This is a twist on the classic French onion soup with the addition of French green lentils and crunchy fennel fronds. It has such a depth of flavor that will sooth your soul.
French Onion, Fennel, and Green Lentil Soup [Vegan]
- 4 yellow or white onions
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (I used sauvignon blanc)
- Sea salt to taste
- 4 yellow or white onions
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (for fennel stalks) plus 1/4 cup (for the caramelized onions)
- 1 1/2 cup French green lentils
- 8 cups filtered water
- 2 sprigs plus 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup fennel stalks
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 vegetable bouillon cube (salt-free)
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine (I used Albarino)
- 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Toasted French bread
- Meltable vegan cheese
- Start by caramelizing the onions. Cut the ends off the onions then cut in half, remove the skin and slice thin slices into half circles, add to a large straight side pan. Sweat the onions on med heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will remove the water and form a golden crust on the pan called "fond." You will want to use a wooden spoon to scrape the pan with.
- Add 1/4 cup of olive oil, deglaze by scraping the pan and stir to combine the golden fond. Turn heat to med-low for 20 more minutes stir a couple of times but not too much, you want the fond to occur, this gives it its golden color and flavor.
- Add 1 tablespoon of wine and deglaze then let sit for 10 minutes
- Add 2 more tablespoons of wine, deglaze and let cook for 10 more minutes, then add 1 more tablespoon of wine, deglaze and turn off the heat. They should be dark golden in color. If they aren’t, cook a bit longer and deglaze again with a tablespoon of water. Sprinkle with salt.
- In a large soup pot combine the lentils, water, two sprigs of thyme and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil then turn to medium-low for 15-20 minutes (use a timer) until lentils are soft but slightly firm then remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf.
- While the lentils are cooking, cut the stalks off the fennel bulb and cut into thin slices starting where the frond are attached to the bulb and measure out a cup.
- In a saute pan add 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-low heat add the fennel stalks and garlic then saute until the garlic starts to turn golden.
- Add the tarragon, 2 tablespoons of thyme and bullion cubes to the fennel stalks, mash the bouillon, and stir everything together then add 1 tablespoon of wine to deglaze the pan.
- Stir the stalks until they start to get sticky and turn golden then add the remaining tablespoon of wine, deglaze and cook for a couple of minutes. Add to lentils and add a tablespoon of water to the pan and scrap all the flavors out and add to the lentils.
- Add the onions to the lentils and do the same as above with 1 tablespoon of water scraping all the flavors out of the pan.
- Lastly, add the lemon juice, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper and cook until it is hot and all the flavors combine.
- Serve as is, or ladle some soup into an oven safe bowl and top with toasted French bread and grated vegan cheese. Put it under the broiler until it turns golden and bubbly on top.