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Saffron Potato Leek Soup + Fried Garlic & Almonds

Saffron Potato Leek Soup with rice, fried garlic, and almonds is a delicious twist on potato leek soup! It’s wonderfully hearty, gluten-free and vegan!

top down view of saffron potato leek soup in a bowl with spoon and items surrounded by items.

Add saffron, a little rice, fried garlic, and almonds to potato soup to take it to a new level! It’s super hearty, easy to make, and customizable.

This saffron potato leek soup will have you smelling the finest aromas right from the get-go. Open the windows and let the neighbors get a whiff of this aromatic soup you have going.

Recipe adapted from Food 52 Anya von Bremzen’s Potato Soup with Fried Almonds. I changed up the recipe a little making it vegan while adding rice and leeks.

top down view of ingredients used to make potato leek soup with saffron and rice.

Ingredient Notes

Here’s what you’ll need, along with tips and suggestions for each ingredient.

  • Potatoes: Use waxy potatoes – red, white, or Yukon gold. Russet potatoes are okay, too, if you prefer.
  • Leeks: The original recipe doesn’t call for any type of onion, so feel free to omit the leeks.
  • Rice: Use your favorite long-grain rice – basmati, jasmine, or another long-grain rice. Brown rice would work, too, but you’ll need to adjust cooking times according to the rice used. If you prefer not to use rice, reduce the liquids as noted in the recipe card below.
  • Almonds: You can use almonds with or without the skins. I’ve made this before using whole raw almonds, and it was delicious, too, if you don’t mind the skins softening up in the soup. This time around, I used slivered almonds, which were great as well and easier to chop.
  • Saffron: I buy saffron from Trader Joe’s for $5 or so, it contains a good amount. I hope you will have access to this price since it can be fairly pricey in the general stores, upwards of $15 to $20. It really pairs well with all the other ingredients, leaving your house smelling wonderful. I also imagine it will taste just as good without it, so feel free to be flexible and attempt this without the saffron if need be.
  • Vegetable broth: I use 1 teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base (affiliate link) with the water called for in this recipe. It adds lots of flavor without too much sodium and the jar lasts a long time!
  • Salt & Pepper. My favorite salt is pink mineral salt (affiliate link) which naturally contains essential minerals and trace elements the body needs. Season to taste with your favorite salt and pepper.
  • Olive Oil: Use your favorite neutral-flavored oil.
  • Vinegar: Sherry, white, or red wine vinegar will all do well. Apple cider vinegar would be ok too. The vinegar adds a nice brightness.
  • Parsley: For a pop of color and freshness parsley is always delicious!
side by side photos showing the process of making fried almond and garlic.

How To Make Saffron Potato Leek Soup

  • Start by frying the almonds and garlic in a heavy-bottomed pan until golden and fragrant (see photo above left). Remove them from the pan and let them cool.
  • Chop the garlic and almond mixture (above right), or process in a blender or food processor to desired consistency. Set aside. I like mine to be on the chunky side and it’s one less thing to wash. :)
side by side photos showing the process of making saffron potato leek soup recipe.
  • Slice the leeks and remove any dirt and debris in between the layers.
  • Cut the potatoes into irregular chunks by using the tip of a knife to dig into the potato and twist. Pieces should be about 1 to 1 1/2 inches (above left).
  • Saute the leeks, add the potatoes, rice, and liquids. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.
side by side photos showing the process of making saffron potato leek soup.
  • When the potatoes are fork tender, add the saffron to a small bowl along with 2 tablespoons of soup broth and let it seep for 2 minutes. Add the saffron to the soup.
  • In a small bowl, add the chopped nut mixture and vinegar, and toss to mix.
  • Add the nut mixture, reserving a little for garnish, and parsley to the soup (as shown below). Stir to combine.

And there you have it, pair with homemade crusty artisan bead or soft vegan naan and enjoy!

top down view of adding almonds and garlic to soup.

