Take one look at Jeanine Donofrio’s Love and Lemons food blog, beaming with bright photography and plant-focused recipes, and you’ll make a mental note to cook more colorfully. Her new cookbook, Love and Lemons Every Day ($35), casts the same spell. Flipping through the seasonal bundle of vegetarian mains, sides, and more will have you viewing vegetables in a new light. As in, they can be a lot more exciting and delicious than you once thought. See what we mean with Donofrio’s lemon miso spring green soup (recipe below), a nourishing pot of crunchy veggies, lemon, and fresh dill.

Donofrio’s lesson for home cooks can be summed up pretty simply: Local, seasonal produce can be the star of your plate. That doesn’t necessarily mean to smear a farmers market avocado on toast and call it a day (though Donofrio admits that’s often her lunch). It means to use salt, acid, healthy fats, and lots of herbs and spices to make vegetables pop. For instance, a batch of lemon miso spring green soup, full of veggies and umami-rich miso and scallions, is just the dish to reset your system.

lemon miso spring green soup RECIPE

(Serves 4 to 6)

Cleanse-style diets are not my style. If you tell me I can’t have a cookie, all I will be able to think about are cookies, and then I’ll end up eating a whole batch of cookies. Diet: failed. Instead, whenever I feel like I need a healthful reset, I make this soup. It’s chock-full of green vegetables, and the broth is simple but oh so flavorful thanks to miso paste, lemon, and a good dose of freshly cracked black pepper.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive  oil
  • 1 bunch (1 cup) scallions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs, bundled
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup white miso paste
  • 1 cup snap peas, stringed and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 cup chopped asparagus (tender parts)
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 6 lacinato kale leaves, chopped, stems diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, half reserved for garnish
  • 1 batch mint pesto (recipe below)

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the scallions and cook for 3 minutes, then stir in the garlic, vegetable broth, water, quinoa, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes until the quinoa is cooked.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the miso paste with 1/2 cup of the hot cooking broth, then stir the mixture back into the simmering pot.

3. Stir in the snap peas, asparagus, peas, chickpeas, and kale and simmer until the vegetables are tender but still vibrant green, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and the black pepper. Stir in the lemon juice and half of the dill.

4. Portion the soup into bowls and top with the remaining fresh dill. Serve with the mint pesto.

mint pesto

(Makes 1 cup)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup thawed frozen peas
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as desired

Directions:

1. In a food processor, place the pepitas, mint, parsley, peas, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and process to a coarse purée. With the blade running, pour in the olive oil and process until combined.

RELATED: Kimberly Snyder’s Chickpea Stew With Pesto Helps You Get Your Veg When It’s Way Too Cold

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(Recipe: Reprinted from Love & Lemons Every Day by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2019, Jeanine Donofrio. Photos: Jeanine Donofrio & Jack Mathews)