Slovenian Food – 23 Delicious Recipes You Simply Must Try
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If you’re visiting Slovenia for the very first time, and are keen to try Slovenian food, many treats lay in wait for you. Whether you’re a foodie that’s feeling adventurous, or you want to inject a little Slovenian flavor into your home cooking, our article is packed to the brim with hearty and unique Slovenian dishes for all tastes.
Below, we take a closer look at 23 traditional Slovenian foods, all of them unique in their own little way, with a fascinating history behind them. No matter what your palette, there’s something for everyone on this list of foods you simply have to try when you visit Slovenia.
Table of Contents
Introduction to Slovenian Food
Slovenia is a small country with a surprisingly diverse culinary landscape. Slovenian cuisine is unique and colorful, influenced by the cuisines of neighboring Austria, Italy, and Hungary, as well as the countries of the Balkan as one of the members of the former Yugoslavia.
The country itself is divided into 30 gastronomic regions, and there are at least 22 Slovenian food products and foods protected at the European level.
Most Slovenian foods are hearty and simple. Cream is part of many dishes, such as sour pork soup or mushroom soup. Potatoes and bread are a staple of Slovenian food, so expect to find many dishes with these two foods included in the recipe. Mushrooms are also a big part of Slovenian cuisine.
So, without any further ado, here are 23 of the most delicious traditional Slovenian foods you shouldn’t miss while visiting this beautiful country.
23 Traditional Slovenian Foods You Simply Must Try
1 – Ajdovi žganci
This Slovenian national dish is a buckwheat spoonbread that used to be considered a poor person’s food and a substitute for bread. Traditionally, it’s made with water and buckwheat flour, but different regions often use different flours such as wheat, barley, or corn wheat. Sometimes semolina and potatoes are added to this dish.
There are many ways to prepare žganci. Flour can be roasted in a pan, and boiling water can be added later, or it can be cooked in boiling water. Pork cracklings can be used for garnish. Today, this Slovenian specialty is served as a side dish with sour turnips, sour cabbage, mushroom soup, etc. For a truly authentic taste of Slovenian food, this is an excellent place to start.
2 – Belokranjska Povitica
This traditional Slovenian pastry is a round spiral of crispy and flaky dough with a savory filling. The dough is made with flour, salt, water, and vinegar. Once stretched out in thin dough sheets, it is spread with a filling of eggs, curd cheese, oil, heavy cream, and butter. The dough is then rolled into a swirl and baked. The pastry is sliced and served warm.
3 – Bujta Repa
Pork with pickled, grated turnips or sour turnip hot pot is a traditional Slovenian food, most commonly prepared in the north-eastern part of the country.
The preparation includes stewing fatty parts of pig’s head, skin, and neck together with sour turnips and spices and seasonings such as bay leaves, paprika, garlic, onion, and lots of lard. Millet is also included. This main dish is essentially a thick soup with fatty pork ingredients served, especially during winter.
4 – Jota
Jota is a hearty vegetable and meat stew, and a popular Slovenian winter warmer. It’s made with beans, onions, turnip, potatoes, and sometimes even smoked pork ribs.
There are many variations of this Slovenian food throughout the country. In some parts, Slovenians prepare it with beans and sour cabbage without potatoes. In other parts of Slovenia, it’s made with barley and local vegetables.
This soup or stew is usually prepared during cold winter days. In some regions of Slovenia, it’s eaten with polenta.
5 – Štruklji
Štruklji is the national food of Slovenia. It consists of rolls of filo pastry filled with a wide range of savory and sweet fillings. The dough can be boiled, steamed, or fried, and the fillings can include meat, cottage cheese, apple, poppy seed, and even tarragon.
Traditionally, they have a cottage cheese filling, but the most popular ones are those with a walnut filling. Štruklji can be served as a side dish to meat, or as a dessert topped with breadcrumbs. It’s a truly delicious Slovenian food, and a diverse pick within Slovenian cuisine.
6 – Žlikrofi
This specialty is the Slovenian version of ravioli. These pasta pockets are filled with bacon, potato, spices, and minced pork fat. They are served with different sauces, such as a rabbit or lamb sauce, a vegetable sauce, a fruit jam, or on their own seasoned with cheese, cracklings, and butter.