How To Store + Reheat

  • Refrigerator: Leftovers can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for 5 – 6 days.
  • Freezer: This soup freezes well for 2 – 3 months! My favorite way to freeze soup is in individual serving sizes using freezer-safe containers (affiliate link). You can also freeze larger portions in large ziplock bags or containers. Let thaw before reheating.
  • Reheat: Simply re-warm on the stovetop over low heat or in the microwave using 30-second intervals, stirring in between intervals, until warm.
top down view of a pot with freshly made saffron potato leek soup with rice.

More Soup Recipes You’ll Love!

If you try this saffron potato soup recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.



5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

A hearty and unusual potato leek soup using saffron, fried garlic and almonds. It’s a wonderfully flavored soup and will make your home smell delicious too!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Vegansita
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 50 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4 – 6 1x
  • Category: Entree, Soup
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: Vegan, American


  • 2 pounds organic yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 small leeks, sliced and any dirt removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup raw slivered almonds
  • 46 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups water or vegetable broth, + more as needed
  • 1/2 cup rice (basmati or jasmine rice)
  • 1 pinch saffron, partially crushed
  • mineral salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or red/white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, minced


Potatoes: Cut potatoes into irregular chunks by inserting the tip of a small, sharp knife into a potato and twisting until a 1 1/2 chunk comes out. Repeat until the entire potato is cut up, than continue with the remaining potatoes, set aside. You can also just roughly chop the potatoes into 1 1/2 inch chunks. Peeling is optional.

Fried Almonds + Garlic: Heat oil in a heavy pot over medium heat, add almonds and garlic, cooking, stirring frequently until golden, 3 – 4 minutes. Transfer the almonds and garlic to a bowl to cool slightly. In a food processor, place the garlic and almonds, pulse until desired texture. I left mine fairly course. You can also simply mince them with a knife. Add all but 2 tablespoons to the soup. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste.

Saute: Add leeks and a 2 tablespoons of water to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes.

Simmer: Add potatoes, vegetable broth and rice, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 40 to 45 minutes.

Saffron: Remove a few tablespoons of soup from the pot and place in a small bowl, add saffron and let steep for 2 minutes, add to the soup. Add a little more water or broth if the soup seems to thick and continue to cook.

Add remaining ingredients: Add the vinegar to the reserved ground almond mixture and stir in the soup. Add the parsley and cook for a minute. Taste for seasonings, adding a little more salt and vinegar if necessary. 

Serve with dense whole grain or artisan bread or naan bread.

Store: Leftover can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 – 5 days. Keep longer in the freezer, up to 2 – 3 months.


If using almonds with the skin, just know that the skins will fall off in the soup. For me this is not an issue (I like the added fiber) but if you’re serving for company you may consider using blanched almonds.

How to make without rice: Reduce the liquids to 4 cups, adding more as needed. When soup is done, if you’d like it a little creamier, mash a few of the potato pieces with the back of a spoon.

Slow Cooker: Add the leeks, potatoes, rice and liquids to the bowl of your slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 4 – 5 hours or HIGH for 3 – 4 hours. Fry the almonds and garlic according to directions and continue with the recipe add the mixture and saffron at the end of cooking.

Recipe adapted from Food 52 Anya von Bremzen’s Potato Soup with Fried Almonds.

RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT: I have been loving this Staub braiser (affiliate link) you see in the photos, 5 stars for ease and clean up! It’s my new favorite for everyday cooking – soups, fried tofu, skillet potatoes, etc.

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  1. Omg this was AMAZING!! Can’t wait to make it again and again. Thank you!

  2. Hey Julie, is the fried garlic+almond mixture meant to be added after the soup has cooked for 45 minutes? Or after? Thank you xx

  3. juodaavis says:

    I just tried this recipe, I did it a bit my way, I don't have a processor, so I chopped almonds by hand, also added basil and some masala spice, but it worked just fine. Came out very deliciuos! Thank you for sharing the recipe!

    1. Your welcome. Sounds like a great combination and a good idea with the almonds! Delicious :)

  4. What an original Soup! Fried almonds wow!

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