Healthy Paprika-Spiced Cauliflower Soup – this is a staple in Hungarian cuisine and called Karfiolleves.  [4-6 servings]

 Based on Saveur's Karfiolleves

[ View related blog post ]

Getting Ready:

  • coarsely chop onion

  • cut head of cauliflower into bite-sized florets

  • finely chop medium carrot


  1. I make the dumplings first and refrigerate until needed.

  2. While the onions are cooking, prepare the vegetables.

  3. Make ahead: You can prep all vegetables the day before if you wish.

  4. Make ahead; You can make the soup a day ahead - some might say it tastes even better the next day.


1 large yellow onion
4 TB unsalted butter

1.5 TB Hungarian Paprika or 2-3 TB paprika cream (sweet or hot)

The original recipe suggests a fine chop, but a more coarse chop works / is rustic. Melt the butter in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat, and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent. This might take 5-10 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in paprika (this must not burn).

6 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
1 small head cauliflower, large stem removed, cut into florets
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped (at least 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped parsnip (optional)

parsley (chopped) for garnish
sour cream

Add the broth, cauliflower, and carrot (and parsnip if using); season with pepper, and bring to a gentle boil.  Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Serve garnished with parsley and a dollop of sour cream.

The key to this soup is adding the little soup dumplingsClick here for that recipe - ideal if you make this step one, and refrigerate the dough until needed.. 

Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you have used salted butter and/or high sodium broth - be careful with the salt. Taste before adding. You can always add more but you can't take it out.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of chopped parsley can be added as a garnish.  

This stores well for a few days - if it lasts that long. You can add some water or broth if it becomes too thick after being refrigerated.

Notes and Tips...

  • Onions - These days I do a more coarse chop – rustic style. Don't rush the sauté stage - the onions become sweeter as they become soft and translucent - if they start to burn you can rescue them by adding a bit of water; don't add water right at the beginning because then you end up with steamed onions and sacrifice flavour.

  • Butter - always best to use unsalted in cooking and then you can adjust and control the seasoning later. In a pinch you can use salted butter, but if you are also using broth with a high salt content, you may not need to add any additional salt at all.

  • Paprika - though the recipe calls for hot paprika, most people will use "sweet" Hungarian paprika - this means it is not hot/spicy. Some Delis now sell paprika cream in a tube - "csemege" is sweet; "csipos" is hot. If using paprika cream, the quantity you add will be a bit more - add a bit at a time and taste as you go along. You can add a portion of hot paprika if you want just a bit of a spicy kick. [Read more]

  • Broth / Bouillon - if using vegetable stock this will be suitable for vegetarians.

  • Vegetables - I sometimes add a very small parsnip, cleaned and cubed. It will change the flavour a bit, but should still be tasty. Add too much parsnip and you may not taste the cauliflower.

  • Cauliflower - this is a great vegetable enjoying a comeback. In some recipes you can simply slice through the head, but in this case you need to break / cut it into spoon-sized florets. If you are rushed, this may seem tedious. Consider doing that the day before! It stores well in the fridge in a closed container.


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