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Asparagus and Barley Soup with Lemon and Dill

4 to 6 Servings

50 minutes

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Barley soups tend to be heavy and stodgy, but this one is light and bright with asparagus, lemon and dill. We use a few tablespoons of butter to sauté a shallot and create a flavor base with just enough richness to yield a satisfying soup in which each ingredient holds its own. The barley requires about 35 minutes of simmering to become tender; this is a good time to prep both the asparagus and the dill. Leftover soup will thicken because of the barley; add water or broth during heating to thin it.

4 to 6



Don’t cover the pot during simmering. Allowing some evaporation helps concentrate the flavors for a richer-tasting soup. Also, be sure to taste the barley to gauge its doneness before adding the asparagus. The grain should be tender before the asparagus goes in because once it does, the soup needs only a few more minutes to cook.

50 minutes


  • 3

    tablespoons salted butter

  • 1

    medium shallot, minced


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Loretta P.
March 31, 2023
Great Soup!
Absolutely delicious and perfect for a cold rainy Toronto spring day. I would reduce or omit the lemon juice next time.
Carol N.
April 1, 2023
A great “shoulder season” soup
Delicious! I added a large square of Parmesan rind to the broth while the barley was cooking. It added just the right amount of umami. A little fresh grated Parmesan at serving was nice also.
Marilyn B.
January 31, 2023
Just ok.
5/11/22: This was ok. Not great but ... well ... just ok. It is cold and damp on the Cape today, so this did taste like Spring in a hot soup.