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Vegetarian French Onion Soup Sandwiches

French Onion Soup Sandwiches

French Onion Soup Sandwiches

These Vegetarian French Onion Soup Sandwiches are full of caramelized onions and Gruyere cheese—a recipe for soup in sandwich form!

Soup with a Twist

I have been agonizing over what to call this recipe. Agonizing to an embarrassing degree. I swear, sometimes I spend more time coming up with names for recipes than I do developing the recipes themselves. I feel like the name of this recipe is confusing. Is it a soup? Is it a sandwich? Well, it’s kind of both. It’s French Onion Soup with a twist.

About the Recipe

You see, in traditional French Onion Soup, you make the soup and float a piece of crusty bread topped with cheese on top of it. And it’s delicious! This recipe is a little bit different, though. The bread, onions, and cheese are in grilled panini form. The (faux) beef broth is served on the side and you dip your sandwich into it. As you eat your panini, bits of onion, cheese, and bread fall into the broth so when you’ve finished off your sandwich, you have a little bowl of French Onion bliss waiting for you.

So is it a little confusing? Maybe. But it’s really good, I promise! My husband, who isn’t a huge fan of grilled cheese sandwiches, was really surprised how much these captured the flavor of French Onion Soup. As for me, I love anything involving melted cheese and caramelized onions, so I loved these sandwiches too. In fact, we loved them so much that we ended up having them for lunch two days in a row—they’re great comfort food for a cold winter day.

French Onion Soup Sandwiches Recipe

Vegetarian French Onion Soup Sandwiches

Is it a soup? Or is it a sandwich? It's both! These grilled panini sandwiches are full of caramelized onions and Gruyere cheese—it's French onion soup in sandwich form.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions thinly sliced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 ciabatta rolls halved
  • 1 cup Gruyere cheese shredded
  • 4 cup no-beef broth heated (you can find meatless beef broth at stores like Whole Foods)


  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet on low heat.
  • Add sliced onions and cook until caramelized about an hour and fifteen minutes, stirring frequently. (For detailed instructions, see yesterday's post on how to caramelize onions.)
  • Remove from heat and stir in salt and pepper to taste and thyme.
  • Heat panini press or grill on high.
  • Divide caramelized onions onto bottom of rolls and top each one with 1/4 cup of cheese and top half of roll.
  • Grill for 10–15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is golden-brown.
  • Serve each sandwich with 1 cup of broth.


Serving: 1sandwich & 1 cup of broth
Craving more veg-friendly recipes? Shop our collection of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks!

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  • Reply
    January 4, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    I like your twist on this classic! I always thought French onion soup is one big mess to eat, trying to get the bread and cheese in your mouth, but not all at once. Your recipe seems like just the perfect solution!

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      January 4, 2012 at 7:42 pm

      I love French onion soup, but I have the same problem. And then the bread gets so mushy when it’s floating in the soup for a while!

  • Reply
    Mary Beth Elderton
    January 4, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Yummy! I bookmarked as “French Onion Soupwich” 😀

  • Reply
    January 4, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    YUMMY! Now, how do you make the No-Beef broth??

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      January 4, 2012 at 8:47 pm

      Thank you for pointing this out–I just added a line to the ingredients about it. 🙂 I’m sure there’s a fabulous recipe for it somewhere, but I just used the kind you buy at Whole Foods. I cheated!

      • Reply
        January 4, 2012 at 9:01 pm

        ARGH! I don’t have a Whole Foods. 🙁 maybe I can find it on amazon….

        • Reply
          May 5, 2012 at 6:58 pm

          Better then Bouillon is a great brand and yes, you can buy it on Amazon! Their faux chicken is fabulous, too!

    • Reply
      Jen R
      June 14, 2018 at 3:20 pm

      I found 2 great recipes for French Onion Soup in The New McDougall Cookbook (pgs 132 & 133). I combined the 2 recipes and the soup turned out AMAZING! No oil and totally plant based. PS. I made my own veggie broth for it too.

  • Reply
    Jamie (Thrifty Veggie Mama)
    January 4, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Yummy! I love grilled cheese and french onion soup. Will definitely try this.

  • Reply
    Skye Moyer
    January 4, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    oh my.. my husband would LOVE these!

  • Reply
    January 4, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Wow…they look amazing. I love french onion soup. Oh the best is when it’s totally covered in cheese and you crack through the cheese to find this rock hard crouton that’s just starting to soften. And you captured it all in a sandwich 🙂

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      January 6, 2012 at 3:24 pm

      Thank you! I love French onion soup too. Something about that combination of ingredients is just magical! 🙂

  • Reply
    Rachel R.
    January 6, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    What a clever idea! I also love the soupwich name that Mary Beth came up with!

  • Reply
    Dawn C
    January 9, 2012 at 8:44 am

    That looks yummy!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Yum! I love French Onion Soup so I will definitely try this!

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      January 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm

      Let me know how it turns out if you do–this is definitely one of my husband’s favorite recipes!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Oh my. This has classic written all over it. And this could be vegan too- swear to dog I just tried Daiya Vegan Jack Cheese tonight (it’s a block, not shredded), my Whole Foods finally has it, and I think it would be beyond perfect in this sammie. Confession: I have made caramelized onions before and eaten them straight from the pan- never added to a recipe. So you see, I already have a problem when it comes to caramelized onions…

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      March 28, 2012 at 6:14 pm

      Ooh, I haven’t seen that kind of Daiya. I like their Pepper Jack cheese a lot. I could totally eat caramelized onions right out of the pan too–usually I sneak a few! 😉

  • Reply
    May 5, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    I need to get a panini press – this looks delish!

    • Reply
      May 6, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      I just use my indoor grill! I think a skillet works too–I’ve seen photos where people put the sandwich in the skillet and a plate with cans on it on top of the sandwich to weigh it down.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Hi! I’m a new vegetarian and I’m having a lot of trouble! I just can’t find food that I like. I saw this recipe and thought do I even like onions? Eh whatever it looks good and has great reviews. I made it earlier today and ate it a few minutes ago… It made my stomach wrench a bit. I guess I don’t like onions much!!! >:( also my vegetable broth was orange….. Yours was brown so I really don’t know. I need help on recipes that ill love for pickey eaters like me. I’m sure it was my taste buds not your recipe. Thanks in regards ~ Hannah

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      August 5, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      If you’re not used to eating onions, maybe they disagreed with you a little bit. I’d focus on finding recipes made with ingredients you know you like and branch out from there. If tofu isn’t appetizing to you, there’s chickpeas and black beans! If you have a favorite recipe that’s made with chicken, try making it without! I have some resources for new vegetarians here:

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