It’s the first Slovenian dish that gained protected status. One portion of the Slovenian ravioli usually has 40 soft, pasta dough pockets. It can be enjoyed as a main dish as it is quite filling, but also as a side dish or a starter. With so many rich flavors to choose from, you just know this is going to be a flavorful Slovenian food.
7 – Bograč
This Slovenian dish is a complex stew that originates from the famous Hungarian goulash. Bograč combines three sorts of meat, such as beef, pork, and game, as well as plenty of onion, sweet paprika, potatoes, and wine, which gives the dish a distinctive flavor. Sometimes mushrooms are included in the recipe.
Traditionally, it’s prepared in a cauldron on an open fire. The cooking process is long, from two to four hours, but the end result is a delicious stew with the perfect consistency. It’s a Slovenian food steeped in rich history.
8 – Prekmurska Gibanica
This deliciously moist Slovenian dessert is a type of layered cake that’s protected at the European level. It consists of layers of poppy seed, walnut and apple filling, cinnamon, and cottage cheese. Prekmurska Gibanica has a mild sweetness, so it’s perfect for those who prefer desserts that aren’t too sweet.
It’s a divine combination of sweet and savory, so it’s a Slovenian food you should definitely try while in Slovenia.
9 – Potica
This Slovenian food, a roulade-like pastry, is very similar to their štrukli. It’s a multi-layered dessert made of dough and filled with young cheese and walnuts. However, there are more than 100 different fillings, so there’s a Potica for every taste.
Common Potica fillings include tarragon, poppy seeds, cracknels, and walnut. In the past, the dessert was often filled with honey. This is one of the oldest recipes in the country, dating back from 1689.
10 – Šelinka
Šelinka is a delicious thick soup or hearty stew made with plenty of celery. Other ingredients used in the recipe include beans, potato, rice, and occasionally meat or bacon. The stew is most often prepared during winter and served hot with a spoonful of vinegar or dry wine for a little injection of acidity.
This was a very popular soup in Slovenia for decades gone by, when it was served as a dinner with polenta or potatoes.
11 – Pražene Gobe z Jajci
The recipe for this Slovenian national dish comes from the Štajerska region. It consists of baked mushrooms with fresh parsley and eggs, served as an independent dish or an appetizer.
The preparation of this beloved dish includes cutting the cleaned mushrooms into thin slices and sautéing them with onions. Garlic, pepper, and parsley are then added to the mushrooms and, finally, whisked eggs. The mixture in the pan is seasoned with salt and cooked until the eggs are thoroughly cooked. As Slovenian food and Slovenian cuisine go, this is one of their most important dishes.
12 – Pohorska Gibanica
You can find different versions of this layer cake in different parts of Slovenia. However, Pohorska Gibanica is typical for the region of Pohorje. It’s made with homemade cottage cheese and yeast dough.
The dessert can have different fillings, most often seasonal ingredients such as forest fruits, apples, dried pears, or tarragon. The dessert is served cool and dusted with powdered sugar.
13 – Regratova Solata
Did you know that Slovenians have a dandelion salad? Well, that’s precisely what Regratova solata is! The dandelion greens are hand-picked while young and tender, without the flower buds. This unusual but delicious salad is made with dandelion greens, hard-boiled eggs, thin slices of boiled potatoes, bacon, red wine vinegar, and olive oil.
The preparation includes tossing the ingredients together and seasoning the mixture with olive oil, vinegar, bacon fat, and salt. As a Slovenian food, it’s definitely one of the most fascinating!
14 – Štrukljeva Juha
This popular Slovenian fasting dish is a dumpling soup that originates from the Maribor region. First, strudel dough is used to make the Štruklji dumplings, which are filled with cottage cheese. The dumplings are then cut into smaller pieces and put into a pot with salted boiling water until cooked.
While the dumplings are cooking, the cottage cheese thickens the soup and makes it more filling. The dish is served sprinkled with chopped parsley or chives.
15 – Tlačenica
The Slovenian pressed pork sausage known as Tlačenica, Presvuršt, or švargl, is originally from Croatia. It’s made with cooked pork parts, most often pig’s head meat, tongue, heart, cheeks, and skin. The meat is deboned and cut into chops, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and sweet or hot paprika, and mixed with some of the cooking liquid.
The meat mixture is stuffed into a clean pig’s large intestine or stomach to form a sausage. The sausage is then cooked in water, chilled, and pressed. The sausage can be smoked and dried in traditional smokehouses for 14 days, or consumed right after it’s properly cooked and pressed. It is served as a cold cut with bread and garlic. If you a big meat-eater, you’ll definitely enjoy this Slovenian food.
