Spring Vegetable Soup with Barley

Zuppa d’Orzo alle Verdure


A delicate-tasting, quick, and delicious spring vegetable soup.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Total time from start to finish: hours


  • ½ medium yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces small zucchini
  • 4 ounces carrots
  • 6 ounces green beans
  • 12 ounces large red potatoes
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cups homemade meat broth or ½ each beef and chicken bouillon cube dissolved in 5 cups water
  • ½ cup pearl barley
  • 12 fresh basil leaves


  1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Put it with the olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion turns a rich golden color, about 5 minutes.
  2. While the onion is sautéing, cut the zucchini into ½-inch dice. Peel the carrots and cut into ½-inch dice. Snap or cut off the ends of the green beans and cut into ½-inch lengths. Peel the potatoes and cut into ½-inch dice.
  3. When the onion is done, add the vegetables to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat so that the broth simmers, then cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to lift out about half of the vegetables and purée in a food mill or food processor. Return the puréed vegetables to the pot. Bring the soup back to a simmer and add the barley. Cook, covered, for 20 minutes.
  5. Coarsely shred the basil with a knife and add it to the soup. Cook until the barley is tender, about 10 minutes. Serve at once.