Lemon provides the tang, eggs give a velvety smooth finish, and barley replaces rice or pasta in this traditional Mediterranean soup that also includes asparagus. Follow the method described in the recipe to temper the eggs so they don’t curdle when added to the hot broth.


  • 4 cups (1 L) low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup (250 mL) water
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) pearl or pot barley
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 2/3 lb (325 g) asparagus spears
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) fresh lemon juice

In a large saucepan with lid, combine broth, water, barley and salt. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim tough bottom end of asparagus spears and discard. Remove tips and set aside. Slice spears into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces. After barley and broth mixture has simmered, add asparagus pieces except tips. Cover and simmer until asparagus is almost tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add asparagus tips and cook until tender, about 2 minutes more.

Whisk eggs and lemon juice until well blended. Ladle about 1/2 cup (125 mL) broth from soup and slowly whisk it in into egg mixture. Whisk in another 1/2 cup (125 mL) broth, then whisk egg mixture into soup in saucepan. Let soup cook for another minute or two to heat through; don’t let the broth boil or the soup will curdle. Soup should thicken slightly and have a smooth texture.

Makes 4 servings (1 1/3 cups/325 mL each).

Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories: 176; Protein: 10 g; Carbohydrate: 25 g; Fibre: 5 g; Sugars: 3 g; Fat: 4.5 g; Saturated Fat: 1.5 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 145 mg; Sodium: 410 mg; Potassium: 428 mg