16 – Mežerli
This national dish of Slovenia consists of pork lungs, eggs, rice, and bread. In the past, it was prepared during pig, lamb, or veal slaughter. The combination of offal, most often lungs and heart, with eggs, rice, and bread are mixed into a mash that’s seasoned.
The mash is then baked and served warm as an appetizer or main dish when accompanied by potato salad, boiled potatoes, or bread.
17 – Matevž
Matevž, Belokranjski Mož, Medved, or Krompirjev Mož is a delicious, creamy bean and potato purée. This traditional Slovenian delicacy is usually paired with turnip, sauerkraut, roasted meat, sausages, ham, or pork cracklings.
In the past, it was served as a main dish, but nowadays it’s usually eaten as a side dish, especially during winter. The preparation is simple and involves boiling beans, soaked in water overnight, laurel leaf, and butter. Separately, peeled potatoes are cooked and mixed with sour cream, butter, and cracklings. The two mixtures are combined together and pureed with some garlic. This is a scrumptious Slovenian food to warm the stomach and soothe the soul.
18 – Ajdnek
This old Slovenian folded cake is made with soft, yeasted, buckwheat dough and sweet walnut filling. The dough often requires mixing buckwheat and wheat flour in equal amounts. When it comes to the sweet filling, it consists of walnuts, cinnamon, honey, and vanilla flavoring, which give it a truly harmonious taste. As a Slovenian food, it’s one to die for.
19 – Kobariški štruklji
This heavenly dessert and popular Slovenian food used to be served only during the festive period. Luckily, nowadays, it’s one of the most popular local desserts throughout Slovenia, especially in the Kobarid region. These štruklji are made with a thin layer of dough spread with a sweet walnut filling.
Besides walnuts, the filling includes lemon zest, raisins, rum, and vanilla. Once the filling is carefully wrapped, the štriklji are pressed in the middle to achieve its characteristic form.
Kobariški štruklji are best served warm, typically doused in syrup and sprinkled with buttered breadcrumbs, or dusted with sugar, cinnamon, and ground walnuts.
20 – Obara
Obara is a traditional Slovenian stew traditionally prepared with different sorts of meat and internal organs. Modern versions of the stew contain different vegetables such as celery, carrots, onions, turnips, beans, and peas.
In the past, this hearty Slovenian food was only prepared for special occasions and holidays. Nowadays, thankfully, it’s an everyday dish for Slovenians from all walks of life. The stew is very filling, so it’s served as an independent meal and often paired with Ajdovi žganci.
Polšja Obara is an odd version of the stew prepared with dormouse, a type of rodent.
21 – Belokranjska Pogača
This mouth-watering pastry is a type of flatbread made with four basic ingredients. It’s round in shape and has a thickness of 3-4cm. The surface of pogača is traditionally sliced in a cross-hatched pattern. This Slovenian food is one of the country’s EU-protected specialty foods.
The dough is made with flour, yeast, salt, and water with a little bit of sugar and oil. It’s glazed with egg wash and sprinkled with cumin and coarse salt before baking. The flatbread is ready when it gets a light brown or golden color. It’s usually broken by hands and eaten warm.
22 – Prežganka
This classic Slovenian soup is simple yet delicious and nourishing. It’s made with water, spices like paprika, caraway seeds, pepper, and salt, and flour slightly browned in oil. For more thickness and flavor, a lightly whisked egg is added.
The soup is served warm, most often with toasted bread or croutons on the side. Slovenians use it as a homemade hangover remedy.
23 – Kranjska Klobasa
Krainer sausage, Kranjska Klobasa, or Carniolan is a sausage that has the ideal meat-to-bacon ratio. It consists of 20% bacon and 80% coarsely ground high-quality pork cuts such as the neck, shoulder, and leg. It’s seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic.
The 12-16 cm long sausages are funneled into natural casings and twisted into links, tied and held together with the help of a wooden skewer. The production process involves pasteurizing and hot-smoking the links until they get a slightly red-brown color.
The secret of the perfect Slovenian Kranjska Klobasa is not boiling it but simply warming it a bit in hot water. This delicious, unique sausage with a smoky aroma is usually eaten with mustard and sauerkraut.