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

Add the broth, cauliflower, and carrot; 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.

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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