(Lighter) French Onion Soup

If you don’t like onions, this soup probably isn’t for you

Justine Pattison has provided a slimming friendly version of the classic French Onion Soup recipe which will feed 6 people for less than 50p a head! There is something really comforting about this soup and the extra cooking time to slowly cook the onions (don’t let them burn!) is worth the wait.

Justine recommends using the nuttiness of Gruyere cheese to put on the thin baguette slices, but any hard cheese will do. And if you can’t get your mits on a baguette as I couldn’t, then thin slices of garlic bread are a good substitute but do factor in the extra calories.

For more healthy soup ideas, click here.

Recipe: French Onion Soup

Calories: 188 per serving

Serves: 6

Book: Justine Pattison: Without the Calories – comfort food

Prep time: Approx 20 mins

Cooking time: Approx 50 mins


  • 2 tsp sunflower oil
  • 6 medium onions (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, plus extra to garnish
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1.5 litres hot beef stock (made with 2 stock cubes)
  • 12 thin slices of baguette (about 15g per slice), cut diagonally
  • 50g Gruyere cheese (finely grated)
  • Flaked seal salt
  • Ground black pepper

Cost per portion: Approx £0.43


Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan or flameproof casserole dish. Add the onions, cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for 20–25 minutes or until the onions are very soft, stirring occasionally.

Remove the lid, increase the heat and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the onions have turned a rich golden brown colour, stirring frequently and making sure that they do not burn. Reduce the heat and stir in the thyme leaves and flour.

Pour the stock slowly over the onions, stirring constantly and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until the soup thickens slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm over a low heat.

Heat the grill to the hottest setting. Place the baguette slices on a baking tray and toast close to the grill for 1 minute on each side or until lightly browned.

Remove from under the grill and sprinkle a little of the grated cheese on each slice of bread. Return to the grill and cook until the cheese melts and is begins to brown.

Ladle the hot soup into warm, deep bowls and top each one with 2 pieces of the cheesy toast. Sprinkle with tiny sprigs of thyme just before serving.


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