My vegan jota is a hearty smoky bean and sauerkraut hotpot, is simplicity itself to make, and is perfect during cooler weather!
I'd never ever eaten sauerkraut before we moved to Slovenia, and if I'm honest, it's something that's never really appealed to me; I'm not a lover of fermented or pickled foods, and sauerkraut seemed to me fall into these categories. However, I'm so glad I bit the bullet, and gave it a try because I can honestly say that I pretty much love it now.
Which is good news, since it's a key ingredient in this vegan jota.
The first time I had sauerkraut, I bought a big jar of it - in for a penny, in for a pound, right? Actually, the shop I went to only had large jars, so I hoped I'd like it.
I did... I loved it!
Discovering Slovenian Jota
Not long after my first taste of sauerkraut, however, amato mio and I went for a drive up the Vršič Pass...
... where halfway up, we discovered a little place called Tonkina Koča, which, simply put, is the stuff of fairy tales.
We discovered meat-free jota on the menu, so of course, had to have some.
It would have been rude not to, right?
After that, I was completely sold on sauerkraut, and now I eat it on a regular basis. Nothing, though, comes close to the sauerkraut made by my Bosnian friend, Desa. My mouth is watering, just thinking of it! In the autumn, she makes huge bucketfuls of sauerkraut. After having eaten kraut all over the place - and making it myself - I can honestly say that Desa is the queen of kraut!
As for the jota... in addition to being insanely easy to make from sauerkraut, beans, and potatoes, plus a bit of vegetable broth, it's also really frugal. It's typical cucina povera - the best kind of food, in my opinion! It freezes well, and will keep in an airtight container in the 'fridge for up to a week; in fact, this vegan jota is even better 2-3 days after it's been made. I also sometimes add my sausages to the jota, which works really well.
Fun fact: did you know that Cleveland (USA) has the largest urban Slovene population outside Slovenia's capital, Ljubljana?
Vegan Jota (Slovenian Sauerkraut & Bean Stew)
- what autumn and winter were made for!
- insanely delicious!
I really hope you enjoy this hearty Slovenian stew.
Have you ever had jota - vegan or otherwise?
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 6 fat cloves garlic smashed
- 1 tablespoon plain flour gluten-free if necessary
- 750 ml vegetable broth
- 4 tablespoon passata
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 500 g potatoes scrubbed and cut into small chunks
- 500 g sauerkraut drained and rinsed
- 250 g cooked beans (note 1)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pan, fry the onions over a medium heat until they become translucent.
- Add the garlic, and continue to cook for another couple of minutes.
- Mix in the flour, and cook for a minute, stirring all the time.
- Mix the passata and the paprika with the vegetable broth, and add to the pan. Mix well.
- Stir in the potatoes and sauerkraut, bring everything to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are soft.
- Add the beans, and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Taste, season, and serve with fresh bread and žganci (made without lard and cracklings, of course!).
- Almost any type of beans will work; white, cannellini, borlotti, pinto, navy, speckled. I usually use white or pinto because they're the ones most readily available to me.
- 1 cup = US cup = 240 ml
- 1 tablespoon = US/UK = 15 ml
- 1 fl oz = US = 30 ml
We didn’t try this when we visited lively lovely Ljubljana a few years ago, now we need to go back! What a tasty, easy recipe. Served with homemade sourdough bread, (COVID 19 hobby), it was a cozy supper.
Any excuse to go back to Ljubljana, eh? I am totally with you, Mary! So happy you enjoyed the jota... and yay for homemade sourdough! xx
I was looking for a vegan jota recipe to remake a dish I used to eat when I was growing up in Istria. Your recipe was spot on! I made small changes: I eat WFPB so I used broth for sautéing; added one bay leaf and more liquid. To achieve that great smoky flavor of jota I served it with homemade coconut bacon. It was sooo good! Thank you so much Nico for this great recipe!
