There are many reasons to think about moving toward a more plant-based diet, and more and more people are giving “Veganuary” a try at the start of the year. If you’re interested in experimenting with more vegan dishes, why not give this traditional Slovenian soup recipe a try? Meredith Pangrace, editor of Rust Belt Vegan Kitchen, says the book “makes a point to not be judgemental—to not tell you what you should or should not eat.”
“The Jota is warm, humble, and comforting,” Pangrace says. “It’s also really affordable and easy to make!”
Slovenian Sauerkraut Soup (Jota)
Recipe by Joe Valencic from Rust Belt Vegan Kitchen (Belt, 2021)
1 pound dried cannellini or kidney beans
1 pound sauerkraut
1 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato sauce (more to taste)
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 tablespoons flour
4 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon oil
1 bay leaf
Salt and paper to taste
Sort the beans (for pebbles or debris), rinse, and soak overnight.
Rinse the beans and place them in a large pot. Cover with water by two inches. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer until tender, 1-2 hours (depends on the age of the beans), and drain.
In a separate pot, cover potatoes with cold water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, 10-15 minutes and drain.
Drain and rinse the sauerkraut, place in a separate saucepan, cover with water, and heat.
In a large pot, sauté onion in oil until golden over medium heat. Stir in flour and a tablespoon of water to make a roux (for thickening). Cook and stir until light brown.
Put the cooked beans, cooked potatoes, cooked sauerkraut, and vegetable broth into the pot with the roux. Add the garlic, bay leaf, tomato sauce, paprika, salt, and pepper. (Optional: mash the beans and potatoes together before adding to saucepan.)
Bring soup to boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours or more.
Remove bay leaf before serving. For a thinner soup, add any remaining cooking water to taste.
Cover image by Raechel Anne Jolie.
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