Sauerkraut and Bean Stew (Slovenian Jota)


This sauerkraut and bean stew would have to be one of my favourite Slovenian dishes. It’s hearty, humble, super easy to make, and budget-friendly. 

If you’re like me and always have sauerkraut and beans on hand, then you’ll be making this stew quite regularly. 

My husband Michael and I were planning to move to Slovenia soon, and with all the craziness that is happening in the world, we’re putting those dreams on hold for now.

Sauerkraut and Bean Stew (Slovenian Jota)

So instead of me enjoying this stew in my beloved hometown of Ljubljana, I have chosen to bring it to my household here in Tasmania, Australia, for now. 

This dish is traditionally called Jota (pronounced YOH-tah) and comes from the Primorska region of Slovenia. 

Sauerkraut and Bean Stew (Slovenian Jota)

There are a few different ways that you can make this stew, and it’s typically made using some kind of meat. You’ll find one if not all of these –  smoked ham, slab bacon, pork ribs, or sausages. 

Since I’m not using any of these, I have chosen to use smoked paprika in their place to still get that smokey flavour coming through, without the animal cruelty. 

Sauerkraut and Bean Stew (Slovenian Jota)

This dish is freezer-friendly and will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

I have found that it tastes even better on the second or third day. The flavours infuse over time, and it gives you comfort food satisfaction. 

If you live somewhere where you can get your hands on freshly pickled turnip at the markets, firstly, I’m super jealous, and secondly, you can use turnip in this recipe instead of the sauerkraut. 

Sauerkraut and Bean Stew (Slovenian Jota)

If you love sauerkraut as I do, but you haven’t tried a dish like this before, trust me, you’ll fall in love! 

The balance of sweet, sour, and salt is perfectly balanced. 

This is why it’s important to rinse your sauerkraut before putting it into the stew. This way, you can control how salty the soup is by adding salt to taste at the end. 

Through my research, I found out that the reason you cook the potatoes separately to the rest of the stew first is that you want them to have that soft, almost pureed consistency and cooking them with the sauerkraut, you wouldn’t be able to achieve that as well. This is because the acidity in the sauerkraut stops the potatoes from becoming super soft. Who knew! 

If you try this recipe, let me know! I would love for you to leave a comment and rating below. Want to go that extra mile? Tag us on Instagram or share your photo of the recipe on Pinterest. Don’t want to make it now? Pin it for later!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

A beautifully sweet and sour Slovenian sauerkraut and bean stew that is both humble and flavourful.


  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow/brown onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 500g sauerkraut (approx 2.5 cups), rinsed
  • 400g can x2 borlotti beans (2.5 cups or 450g cooked beans), drained and rinsed*
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the potatoes in a small pot and fill with enough cold water to cover them with an additional few inches. Bring to a boil and check on them occasionally so the water doesn’t boil over.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, in a large pot on medium heat, add the olive oil and onions and saute for a couple of minutes. You want them to be golden but not browned.
  3. Add in the garlic and saute for a further 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add in the bay leaves, tomato paste, smoked paprika, sauerkraut and 2 cups (500ml) water. Mix well and bring to a simmer.
  5. At this point, the potatoes should be cooked. Check by putting a knife through one. It should go straight through. Drain the water and roughly mash them with a fork.
  6. Add them to the large pot with another 2 cups (500ml) of water and mix well. Let it simmer for 15 minutes with the lid askew to retain the liquid.
  7. Add in the cooked beans, stir and simmer for a further 20 minutes.
  8. At the end, freshly grind some pepper to taste and add salt if needed. Remove the bay leaves and serve.


* You can use any beans. Kidney, cannellini or pinto also work really well in this stew.

Sauerkraut and Bean Stew (Slovenian Jota)

Other recipes you’ll love: 

  1. One-Pot French Lentil, Mushroom and Sage Stew
  2. 3-Ingredient Cabbage Pasta
  3. Three Incredibly Simple Silverbeet Recipes
  4. Vegan Cabbage Rolls in Tomato Sauce
  5. Hearty Vegan Minestrone Soup

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