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Garlic and Rice Soup

This garlic and rice soup is a twist on sopa de ajo, the hot garlic-rich comfort soup from Spain. 

Garlic and Rice Soup

It’s been perfect snowmaking temperature, below zero every morning, for the last ten days. It’s dark when its time to rise and dark before dinner. What we need is hot soup. I vote for this one that’s made with a WHOLE LOT of garlic!!

Now, don’t be thinking you’ll have garlic breath for a week–this soup simmers long and slowly, which converts garlic’s fiery punch into buttery smooth heaven.


garlic for Garlic and Rice Soup

I made this garlic soup last autumn with orzo and leeks in place of rice and onions. If you have leeks, sauté them and skip the onions–the variation is just as delicious.

ingredients for Garlic and Rice Soup

The rice is Arborio, risotto rice, short and fat, with plenty of starch for creamy risotto or soup.

Before the ground froze solid, fresh herbs were abundant, and they went into the mix. In ski season dried herbs are fine. (There’s nothing like a vegetable garden, even when it arrives in a farm share CSA box, for keeping a kitchen abundant in greens and herbs.)

smashed garlic for Garlic and Rice Soup

Silvery purple-skinned hardneck garlic with a potent bite, ripe and ready for a gentle mellowing–I’ve been hoarding it on a hidden shelf in the garage. To easily remove the skins, smash with the side of a chef’s knife– the papery skin is then easy to peel away.

onion for Garlic and Rice Soup

I keep forgetting to use the Aleppo pepper I bought earlier this year. I’m working on a new habit–to season soups, sauces, eggs or anything that calls for pepper, with this fairly mild and slightly fruity red pepper from the Mid-East. Aleppo pepper is perfect in garlic and rice soup, that’s for sure.

Making garlic croutons for Garlic and Rice Soup

Crispy croutons that expand in the broth, and a spoonful of grated sharp cheese, go in the bowl first. When you ladle in the broth, the fattened croutons float up to the top. If you wish, poach an egg for each serving—drop them on top just before serving.

grating Manchego cheese for Garlic and Rice Soup

Make it a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook something delicious!

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5 from 1 vote
Garlic and Rice Soup
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
17 mins
Total Time
27 mins

This hot fragrant garlic-rich soup is a twist on the comfort soup from Spain, sopa de ajo. 

Course: Soup
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Servings: 8 servings.
  • 2 heads garlic , separated into cloves and peeled
  • 9 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • Pinch saffron , optional
  • 2 decent pinches Aleppo pepper or freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 pinches dried sage
  • Pinch dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 onion , diced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 2 cups Garlic Croutons—see recipe below
  • 1/2 cup grated Manchego or other sharp cheese
*For the croutons:*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon Real Salt Organic Garlic Salt or 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 slices whole grain bread , cut in ¾-inch dice (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
For the soup:
  1. Add the garlic to the vegetable broth along with the saffron, if using, the pepper, cloves, sage, thyme, and oil. Stir in the rice kernels. Bring to a gentle boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for about one hour. While the soup is simmering, melt the butter in a skillet. On very low heat cook and stir the onions until they are very soft and translucent. Stir the sautéed onions into the broth. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt if needed.
  2. With a slotted spoon, pick out most the garlic, and the two cloves if you can find them. (After the long simmer, the garlic has given its essence to the soup. Discard the garlic, or reserve some for garlic-lovers to add back in.)
  3. To serve, put some croutons in the bottom of a soup bowl and sprinkle with the cheese. Ladle in the soup.
For the croutons:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the olive oil, garlic salt and paprika in a bowl, add the diced bread, and toss until well coated. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes.


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