This soup is as vibrant as Spring! Chewy barley, crisp asparagus and peas are nestled in a broth packed with umami-rich soy sauce and miso. Punches of fresh ginger and vinegar give this soup a “pop” of flavor. Feel free to swap in other vegetables like leeks and hearty greens or sliced turnips and snap peas. For more protein, add cubed soft or firm tofu, or stir a beaten egg into the pot as you would for hot and sour soup.
YIELD: 4 servings
TIME: 45 minutes
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, coconut oil or olive oil
6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
¾ cup pearled barley
1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus more to taste (sub low sodium soy sauce)
1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), tough ends trimmed, stalks thinly sliced 1/4-inch thick, tips left whole
1 cup fresh or frozen shelled peas, edamame or fava beans
3 tablespoons yellow or white miso
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (about 1 tablespoon)
In a large pot or Dutch oven, add the oil and garlic, and heat over medium. Cook, stirring, until fragrant and softened but not browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Add 6 cups of water, the barley and 2 teaspoons soy sauce. Bring to a boil over high, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until the barley is tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
Add the asparagus and peas, and cook until bright green and crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, stir a spoonful of the soup into the miso until dissolved. Pour into the pot, along with the rice vinegar, ginger and remaining 1 teaspoon soy sauce; stir to combine.
Taste for salt level and adjust with more soy sauce. (Leftovers will keep for up to 2 days; rewarm over low heat, thin with water, and add vinegar and soy sauce to taste.)