Spring Barley Soup

Spring Barley Soup

This soup is as cozy as mushroom-barley soup and as vibrant as spring. Chewy barley, crisp asparagus and peas lay in a broth bolstered by umami-rich soy sauce and miso. Hits of fresh ginger and vinegar enliven the mix. Feel free to swap in other vegetables that catch your eye: Add leeks and hearty greens with the barley, and quicker-cooking vegetables like sliced turnips or snap peas with the asparagus. For more protein, add cubed soft or firm tofu to bowls, or stir a beaten egg into the pot as you would for hot and sour soup.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    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.
  2. Step 2

    Add the asparagus and peas, and cook until bright green and crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
  3. Step 3

    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.)