April and May bring all of the fresh alliums—green garlic, spring onions, and leeks—which meld perfectly with baby shiitake mushrooms, potatoes, and a variety of just-cut fresh herbs. Leftover brown rice adds some heft, and cauliflower offers its cruciferous-vegetable health benefits. To increase the soup’s nutrition even more when serving, consider adding shredded kale leaves to the bottom of each bowl (the hot soup will wilt the leaves so you don’t need to cook the leaves separately).
- extra-virgin olive oil
- baby shiitake mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, or button mushrooms, chopped
- spring onions, white and light green parts, chopped
- leeks, white and light green parts, sliced
- potatoes, cubed
- cauliflower, cut across into steaks
- asparagus, bottom ends trimmed and stalks cut into 1-inch pieces
- green garlic, white and light green parts, chopped
- cooked brown rice
- minced fresh mint, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and sage leaves
- freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of turmeric
- prepared mustard of choice
- thinly sliced green onions, for garnish (optional)
- slivered almonds, for garnish (optional)
- pitted olives of choice, for garnish (optional)
- Warm the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned. Stir in the onions and leeks and cook until softened. Stir in the potatoes, cauliflower, and water just to cover. Simmer, covered, until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the asparagus, garlic, and rice and cook until the asparagus is done the way you like it. Stir in all of the fresh herbs, a few grinds of pepper, and the turmeric. Season to taste with mustard.
- To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with green onions, almonds, and olives.