Spring Vegetable Minestrone with Barley & Lemon-Ricotta Toasts

Spring Vegetable Minestrone

with Barley & Lemon-Ricotta Toasts

30 MIN
4 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

Minestrone is an ancient Italian dish. Recipes for it date back all the way to the 1st Century CE. And there’s a reason it continues to stick around: it’s an incredibly satisfying combination of grains and vegetables, simmered to tender perfection. Our version features spring asparagus, leek and sugar snap peas, along with barley and authentic seasonings. And for a delicious finishing touch, we’re cooling the hearty soup with a dollop of lemon-dressed ricotta, which we’re also spreading onto a crispy side of baguette toasts.

See Plans
  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    610 Cals (est.)
fresh
ingredients
Spring Vegetable Minestrone with Barley & Lemon-Ricotta Toasts
Title
  • ¾ cup Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 cup Pearled Barley
  • 1 Small Baguette
  • 4 oz Sugar Snap Peas
  • 2 oz Arugula
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1 bunch Asparagus
  • 1 Leek
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 lb Russet Potatoes
  • 2 Tbsps Tomato Paste
  • 2 tsps Spring Minestrone Spice Blend (Ground Fennel Seeds, Dried Bay Leaf Powder, Dried Lemon Peel, Garlic Powder & Crushed Aleppo Pepper)
  • ¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
time-saving
tips & techniques
Cook the barley:
1 Cook the barley:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Heat a small pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the barley and cook 18 to 20 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Drain thoroughly.

Prepare the ingredients:
2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the barley cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Slice the baguette crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces. Cut the sugar snap peas into ½-inch pieces. Peel the carrots and thinly slice into rounds. Snap off and discard the tough, woody ends of the asparagus; cut the asparagus into ½-inch pieces. Trim off and discard the root ends and upper, dark-green leaves of the leeks. Halve the leeks lengthwise; thoroughly rinse between the layers with cold water. Thinly slice the leeks. Quarter and deseed the lemon. Small dice the potatoes.

Start the vegetables:
3 Start the vegetables:

While the barley continues to cook, in a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the carrots, potatoes, leek and spice blend; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant and dark red.

Make the broth:
4 Make the broth:

Add 5 cups of water to the pot of vegetables; season with salt and pepper. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the cooked barley and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes, or until the liquid is slightly reduced in volume.

Make the lemon-ricotta toasts:
5 Make the lemon-ricotta toasts:

While the soup simmers, place the baguette slices on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single, even layer and toast in the oven 4 to 6 minutes, or until lightly browned. While the baguette slices toast, in a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and the juice of 2 lemon wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the toasted baguette slices from the oven and top with half the lemon-ricotta mixture. Transfer to a serving dish.

Finish & serve your dish:
6 Finish & serve your dish:

Add the sugar snap peas, asparagus and 1 cup of water to the pot of broth; season with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sugar snap peas and asparagus are bright green and tender. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, arugula and the juice of the remaining lemon wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the finished soup between 4 bowls. Top each with ¼ of the remaining lemon ricotta mixture. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

1 Cook the barley:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Heat a small pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the barley and cook 18 to 20 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Drain thoroughly.

2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the barley cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Slice the baguette crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces. Cut the sugar snap peas into ½-inch pieces. Peel the carrots and thinly slice into rounds. Snap off and discard the tough, woody ends of the asparagus; cut the asparagus into ½-inch pieces. Trim off and discard the root ends and upper, dark-green leaves of the leeks. Halve the leeks lengthwise; thoroughly rinse between the layers with cold water. Thinly slice the leeks. Quarter and deseed the lemon. Small dice the potatoes.

Start the vegetables:
3 Start the vegetables:

While the barley continues to cook, in a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the carrots, potatoes, leek and spice blend; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant and dark red.

4 Make the broth:

Add 5 cups of water to the pot of vegetables; season with salt and pepper. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the cooked barley and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes, or until the liquid is slightly reduced in volume.

Make the broth:
Make the lemon-ricotta toasts:
5 Make the lemon-ricotta toasts:

While the soup simmers, place the baguette slices on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single, even layer and toast in the oven 4 to 6 minutes, or until lightly browned. While the baguette slices toast, in a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and the juice of 2 lemon wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the toasted baguette slices from the oven and top with half the lemon-ricotta mixture. Transfer to a serving dish.

6 Finish & serve your dish:

Add the sugar snap peas, asparagus and 1 cup of water to the pot of broth; season with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sugar snap peas and asparagus are bright green and tender. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, arugula and the juice of the remaining lemon wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the finished soup between 4 bowls. Top each with ¼ of the remaining lemon ricotta mixture. Enjoy!

Finish & serve your dish:
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