top down view of a pot with freshly made saffron potato leek soup with rice.

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!


  • 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.

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