Dober dan, Yasmine - hvala lepa! I am so, so happy you enjoyed the jota, and your version with the coconut bacon sounds wonderful. Definitely one to try next time I make it... which will be soon because during the winter, I make jota so much! Do you miss Slovenia? I do, especially in the winter! Thank you for dropping by, and leaving such a lovely comment - if there's anything you'd like me to make, do let me know! xx
Thank you Nico! I was actually born in Croatia, but near Slovenia. Anyway, the culture and cooking are very similar. I certainly miss it very much. I was also thinking about making veganized version of “pašta fažol“ that my mother used to cook. It’s like italian pasta et fagioli. My mother used to make pesto for it by working several garlic cloves and bacon with a big knife until the creamy consistency and adding it to the pot in the last 10 minutes of cooking. I’m not sure how the pesto part could be reproduced for a vegan version, maybe you have an idea?
Thank you and have a very happy New Year!
Greetings from Canada
Oh, which part of Croatia, Yasmine? I used to live in Rijeka! Your mum's pašta fažol sounds lovely; adding the garlic near the end of cooking is one of the biggest things I learned when living in Rijeka - it makes such a difference, doesn't it? For a vegan version of the pesto, I'd smoosh the garlic with some smoked salt, and maybe a tiny bit of sugar to balance the flavours. I'll give it a go! Have you checked out my pasta e fagioli recipe?
Wishing you a very happy New Year too! xx
Did you use an immersion blender? I followed the recipe but mine looks quite a bit chunkier.
No, no blender, just cooked then decanted into dishes! If I use whole kraut, and chop it myself, the jota is usually much chunkier than if I use a pack or jar from the store! It really doesn't matter if it's chunky or fine - I've had it all ways in Slovenia! How was yours taste-wise? Did you enjoy it? xx
Hahaha, I am also Slovenian and was browsing foreign webpage for ideas on how to use big purchase of sauerkraut, as we usually use it only in meaty dishes. And then I came upon your recipe and yes that place at Vrsic has the most delicious jota. I completely forgotten about it. Thanks to you, now I can also make my own vegetarian friendly version and is perfect for these cold winter days.
Maybe I will try to give it a new twist with some indian spices (well, I did buy a LOT of sauerkraut :)).
It's so cool that you've been to Tonka's place too - I love it there so much. Needless to say I miss Slovenia with all my heart ... but we're planning to return for a short holiday in November this year, in time for the prihod parkeljnov at Podkoren!
Enjoy the jota ... and lots of it! xx
My wife and I loved this recipe, we did add some jalepenos and spinach but was great we will make again thank you
I am so happy you and your wife loved this, Ryan, and the addition of jalapenos and spinach sounds wonderful - I must try that combo out for myself soon. Thanks so much for letting me know! xx
My partner and I absolutely love this dish. I have made it twice now. Gonna keep it in the rotation. I can't thank you enough for sharing this treasure.
I am so, so happy that you and partner love my jota, Bee - thank you so much for letting me know. xx
Yum! I've been craving a good sauerkraut soup that didn't have sausage in it! Thanks for sharing, can't wait to try this at home!
I hope you love it, Sam - it's one of my all-time favourite meals! xx
Is this recipe freezable for portion other days.
Hiya! Yes, it can be frozen, and will keep for around three months in the freezer. Enjoy! xx
So I'm Slovenian and I have never had jota in all my 27 years *gasp* 🙂 But that's because I only ever encountered the traditional, meaty version and I thought the smell of meat combined with the smell of sauerkraut was just too awful to try. Now I've been vegetarian for 10 years, and living in Sweden for the last 6 of those so I basically forgot about the existence of this dish. Until I randomly stumbled upon this recipe. Felt like I had to give it a try and I am glad I did! It was delicious and so much better than any jota I remember from when I was younger. I very well might make this again! Thanks for the recipe 🙂
Dober večer Marubi! I love your email address, by the way - so cute! I'm so happy you enjoyed this recipe, and even happier that as a Slovenian, you enjoyed it. That gives me a big happy! Thanks so much for your feedback! xx
I really liked this recipe!!! I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate sauerkraut into recipes! I used adzuki beans and added some spinach. I will be making this regularly!
