and remove bay leaf, star anise and juniper berries.
  4. When you are ready to serve the soup, ladle it into 4 oven safe individual soup bowls and place a piece of stale bread in each bowl. You want your bread to be on the very dry side. If you find it's not dry enough, give it a few minutes in the toaster.
  5. Mix all the cheeses together and sprinkle evenly over the 4 bowls.
  6. Place the bowls in a 375F oven and cook until the cheese is all melted and bubbly and turns a beautiful golden color. (you might want to place a cookie sheet or piece of aluminum foil underneath to catch possible overspillage)


*I made my own stock by throwing my turkey carcass along with everything that was in it (apples, oranges and sage) in enough water to cover all and I let that simmer for about 2 hours. I then strained my stock and put it in the fridge to cool completely, which made removing the very thin layer of fat that solidified on the surface super easy.

Mayo Clinic also has an excellent recipe for low fat chicken stock. You can use the same method to make turkey stock.

French Onion Soup | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

French Onion Soup | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

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  1. Irina says

    Hello again, Sonia! Glad to see you’re getting back on track diligently.
    Felt the rare need to comment yet again, because I think adding a pinch of baking soda to onions makes them caramelise in 10 minutes! I’m not sure how good the results are since I have yet to try it myself, but check out this blog post:
    Anyway, thanks for sharing this recipe; my Mom is a huge fan of French Onion Soup and I’m always on the lookout for healthy versions.

    • says

      Good to know, Irina! I’ll make sure to give that a try next time. I know it works wonders to help cook beans faster and to make them softer, too. You just need to add a little bit to your soaking / cooking water. Can’t wait to see if it does its magic with onions. Thanks a lot for the trick. And I hope your mom likes my version of French Onion Soup, if she ever gets to try it. :)

  2. says

    Yum! This looks so amazing! French onion is my husbands favorite soup and I’ve been making it for him lots this year, although it’s a really simple version. All the flavors in yours sound great!

  3. Beth says

    Do you have suggestions for making this vegetarian? Using turkey or chicken stock is out of the question for a veggie. Is it as simple as a veg stock substitution?

  4. sogreen says

    I wouldn’t call 374 calories of anything shockingly healthy. Nonetheless, I will try this.

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