For those times in life when you NEED a thick, hearty and nourishing soup to set everything right in the world. This Slovenian Sausage & Vegetable Barley Soup is super warming on a cold winter’s night, or make in advance for a lazy dinner after a busy day.
Sooo many people ask us: ‘What’s your favourite country?’
(Do you guys know how tough that is to answer?? 😛 )
Seriously though, thirty countries down and the decision only becomes harder.
I know I know, still not technically a choice there, but at least we narrowed it down, right?!
Deep down inside, I know Slovenia, of all places, is the country that truly stole my heart.
Okay that’s a bit random I know.
But, why Slovenia?
Well… Imagine jumping off the train into your most idyllic fairy tale landscape, with just two days to explore and see as much as you can.
Picture yourself, encased in backpacks, strolling along a quiet country road. Endless rolling green fields lie on one side. On the other, immense, majestic mountains reach up into the azure sky, twinkling with snow in the golden sunlight.
THAT is how I remember Slovenia.
We spent one breathtaking day exploring the Lake Bled region by bike, cycling our way through its bustling lakeside town. Peddling our way uuuuup and doooown steep alpine roads in the surrounding countryside.
That night we tucked ourselves into a cosy farmhouse homestay. Inside, the huge old wooden building had been transformed into a guesthouse + bar and restaurant, its incredible owners dishing up traditional Slovenian fare at their rusting wooden tables.
That’s where we had our first mouthful of this traditional Slovenian Sausage & Vegetable Barley Soup known as Ričet, and let me just say, a big bowl of veggie soup with soft chewy barley and spicy savoury sausage was absolutely just what we needed after our action-packed day.
(Not to mention the complimentary glass (or two) of blueberry brandy known as šnops on the side. 😛 )
Slovenian Sausage & Vegetable Barley Soup (Ričet)
Traditionally this Slovenian soup is prepared with barley, vegetables, and sausage, but you can easily leave out the sausage for a vegetarian/vegan version.
We substituted chorizo for the sausage in our version for an extra spicy hit, but any sausage should do the trick. Bonus points if you can source European/Slovenian sausages.
You can also substitute quinoa for the barley to make this recipe gluten free!
It’s thick, hearty and nourishing, perfect after a busy day or when you want to share a wholesome meal with friends or family.
Super convenient that we made it this week, since it came in very handy after our huge hike this Easter Long Weekend. Instant homemade dinner for the win!
Love soups? Check out our Albanian White Bean Soup that’s super nourishing in winter yet light enough to enjoy on a summer’s day too.
- 500 g barley soaked overnight
- 800 g butter beans drained
- 6 cups water plus extra when boiling
- 2 chorizo cooked and sliced
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 kale leaf roughly chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 carrot sliced
- 1 zucchini sliced
- ½ tsp hot paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- Soak the barley overnight in a large soup pot. Next day, drain and place on the stove. Add beans and 6 cups water. Cover and boil for 1 hour.
- Add chorizo, garlic, bay leaves, kale, onion, carrot and zucchini, then bring to the boil.
- Cook for a further hour or until soup has thickened to a nice consistency and ingredients are tender. Stir occasionally to avoid soup sticking to the pan, and add water gradually if soup becomes too thick.
- Season with paprika, salt and pepper.
- Serve with hot crusty bread.
- For a vegan version of this dish, omit the sausage. For a gluten free version, replace barley with quinoa.
- We recommend making it up a few days in advance for the flavours to really shine. It’ll keep nicely in the fridge for 3 or 4 days, and around 2 to 3 months in the freezer.