This light and airy soup is as fresh as the season. The barley helps to refresh and serves as a tonic to the liver, so we move easily from cold to warm weather without discomfort. And since it cooks quickly, you can make healthy soup on the busiest of days!
MAKES 4-5 SERVINGS
1 tablespoon extra- virgin olive oil
1 small leek, split lengthwise, rinsed free of dirt, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 cups sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
2 new potatoes, unpeeled, diced, do not peel
1 small zucchini, diced
½ cup pearled barley, rinsed well
4 cups spring or filtered water
2 tablespoons sweet white miso
Several leaves fresh dandelion, coarsely chopped
Grated zest of 1 fresh lemon
Place oil and leek in a soup pot over medium heat. When the leek begins to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in carrots, and a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms and, a pinch of salt and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in potatoes and, a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in zucchini and, a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 minute. Add barley and water and bring to a boil.
Cover; reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the barley is soft. Remove a small amount of broth and dissolve miso. Stir back into soup and simmer (do not boil) for 3-4 minutes more. Stir in dandelion and lemon zest just before serving.