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Bean Barley Soup (Ricet)
Comforting Slovenian meal

Bean Barley Soup (Ricet)

Bean Barley Soup or Ricet is a delicious and nutritious family meal for any day of the week. We can easily make it ahead and freeze it for later.

Bean Barley Soup (Ricet)
Bean Barley Soup, or Ričet as we call it in Slovenia, is my (Maja’s) favorite soup, and I couldn’t be more excited to share this recipe on the blog today. This isn’t my mom’s recipe, as she always prepares the recipe without any written instructions, but we tried to follow her tips and came up with our version. Our kids adore Barley soup, which is excellent as it contains a lot of colorful vegetables and legumes. You can find sausages in some recipes, but we prefer a slab of smoked bacon, as it’s more flavorful and perfect to add a hint of meatiness. It’s best to use dry beans and soak them one day before cooking. This way, the soup will be even more full of flavor.

Bean Barley Soup - a comforting classic

These are the top reasons why we adore Bean Barley soup and believe you will too:

  • few ingredients needed
  • tasty, comforting, and hearty
  • no sides needed
  • perfect for cold days
  • easy to make ahead
  • it's dairy-free
  • keeps well in fridge or freezer

Bean Barley Soup (Ricet)

Bean Barley Soup (Ricet)

How to make Bean Barley Soup your own

We can find a lot of delicious vegetables like celeriac, kohlrabi, carrot, leek, and onion in this Barley soup. Feel free to make this soup your own by adding any of these ingredients:

  • potatoes cut into small cubes (add at the same time as the vegetables)
  • frozen or fresh peas (add the last 5 minutes of cooking)
  • other root vegetables, cut into small cubes (add at the same time as the vegetables)
  • canned corn (add the last 5 minutes of cooking)
  • cauliflower florets  (add the last 20 minutes of cooking)

Optionally, substitute the dried beans with canned beans. We prefer the dried beans, as the Barley soup is more flavorful. Add the canned beans for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Bean Barley Soup (Ricet)

Bean Barley Soup (Ricet)

Storing and freezing

Storing Bean Barley Soup is quick and straightforward. Feel free to store it in two ways.

Place the Bean Barley Soup into an airtight container. Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat well before serving.

Feel free to freeze the Barley soup. Place it in an airtight container or freezer bag and place it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost and reheat well in the microwave or on the stove.

How to make Bean Barley Soup at home (video)

Check this quick tutorial to see how we made the Bean Barley Soup at home.



Next, try these hearty meals


Lets get cooking!

  • serves
  • preparation:
  • cook:
    hour 40 minutes
  • total time:


  • one day ahread

    Rinse the dried white beans and barley under running water. Add the beans to a large bowl and cover with water. Add the barley to a separate bowl and cover with water. Set aside overnight and drain the next day.

  • cook the beans

    Drain the beans and discard the water. Add beans to a large pot. Add 2 liters (8 cups) of water. Add a teaspoon of salt, bay leaf, peppercorns, and peeled garlic cloves. Place on medium heat and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and add a slab of smoked bacon. Cover with a lid and simmer for 45 - 60 minutes or until the beans are soft yet keep their shape. Drain and discard the bay leaf, garlic, and peppercorns, and save the cooking water for later. Cut the smoked bacon into small cubes, approximately 1 cm x 1 cm (1/2-inch x 1/2-inch). Set aside.

  • cook the barley

    Add the barley to a pot, season with salt, and pour in 1.5 liters (6 cups) of water. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid, and cook for 35 minutes. When the barley cooks, drain and discard the water. Rinse the cooked barley under running water.

  • Bean Barley Soup (Ricet)

    Cut the vegetables into 1 cm x 1 cm cubes. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Place a large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and all the vegetables. Sauté for 5 - 8 minutes for the vegetables to soften. Add the cooked barley and cooked beans. Season with marjoram, thyme, and bay leaf. Pour in the reserved beans cooking water (1800ml (7 cups)). Simmer for 30 - 35 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and cooked. Add the bacon and season with parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir in the freshly squeezed lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and serve.

    If you plan on using canned beans, use vegetable stock of water from cooking the meat instead of beans cooking water.


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