French Kale and Onion Soup

I don’t know about you, but soup has solved a lot of dilemmas in my life.

Cold day? Soup.

Rainy day? Soup.

Sick day? Soup.

Sad day or afternoon lost in the throes of existential crisis? Soup.

It’s hot, delicious and generally comforting nature makes it almost like a soulmate in a bowl. That boyfriend from high school wasn’t there for you but that creamy bowl of bisque has got your back, Chika. (Or Chiko. High school was rough for all of us.)

One of my all-time favorite soups has to be French onion. It’s like the perfect balance of cheesy, savory flavors and textures. I didn’t like onions as a kid, so I steered clear of it most of my adult life. Until one very cold November afternoon, my husband and I ducked into a little tavern on our honeymoon to get away from the wind. I knew it was a soup day if ever I’d encountered one. The only thing in their soup menu that wasn’t a chili was (you guessed it) French onion, so I decided to give it a try. Two bowls later and I was hooked.

This recipe is everything you know and love about French onion, with an extra serving of veggies and a new layer of texture. It’s also very easily vegan-adaptable! And the best part? You don’t even have to wait for a weather-related and/or emotional crisis to enjoy a big, piping hot bowl of soupy goodness. It’s ready and waiting to improve your day one spoonful at a time any day of the week!


  • 1 Cup kale, stripped from stems and thinly sliced
  • 4 Yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 Cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Vegetable bullion cube
  • 2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 Garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 Garlic clove, halved
  • 2 Sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 Sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 2 Teaspoons coconut sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons unpasteurized butter (or Earth Balance buttery spread)
  • 1 Cup Gruyère cheese, grated (or vegan mozzarella)
  • 1 Baguette (or gluten-free bread substitute)
  • Sea salt and pepper

Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions in, tossing around for 10 minutes or until soft and just starting to caramelize. Sprinkle in the sugar, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes or so, until onions have browned and fully caramelized. Go ahead and pre-heat the oven to 500°F on broil.

Add the 3 diced cloves of garlic, thyme and rosemary into the pot and stir together for about 1 minute, until herbs are fragrant. Pour vegetable stock, soy sauce and bay leaf into the pot and bring everything to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer 5-10 minutes. Stir in kale to wilt it. Give a taste and add salt and pepper to season as needed, then remove the bay leaf when done.

Thinly slice the baguette, place slices on a baking sheet, and place in the oven to toast for 1-2 minutes until a light golden brown (don’t take your eyes off them or they will burn at such a high temperature). Remove them from oven and rub the halved garlic clove across the top of the slices, then top them with the Gruyère cheese. Pop them back into the oven for another 1-2 minutes until the cheese is gently toasted. Serve soup hot and topped with cheesy baguette croutons!

All writing and images copyright © 2018 Rachel Elise Weems Woods

3 thoughts on “French Kale and Onion Soup”

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