Oh, that sounds like a great idea to use adzuki beans (I happen to have a tin in my pantry right now!), and spinach. I bet your jota was delicious, Christine. I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe! xx
What type of beans?
Hi Patrick! Almost any type of beans will work; cannellini, borlotti, pinto, navy, speckled. Feel free to use drained canned beans if you don't want to cook dried ones. xx
This sounds great Nico! Can't wait to try this at home. This honestly reminds me of an old kraut recipe my grandpa used to make me when I was way younger. Hopefully I'll get some nostalgia when I make this at home! I'll report back with how it goes!
That's fantastic, Billy - I'm certain you'll love it... although whether it'll match up your Grandma's cooking is another matter entirely! I look forward to hearing back from you! xx
Johanna @ Green Gourmet Giraffe
This looks really good - I have a desire to incorporate more sauerkraut into my diet but never know how to use it - bookmarked!
Hi Johanna, thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment - it's lovely to 'meet' you! Jota is such a great way to get more sauerkraut into your diet, and for me, as a relative newcomer to it, it wasn't too much of a taste shock!
This sounds so delicious and comforting 😀 I've only ever had saurkraut on it's own - never tried using it in a recipe. Need to give this a go 🙂
It's great, Nadia - it adds a whole new dimension to stews and casseroles. I love it. Do let me know how you get on!
I've never thought of using this combination or even using sauerkraut in a soup or stew, but it really looks yummy! Pinning and tweeting:)
I was the same, Lisa... Slovenia changed all that! Thank you for the social shares - very, very much appreciated!
Sauerkraut has never appealed to me either for much the same reasons as you in the past. However I think this soup looks really delicious so I might just have to put my prejudices aside and give it a try. Who know maybe I'll become a convert too.
Ooh, I hope so, Jacqui - it really is wonderful stuff, and I say that completely honestly as someone who really doesn't like sour, acidic foods. In the jota, it's not at all acidic though, it just adds a nice tang, and almost seems to 'lighten' it. 🙂
Always so impressed with how you manage to find vegan food on your travels. This looks delicious. My husband bought a large jar of sauerkraut (maybe they only come in large?) from our local shop a while back with the intention of making veggie Reuben sandwiches. Needless to say it's still sitting unopened in the back of the cupboard and this sounds like the perfect use for it! #CookBlogShare
To be honest, Mandy, it's really easy to find vegan food... but with the caveat that I do benefit from having kitchens - it might be a bit more difficult if I had to eat out all the time. In saying that though, when I lived in Chiang Mai, it was cheaper to eat out than cook at home, so we ate out a lot, and I still never had a problem finding vegan food! I did have a problem with putting on a mega-ton of weight though... hence there being a diet category here!
Re. Reubens - I'd never had one until last year when I made my own, and wow, they're so good! And filling - I didn't need to eat for the rest of the day!
You may be right about the sauerkraut, I need to investigate to see if it comes in smaller jars. I'm guessing that if asked, people here would simply ask what the point of a small jar of kraut is... especially given that if you ask someone how to make it, they usually tell you that you need 30kg of cabbage, and 2kg of salt. Did I mention it being big in the Balkans? LOLOL!
This year, I'm making my own, albeit in far smaller quantities!
This looks gorgeous! It's funny you thought you wouldn't like sauerkraut because I used to feel exactly the same. When I was a child I thought it sounded disgusting and it was only when I was much older that I finally tried it and loved it.
The soup sounds lovely and warming and perfect for a cool autumn day. Thank you for sharing with #CookOnceEatTwice!
I think with me it was just because I thought of it as a pickle, therefore I *knew* I wouldn't like it! LOL!
Eb Gargano / easypeasyfoodie.com
Yum! This looks so heart and warming. And so easy to make. My kind of food!! Thanks for linking up with #CookBlogShare 🙂 Eb x
Jota is one my all-time favourite meals, it's usually the first thing I cook when I return to Slovenia in the winter. 'Tis most gorgeous!