Basque Garlic Soup

Basque Garlic Soup

This is an adaptation of the celebrated Basque soup, replacing the stale bread with potatoes to make it gluten-free. Given the eggs, it’s obviously not vegan, but it is one of the most delicious and fortifying soups you will find – perfect if you have a cold. Use a whole head of fresh garlic, and the best paprika you can find – Spanish Pimentón de la Vera is best for this soup, closely followed by genuine Hungarian smoked paprika.

Prep time is 30 minutes, cooking time is 30 minutes, so about an hour from start to finish; this quantity serves 6-8.


One head (about 12 large cloves) crushed garlic – use fresh, not bottled
2 russet potatoes, cut in half and then in ¼” slices
1 heaped Tbsp smoked paprika – sweet or hot, according to taste
2-4 Tbsp good olive oil, as required
6 cups vegan or vegetarian broth, warmed
½ tsp sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
A handful of Italian flat-leaf parsley, minced
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
3 eggs, beaten

Optional garnish: piment d’espelette


1.   Heat 1 Tbsp of oil over low heat in a covered heavy cast iron pan such as Le Creuset. Add half the crushed garlic and sautée gently for 3-5 minutes. Don’t let it brown!

2.   Add the potato and smoked paprika; cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.

3.   Add the broth, the sherry, and the rest of the garlic. Bring to a bare simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes until the potatoes are very soft.

4.   Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and flat-leaf parsley.

5.   Five minutes before you’re ready to serve, gently bring the soup to just below the simmer, stirring slowly as you add the beaten eggs. Take off the heat, and serve as soon as the eggs are cooked but still soft. If desired, garnish with a sprinkle of piment d’espelette.

Variation: If you can cope with wheat, omit the potatoes, and add four ounces of high-quality baguette. Slice the bread, brush with oil, and toast in a hot oven for 20-25 minutes until brown. Break into two-inch pieces, and add at the same time as the broth. Simmer for 20 minutes. The soup can be prepared up to this point and stored for 2-3 days in the fridge. When ready to serve, bring gently to the simmer, take off the heat, add the eggs and stir gently; serve hot.

Click HERE for the downloadable .pdf file.