Is Low Carb French Onion Soup Good For You?

French onion soup is basically low-carb except for French bread. You might wonder if low carb French onion soup is healthy. A Keto-friendly version includes ingredients like butter, cheese, and herbs/spices.

Low Carb French Onion Soup

Are you a fan of French onion soup? This is a classic dish feature in French cuisine. A basic recipe includes lots of hearty ingredients like onions, cheeses, and herbs/spices. Nearly all of the traditional ingredients are low-carb. The main exception is slices of French bread.  Fun Fact: French onion soup’s roots date back 8,000+ years ago to ancient Rome. There are several variations but the main features of the soup are the hearty texture and blend of several flavors. For example, the soup can contain Parmesan, Swiss, and provolone cheeses. This provides different tastes and thick texture. Even low carb french onion soup combines the cheese with ingredients like onions and thyme.

The French bread is the main ingredient that makes the soup Keto-unfriendly. For example, one slice of French bread has 11g of carbs. That’s nearly one-quarter allowed for a whole day on the Keto or Atkins diets. There’s no doubt that bread can be healthy. However, there’s the issue that wheat flour is high-carb. If you’re carb-counting then it’s critical to watch the carbs of every food you consume. The good news is you can tweak the recipe to make it low-carb. This can help you stay in the state of ketosis so you’ll get energy from fat.  

What Exactly Is French Onion Soup?

This is a classic soup that’s comfort food for many people. Onions have been part of human cuisine for thousands of years. They’re an ideal food because they grow easily, store well, and add flavor.  

It’s unknown when this soup was “invented.” However, one popular theory is a King Louis first made it after a hunting trip.  The story is that the French king made it at a hunting lodge he only found onions, bread, and champagne in the kitchen cupboards.

Another popular theory about the soup’s origins dates back to the 1700s and the town Champagne, which was the hometown of canning’s inventor. The story goes that one of Poland’s ex-kings stopped to visit his daughter who was also King Louis XV’s wife. It’s believed the ex-King learned the soup’s recipe.

Nearly all of the ingredients of the classic soup are low-carb. They include:

  • Beef/chicken stock
  • Onions
  • Butter
  • Cheese (Parmesan, provolone, Swiss)
  • Red wine

The soup is often topped using bits of French bread or toasted croutons. This is one of the main tweaks to make the hearty soup low-carb. More on that later.

The soup can be served in various ways. This can include a large pot or small containers known as “ramekins.” one of the keys to the soup is making the cheese bubbling/toasty. The combination of different cheese also provides the perfect blend of flavors.

\This soup is so flexible you can make a vegetarian/vegan version. Simply swap out the beef stock and use heavy veggie stock. If you want to make the soup free of all animal products then just swap out the dairy cheese and swap in tofu cheese.

When ordering this soup in France or high-end French restaurants you probably won’t see “French onion soup” on the menu. Look for “Soupe à l’oignon Gratineé.” This is especially important when you get a French menu.

Low Carb French Onion Soup

The main high-carb ingredients in French onion soup are the French bread (11g of carbs/slice) or croutons (74g of carbs/serving) Both of these figures are quite high if you’re on Keto or Atkins, for example. Both of these diets only allow 50g of carbs for the whole day.

Here are the main ingredients found in the low-carb bread-free version of French onion soup:                                                                                                                                                 

OILS/FAT

The main ones include olive oil and butter. These are both high in healthy fat. Olive oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which is a healthy fat also found in foods like fatty fish, avocados, and nuts/seeds. Olive oil is easily one of the healthiest plant-based oils along with other options like coconut oil.

Is butter healthy? this is a complete protein that includes all essential amino acids (EAAs) people must get from food and supplements. While people often refer to butter as “heavy” it’s 100% healthier than margarine. For example, consider that unhealthy trans-fat was invented for “tub margarine.” The main difference is margarine is oil-based and butter is milk-based.

CHEESES

The actual blend of cheese used in the onion soup varies based on different recipes. However, the main takeaway is they’re low-carb. So, you won’t have to worry about getting kicked out of the state of ketosis. Cheese is full of healthy fats, calcium, and Vitamin D. It’s a healthy dairy product that’s another complete protein.

HERBS/SPICES

These are all low-carb and super-healthy. Some options besides the onions include garlic, black pepper, and thyme. They’re all full of various vitamins and minerals even though they’re small plants. Thyme is one of the classic herbs included while the main ingredient of the soup is the onions.

BONE BROTH

This is a Paleo-friendly food that’s also low-carb. The healthiest bone broth takes 12 to 24 hours to make since it’s simmered for up to a day.

Is French Bread Unhealthy?

This is a complicated issue to take up if you’re on a low-carb diet. It depends on various factors. For example, multi-grain bread like Ezekiel bread is complete proteins. This one includes three gluten grains including wheat and barley and two sprouted beans.

Another issue about whether bread is healthy or not is based on if it’s whole or refined grains. For example, whole wheat bread is much healthier than white bread. It’s still made in a factory. However, it includes grains that haven’t been highly processed like white bread. This greatly boosts the bread’s nutritional value.

French bread like others is healthier if it’s made from whole grains. You can notice the difference because the bread tastes heartier and healthier. This variety might be tougher to find in supermarkets and bakeshops but is worth considering if you want to enjoy more nutrients like vitamins and minerals.

The main issue when on a low-carb diet is your total daily carbs. Both whole and refined flour versions are high-carb. A basic French onion soup includes four slices of French bread, which is 44g of carbs. That’s nearly your total for a whole day on Keto.

This is the main issue when picking ingredients for Keto cooking. Many foods are super-healthy but are also high-carb. They include:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Corn
  • Apples
  • Wheat
  • Turnips
  • Oranges

There’s some debate about whether you should avoid such foods just because they have lots of carbs. However, if you’re on diets like Keto or Atkins you’ll have to limit your daily carbs.

If you want to still enjoy bread you can go with low-carb options. One of the most popular Keto-friendly options is Cloud Bread, which is made with ingredients like coconut flour, butter, and sour cream. This allows you to enjoy Keto-friendly food like low carb french onion soup.

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