French onion soup, a classic and comforting dish, has delighted taste buds for centuries with its rich flavors and enticing aroma. Often considered a meal in itself, pairing it with complementary sides can elevate the culinary experience and enhance the robust taste of the soup.
When contemplating what goes well with French onion soup, it’s essential to consider textures and flavors that complement this savory delight. By exploring various options like crusty bread, fresh salads, and protein-rich dishes, one can create a satisfying and well-rounded meal that celebrates the soup’s essence.
In this article, we’ll discuss a variety of side dishes that enhance your French onion soup dining experience. From bread-based options to light and refreshing counterparts, these suggestions will have you enjoying the perfect soup accompaniments in no time.
What Goes Good with French Onion Soup
French onion soup traditionally features melted cheese on top, so it’s essential to choose the perfect cheese. Gruyère and Parmesan are popular choices as they nicely complement the savory flavor of the onions. Mozzarella works well because it melts beautifully and creates that irresistible stretchy cheese pull. You can experiment with different cheese combinations to see which ones best suit your taste.
A crusty bread is a must when enjoying French onion soup. Embrace your inner gourmet by pairing your soup with a variety of bread options. For example, a classic grilled cheese sandwich made with mozzarella cheese makes a perfect companion. If you want a bit more crunch, try serving your soup with a croque monsieur, a delicious French ham and cheese sandwich.
Meat and Protein Choices
Enhance the hearty, meaty taste of your French onion soup with a selection of meats and proteins. Bacon adds a smokey flavor and pairs well as a topping, but you can also try deli favorites like prosciutto. For a healthier option, consider grilled chicken or a chicken pesto panini. Remember to add Worcestershire sauce to the soup to enhance its depth and umami notes.
Salad and Vegetable Sides
A classic green salad is a refreshing choice to pair with French onion soup. Arugula adds a peppery kick and blends well with other greens like lettuce. A Caesar salad, with its creamy dressing and crunchy croutons, complements the soup’s rich flavors.
For a more unique option, try the French bistro salad, which typically includes a variety of textures and flavors like crispy lardons, tangy goat cheese, and toasted nuts. Don’t hesitate to get creative with the ingredients.
Roasted vegetables with a touch of rosemary can make a delicious and healthy side dish to accompany your French onion soup. Popular options include carrots, Brussels sprouts, and parsnips.
Sautéed mushrooms are another great choice, as they enhance the savory flavors already present in the soup. Pair these vegetable sides with some crusty bread to soak up every last drop of broth. For a heartier meal, consider adding rotisserie chicken or seafood to the mix.
Wine and Drink Pairings
Red Wine Selections
For those who prefer red wine, lighter-bodied varieties are the way to go with French onion soup. Pinot Noir, with its fruity notes and mild tannins, makes for a delightful companion. Another option is a Beaujolais, which tends to have a lighter body and excellent acidity to cut through the richness of the soup.
White Wine Choices
French onion soup pairs exceptionally well with the fresh and crisp flavors of white wines. A classic choice would be a Chardonnay, which can bring a welcome brightness and minerality to the soup. Alternatively, an unoaked white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio can provide a refreshing contrast, helping to balance the savory flavors of the soup.
For those who don’t drink alcohol or simply want a non-alcoholic beverage option, there are several great alternatives. A cold and slightly sweet iced tea pairs well with the hearty flavors of the soup. Additionally, a tall glass of sparkling water with a lemon twist can add a subtle zing and a cleansing effect to the palate. Lastly, a warm herbal tea, such as chamomile or mint, can also be a comforting and satisfying option to enjoy with your French onion soup.
Soup and Broth Fundamentals
Building the Base
To create a delicious French onion soup, first, you need a flavorful broth. A rich beef broth is the traditional choice; however, chicken broth can be a lighter alternative. Homemade broth is the best, but store-bought can work in a pinch. A comforting base is key to enhancing the dish’s flavor profile.
Adding flavor to your soup can be achieved through various ingredients. Sautéing onions with butter and a touch of sugar helps to create a deep and sweet onion flavor. Make sure not to skip the thyme, as it adds a lovely herbaceous quality to the soup.
For richness and depth, stir in some dry white wine or dry sherry. Either of these options imparts a unique and complex flavor. If you’re using wine, a simple, dry variant is recommended, while sherry contributes warmth and depth.
Feel free to customize your French onion soup with additional ingredients to suit your preferences. Some ideas include:
- Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes, added during the sautéing process, provide a delightful tanginess.
- Peppers: Black or white pepper can bring heat, while bell peppers add a sweet, mild twist.
- Cream: A dollop of cream can elevate the soup’s texture and impart a creamy finish.
- Croutons: Serve with croutons made from crusty bread and topped with grated cheese, like Gruyère or Swiss, for an extra layer of crunch.
Serve your French onion soup alongside a variety of dishes like a classic BLT sandwich, Italian-dressed salad, or egg salad for a well-rounded meal.
Alternative Side Dish Ideas
When enjoying French Onion Soup, consider pairing it with hearty grains like wild rice, farro, or buttered noodles. These delicious options can be served as a standalone side or incorporated into a main course like a pork tenderloin or schnitzel. Adding caramelized onions, herbs, and spices such as bay leaves or chives helps create a complementary flavor profile.
Salmon makes a great partner for French Onion Soup as well. Serve it on a bed of flavorful grains and drizzle it with a creamy pesto sauce or Italian dressing. To enhance the salmon, consider adding avocado or grilled chicken pesto panini.
Garlic bread or grilled cheese sandwiches are classic sides to accompany French Onion Soup. Spice up these traditional choices by using different types of bread like a homemade French bread, sourdough bread bowl, or pull-apart bread. Add gourmet touches like prosciutto-wrapped asparagus or a bechamel sauce with gruyère cheese.
Protein-packed scallops can also be paired with the soup, topped with a unique sauce like mayonnaise mixed with pesto or sour cream with chives. Get creative with simple sides like a baked potato, enhancing it with toppings like melted dark chocolate and earthy spices. Enjoy!