Today, we will look at a traditional Italian recipe with a long history. We will be making Carabaccia, the classic Tuscan onion soup. While many people know and love French onion soup, this Italian version is somewhat less popular. It tastes quite different, but it is delicious too! If you are a fan of onion soups, make sure to give this recipe a try!
Carabaccia dates back to Renaissance times and is said to be a favourite of Leonardo da Vinci. Understandably, the soup is super tasty. It features an interesting mix of caramelised onions, a slight tang of white wine vinegar, and a depth of flavour from nutmeg and cinnamon. A sprinkle of vegan parmesan substitute gives it the final touch. It is easy to make, and the ingredients are cheap. In my opinion, this soup makes a delightful starter dish! Let’s dive right in.
Ingredients for this Carabaccia Recipe:
Unsurprisingly, you will need tons of red onions for this soup. Try to choose a mild and fragrant variety. If you can get your hands on the traditional Cipolla di Certaldo, that’s the top pick. As they are a local variety, I simply used Italian Cipolla di Rosso, which tasted fantastic too. But you should be getting a delicious soup with other kinds of red onions as well!
As liquids, you will need white wine vinegar and vegetable stock. For the best outcome, we are making our vegetable stock following this vegetable stock recipe, using the waste parts of the ingredients that go into our soup. Furthermore, I added celery, carrots, garlic, and parsley stems to the stock.
Also, you will need stale bread. Traditionally, the soup is prepared with Pane Sciocco, a local Tuscan saltless bread. As I couldn’t get my hands on that, I used Ciabatta for this version, which tasted delicious as well.
Traditional recipes call for almonds and cinnamon in this soup. I omit the almonds, as I am not a fan of their consistency in the soup. Next, you need some white wine for this recipe. Lastly, I like to include a pinch of cane sugar and nutmeg to balance the flavours.
Lastly, the soup is traditionally made with Parmigiano Reggiano. We want to substitute some of that flavour by using our homemade vegan parmesan substitute, so make sure you have the ingredients for that (cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, turmeric powder, and garlic powder) on hand as well.
How to make Carabaccia:
Firstly, I like to get the onions ready. Peek the onions, wash the peel and set it aside for making the vegetable stock.
Next, I like to get started with making vegetable stock. Heat a pot, and add the carrots, onion ends, crushed garlic cloves, parsley stems, and celery. Sauté the carrots and garlic, then top with water and bring to a simmer. Add the skins of the onion, celery, and parsley stems, stir gently and bring to a simmer.
While the broth simmers, let’s get ready to make the soup. Slice the onions as thinly and evenly as possible. Using a mandoline for even and fine cuts works best.
Next, add a generous sip of olive oil to your pot. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, and sauté the onion. Keep the temperature low, and gently caramelise the onion. During this stage, the onions will develop a nice sweetness. Don’t rush this process. It should take around an hour.
While the soup is simmering, you can make your vegan parmesan substitute if you don’t have it on hand. You can follow the instructions in the linked recipe.
Deglaze the pot with white wine vinegar, and add your vegetable stock using a ladle and a sieve. Add the cinnamon stick and nutmeg. Now, the soup can gently simmer for another half an hour.
Season the soup with salt and pepper, cane sugar, and more nutmeg and cinnamon if needed. I like to add about half of the parmesan substitute to the soup and keep the rest for garnishing.
A last check for seasoning, and that’s it.
Plating the Carabaccia:
First, lay down a slice of your stale bread in your bowl. Top with soup. Furthermore, you can add a sprinkle of your parmesan substitute over the plated soup. Now you can enjoy this vegan spin on a Tuscan classic. Let me know what you think, and enjoy!
Some more Recipe Inspirations:
If you like Italian-inspired recipes, give these beautiful dishes a look. You could have this delicious Carabaccia as a starter before enjoying some delicious:
- Spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino
- Panzanella is a delicious summer salad.
- A creamy borlotti bean pasta
- A delicious vegan lasagna
- This impressive-looking layered risotto.
If you want to check out some more soup recipes, these are some of my favourites:
- This vibrant red beet soup is beautiful and healthy.
- This roasted garlic soup is fragrant and delicious.
- Peppery parsnip soup is so sweet and creamy.
- The same goes for this easy pumpkin soup, it’s super easy to cook and so tasty!
Let me know what you think, and enjoy!
Carabaccia (Italian Onion Soup)Course: Starter, SoupsCuisine: Italian, TuscanDifficulty: Medium
- First, prepare your vegetable stock. You can start simmering a homemade stock or use a storebought.
- Slice the onions as thinly and evenly as possible. Using a mandoline for even and fine cuts works best.
- Add a generous sip of olive oil to your pot. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, and sauté the onion. Keep the temperature low, and gently caramelise the onion. This process should take around an hour.
- Deglaze the pot with white wine vinegar, and add your vegetable stock using a ladle and a sieve. Add the cinnamon stick and nutmeg. Now, the soup can gently simmer for another half an hour.
- Season the soup with salt and pepper, cane sugar, and more nutmeg and cinnamon if needed. I like to add about half of the parmesan substitute to the soup and keep the rest for garnishing.
- Lay down a slice of your stale bread in your bowl. Top with soup. You can add a sprinkle of your parmesan substitute over the plated soup.