White Bean, Barley and Sauerkraut Soup

Cabbage soup is very common in Slavic cuisine. The “cabbage” in cabbage soup can refer to fresh cabbage or sauerkraut. And Russians, Poles, Slovaks and Ukrainians eat it a lot.

Inspired by preparations of the Polish soup, kapuśniak, this vegan sauerkraut soup recipe shares many of the common ingredients, but does detour from tradition. I’m especially looking at you, barley! But in the end, it’s a rustic, hearty and delicious soup.

A few things…

  • ・Rinsing the sauerkraut takes some of the edge off of it. Place the sauerkraut in a colander, rinse it, and then, squeeze out any excess water.
  • ・If you taste the soup at the end and feel instant regret about rinsing your sauerkraut, stop worrying, my friend. Just add some sauerkraut brine until it tastes right to you.
  • ・As it simmers, the barley and potatoes love soaking up the broth. At the very end, you may want to add some additional water. Adjust the seasonings, if necessary.
A Slavic inspired sauerkraut soup with beans and barley

White Bean, Barley and Sauerkraut Soup

½ Tbsp vegan butter

1½ cups chopped onion

4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

¾ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp dried marjoram

Black pepper, to taste

1½ cups rinsed and squeezed sauerkraut (see note above)

1 cup peeled and diced potatoes

¾ cup chopped carrots

½ cup pearled barley

4½ cups fake chicken broth (I used 4½ cups water + 2¼ Edward & Sons Not Chick’n Bouillon Cubes)

15.5 ounce can of great northern white beans, drained and rinsed (OR 1¾ cups cooked great northern white beans)

1. In a large, heavy pot or dutch oven, add the vegan butter, onion and a dash of salt. Sauté over medium-high heat for ~7 minutes or until the onion is soft and golden.

2. Add the garlic, smoked paprika, marjoram, and a good amount of ground black pepper (to taste). Stir around another minute.

3. Add the rinsed and drained sauerkraut, and stir around for another 5 minutes over medium-high heat or until it cooks down a bit.

4. Add the potatoes, carrots and barley. Stir around for a minute.

5. Then, add the bay leaves and broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and then, turn down to a simmer. Simmer over low for 20 minutes, or until the barley, potatoes and carrots are cooked through.

6. Add the white beans. Cover and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Not enough broth? Add and stir in some water. Then, taste, and adjust seasonings, if needed (more smoked paprika? sauerkraut brine?). Serve with a hearty bread, like rye.

Vegan sauerkraut soup with barley

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