Recipe: Bean n’ Barley Soup | Ričet

Slovenia is known for her soups – each bite captures the taste of the earth and sky, rolling hills and grand mountains. They are the answer to frosted windows, the worst sort of bone-chill, and that scratchy feeling in the back of the throat.

Slovenian soup is the sunshine to your snowy day.

Breg, Novo mesto, Slovenia with Krka river. Photo by Andrej Jakobčič.

Breg, Novo mesto, Slovenia with Krka river. Photo by Andrej Jakobčič.

Today, in particular, we explore Ričet, one of the more beloved soups found throughout Slovenia.

She’s made with barley, a soft, earthy grain that reminds me faintly of pasta, but chewier and more wholesome. When paired with beans, carrots, potatoes, onion, and garlic, an entire meal is made. A slice of rye bread on the side would be grand.

While Ričet could certainly be made vegan, traditional Slovenian soups would include sausage or, as I have done, bacon. This adds another layer of complexity, making it all the more likely that I’ll be reaching for a bowl of Ričet when the winter snows float down.

Makes 3+ quarts


1 1/4 cup barley
1 1/4 cup dried pinto beans

4 large carrots, chopped
2 yukon gold potatoes, cubed
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
a few slices of bacon (or sausage), diced
2 bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, crushed


minced parsley, to taste


Soak the barley and pinto beans overnight, making sure to cover the beans by about 2 inches of water.

Meanwhile, dream a little dream of spring, so real you can almost smell the daffodils.

Daffodils at Golica near Jesenice, Slovenia. Photo by Sl-Ziga.

Daffodils at Golica near Jesenice, Slovenia. Photo by Sl-Ziga.

The next day, wake up with a smile.

Drain the barley and beans and add them to a large pot. Cover with about 6 cups of water and simmer for an hour (covered).

Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients… chop the carrots, tomato, and onion, dice the bacon, mince the garlic, chop the onion. Add all this fresh goodness to the pot. Toss in the bay leaves and bacon/sausage, too.

Cook the soup for another hour, or until all ingredients are tender. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with minced parsley (or whole sprigs, as I have done)
This is about as simple as it gets, folks and it’s one of my favorite soups thus far.

Enjoy with a side of ‘quaint town’ and ‘joyful sunshine.’

Just because.

Lent, Slovenia. Photo by Andrej Jakobčič

Lent, Slovenia. Photo by Andrej Jakobčič

Thanks, Slovenia!

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  1. Looks great! I know what I’ll be making this weekend!

  2. It looks like my kind of soup, can’t wait to make it. Thank you Sasha!:)

  3. gwen larsen says:

    How do you capture the essence of a country thru a few (exquisite) photographs & words? i suppose it’s a gift. Then to add the culinary aspect – with menus that are pleasing both to taste & see – and personal anecdotes (your hubby is a good sport on both ends of the camera it would seem: mine barely takes a photo let alone ‘stars’ in one)
    and we enjoy another weekday ‘visit’ with the Martins! Soup & bread are my absolute favorites: having been raised on both, in our Iowa farmhouse. (my mother made 7 big loaves of bread each week, for the 7 of us at a big round table in our yellow kitchen!) i’m going to soak my barley & beans now, since it’s still ‘cool weather’ here in sunny CA.

  4. Oh, that looks like it will be a favorite here, too. And since I’m about 60 miles from the nearest supermarket, it’s nice that the ingredients are the kind I usually have in the pantry.
    It looks like there might be Bean and Barley Soup across the country this weekend!

  5. Sasha Martin says:

    You all are soup superstars! I love it. If you have time, share some pictures on so I can see what you come up with :)

  6. I made this last night and have a near-empty pot on the stove this morning. I used large dried lima beans instead of pinto, and added tarragon and liquid smoke. It was a great hit and will definitely be on the soup rotation around here :) thanks again for a wonderful trip to a new place and taste!


  1. […] an itch that can also be scratched with homemade rye bread accompanied by barley bean soup  [Recipe], carrot turnip soup, buckwheat balls, or plated […]

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