Meal prep magic: Make this French Onion Soup Pasta for dinner, then turn the leftovers into handpies for lunch

Aviva Wittenberg’s recipe ‘captures the essence’ of the classic soup — but with pasta and puff pastry.

Aviva Wittenberg’s recipe ‘captures the essence’ of the classic soup — but with pasta and puff pastry

side by side of 2 images. left: overhead shot of three handpies on a baking sheet, on top of a wire cooling rack, sitting on a marble surface. right: overhead shot of a bowl of short pasta topped with onions and cheese, sitting on a marble surface.
(Photography by Aviva Wittenberg)

This recipe is meal prep magic. It yields pasta for dinner or flaky handpies for a fancy packed lunch — or both. It’s Aviva Wittenberg’s French Onion Soup Pasta from her new cookbook, Lunchbox: 75+ Easy and Delicious Recipes for Lunches on the Go. In her intro to the chapter devoted to warm bowls and handpies, Wittenberg shares what she calls her “sales pitch” for a “2 for 1” method of making meals, encouraging readers to scale her recipes as needed, so they can do a little less cooking throughout the week and use the leftovers as filling for puff-pastry-enveloped handpies instead. “Don’t hesitate to double or triple these recipes as needed to feed everyone you share the dinner table with, and to have enough to transform into lunches the next day,” Wittenberg writes. We’re absolutely sold! Grab her handpies 101 here and scroll down for her soup-inspired pasta and handpie recipe.

French Onion Soup Pasta

By Aviva Wittenberg

I invariably come home from the supermarket with a bag of onions only to find that we already have two bags in the pantry, or I skip the onion aisle entirely because I am sure we have lots at home only to discover when I get back that there are none at all. This recipe takes care of two onions, for those times you find yourself with an abundance, and captures the essence of a bowl of French onion soup. 

Get ahead: Kitchen multitasking is my favorite kind of multitasking! Put a pot of water on to boil and cook your pasta while you are making the onions. Or, you can make both the pasta and the onion mixture in advance, and store in the fridge for up to 5 days (pasta) and 3 days (onions), then just throw everything into a pan in the morning to quickly heat up.

overhead shot of a bowl of short pasta topped with onions and cheese, sitting on a marble surface
(Photography by Aviva Wittenberg)


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper


  • 1 cup grated gruyère plus more for serving
  • 3 cups cooked pasta
  • 1 cup chickpeas


  • 1 cup grated gruyère
  • 1 recipe Handpies 101


1. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the sliced onions and sage and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and started to brown. Add the sliced garlic and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant and cooked through. Add the vinegar—it will bubble enthusiastically—and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.

2. Bowls: Add the cheese, pasta, and chickpeas to the pan and toss to combine. Add a splash of water if your pasta looks a bit fry. Serve warm (see Packing Tip), topped with more grated cheese just before serving.

3. Handpies: Let the onions cool down, then stir in the cheese. Let the filling cool down as you prepare the pastry and set things up to bake. 

Packing Tip: Pack the pasta in a pre-warmed thermos or microwavable container to be heated at lunchtime. This rich and unctuous warm meal is perfect paired with a light green salad dressed with a simple vinaigrette.

Makes 2 bowls or 4 handpies.

Excerpted from Lunchbox by Aviva Wittenberg. Copyright © 2022 Aviva Wittenberg. Photography © 2022 Aviva Wittenberg. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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