Cauliflower Cheese Soup with Paprika
This Cauliflower Cheese Soup is thick and gently-flavoured. It is the perfect comfort food on colder days. The mild taste of the cauliflower is given a lift from the addition of warm spicy paprika and tangy cheese. If you like eating cauliflower cheese, this has the same comforting and sustaining flavour but in the form of a soup.
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I learned to love cauliflower in a cheese sauce fairly late in life. Overcooked and soggy versions, in a watery sauce, were a regular feature of lunches at my school. At home, my mother cooked cauliflower Sicilian-style – al dente with onions and tomatoes. I was about eight before I realised it was the same vegetable as the mushy white stuff I got at school.
Now I cook cauliflower both ways. I still cook it Sicilian-style, lightly cooked in a rich onion and tomato sauce, sometimes with the addition of pine nuts and raisins. (My mum struggled to get hold of pine nuts in England in the 1970s…) However, Cauliflower Cheese is a regular supper staple and cauliflower in white sauce (same recipe but without the cheese) often accompanies a Sunday roast. For me, the key that runs through all these recipes is not to overcook the cauliflower!
What you need to know about making this Cauliflower Cheese Soup recipe
- First off, it is a very quick and simple recipe. You can go from raw ingredients to a bowl of comforting soup in 20 minutes. Unlike many of my soups, it doesn’t involve roasting or slow frying the vegetables in order to bring out their flavour.
- It is really important not to overcook the cauliflower (step 1) as it will be cooked again when the soup is warmed up.
- The basis of this soup is a basic white sauce. If you have never made one before this can seem a bit daunting but it is really simple as you will see from step 2 in the recipe. Being able to make a white sauce is a really useful cooking skill and can be used in all sorts of recipes such as Macaroni Cheese and Lasagne.
- I add paprika to my recipe as I think this adds just the right amount of warm spiciness to the soup. Smoked paprika would also be a good option. If you really want to spice things up a bit, you could add half a teaspoon of cayenne. Alternatively, if you are not a big fan of spice, you can just leave it out.
- Use a good flavoured cheese (step 3). I use an extra-mature cheddar but any strong, hard cheese will do. You need to have that tangy cheese taste to highlight the flavour of the cauliflower.
How can I use this soup?
I make a batch of this soup and eat it for lunches during the week. It is quite filling and, although you could have some bread or a roll with it, it really doesn’t need it. It is a great soup to take in a flask if you are going for a long walk or doing any strenuous outdoor activity because it is so thick and sustaining.
If you are feeding a crowd, Cauliflower Cheese Soup is a good option as most people seem to like it. You can make it in advance and then quickly re-heat.
You could have this soup as a starter for a more formal meal. However, I would only use it if you were having a light main course.
Other easy vegetarian soup recipes
I have lots of easy, vegetarian soup recipes. If you like this Onion Soup you might like some of the others. All my soups are vegetarian and all can be made vegan by substituting animal fats, such as butter, for vegetable fats. Some of them are pretty simple such as Onion Soup with Sage, Leek and Potato Soup, Nettle Soup, Fennel Soup, Jerusalem Artichoke Soup or Sweetcorn Chowder and showcase a single vegetable.
Others combine vegetables which have complimentary flavours such as Curried Parsnip and Apple Soup, Moroccan Spiced Sweet Potato Soup, Celeriac and Apple Soup, Mushroom and Chestnut Soup, Pumpkin and Sweetcorn Soup or Leek and Potato Soup. A few have more unusual combinations of flavours such as Beetroot Soup with Coconut or Butternut and Peanut Butter Soup. I also have a few chilled soup recipes, which are fantastic cold in the summer, but can also be served warm such as Asparagus and Pea and Tomato.
Recipe for Cauliflower Cheese Soup with PaprikaPrint
This Cauliflower Cheese Soup is thick and gently-flavoured with the mild taste of the cauliflower being lifted by the addition of warm spicy paprika and tangy cheese.
- 1 medium sized cauliflower
- Salt and pepper
- 50 g (2 oz) butter
- 50 g (2 oz) flour
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- 750 ml (1.5 pint) milk plus up to 350 ml (12 fl oz) to thin the soup if required
- 100 g strong hard cheese (eg Cheddar)
- Break the cauliflower into florets. Heat a large pan of water to boiling point. Add the florets together with a pinch of salt and simmer for approximately 7 minutes. Drain and set the florets aside.
- In a separate pan, melt the butter and then add the flour and paprika. Stir to combine and then cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the pan from the heat and gradually stir in the milk. Return the pan to the stove and heat gently until the sauce thickens.
- Grate the cheese and add it to the sauce together with the cooked cauliflower florets.
- Blend the soup until smooth using a hand blender or food processor.
- Add up to 250 ml of milk to thin the soup to your desired consistency.
Keywords: cauliflower, cheese