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- Dish type
- Bean and lentil soup
- Bean soup
Ribollita is a traditional Tuscan soup, made with cabbage, cannellini beans and stale bread. Each family has its own recipe with many variations, but always the distinctive flavour of cabbage and beans.
1 person made this
- 500g cannellini beans, soaked in water for 12 hours
- salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 300g black Tuscan cabbage or kale, roughly chopped
- 300g Savoy cabbage, roughly chopped
- 300g Swiss chard, roughly chopped
- 2 potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
- 200g passata
- 500 to 700g stale Tuscan bread
MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:3hr ›Extra time:15min resting › Ready in:3hr35min
- After soaking, drain and rinse the beans and place in a large pot. Cover with water, add a pinch of salt and cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours on medium to low heat. (If using a pressure cooker, cook for 1 hour from the first whistle.)
- Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Set aside half of the cannellini. Puree the remaining beans in the pot.
- In a large saucepan over low heat, add the oil and cook carrot, onion and celery until soft, without burning.
- Add chopped potatoes, cabbages and chard to the saucepan, together with pureed cannellini beans, half of the reserved cooking liquid and the passata. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Season to taste.
- Add the reserved cannellini beans and the remaining cooking liquid and cook 15 minutes longer.
- Remove from heat, let stand for 15 minutes.
- Chop the bread and add to the soup, a few pieces at a time so it soaks up the liquid and gets soft. At the same time, the soup will become thicker.
- Bring the soup back to boiling, then turn off the heat. Drizzle with some Tuscan extra virgin olive oil and serve.
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Tuscan Ribollita Recipe
Like most Tuscan dishes, ribollita has humble origins, which date back to the medieval era. Its name means “reboiled,” which suggests that, like panzanella and pappa al pomodoro, ribollita is rooted in the centuries-old Italian philosophy of letting no leftovers going to waste, as is the case with recipes
It’s believed that peasants made the soup by placing stale bread inside the previous day’s minestrone, which was then brought to a boil and called dinner. Not only did this prevent the bread from going to waste, it also gave the soup a hearty texture.
The late and great Pellegrino Artusi included the cannellini bean and bread soup in his 1891 tome Science in the Kitchen and Art of Eating Well (La scienza in cucina e l‘arta di mangiar bene). He described recipe number 58, Tuscan Lean Peasant Soup (Zuppa Toscana di Magro alla Contadina) as such, “This soup which, out of modesty, is given the epithet of peasant, I am convinced that it will be appreciated by everyone, even by gentlemen, if made with due attention.” And he was right.
Rustic Tuscan Bread And Vegetable Soup RecipeIt's time to talk not just Italian food but food from Tuscany because it’s one of the corners of the globe I hold closest to my heart. I lived in .
It's time to talk not just Italian food but food from Tuscany because it’s one of the corners of the globe I hold closest to my heart. I lived in Florence for a stint and, ever since, those classic Tuscan recipes are some of my ultimate comfort foods.
What Is Tuscan Cooking?
Yes, Florence is a totally chic town but it’s roots are 100% rustic and there’s nowhere that’s more evident than in the food. So many of the iconic Tuscan dishes are rooted in cucina povera — a style of peasant food that’s all about making the most of what you have in your pantry — and that cooking translates well for no-fuss weeknight cooking.
In the middle of the winter, I’d go for super basic comfort foods like stews, roasts, and soups. And, one that’s so simple but so satisfying is Ribollita. Like the more sophisticated, interesting cousin to minestrone, Ribollita is a vegetable soup made mostly to use up stale bread. But in that genius way that is so Tuscan, which means there is a lot of flavor for this humble soup.
What Does Ribollita Mean?
The name means “reboiled” because it’s essentially a twice-cooked soup in that you make it, let it cool down, and then reheat it the next day (a step that makes for lots of good flavor).
Some people add pancetta (and go head if you want!) while others go without the kale and cabbage, but this is the way trattoria next to my Florence apartment would make it. Okay, they’d actually put in so much bread that your spoon could stand up straight when put in the bowl but I was a little less aggressive here. (Though, if you have a lot of stale bread or want to seriously carb load, add as much bread as you’d like!).
As you can imagine, this recipe only gets better the longer it sits so it’s a total natural for the slow cooker.
How Can I Add More Flavor To Ribollita?
At this point you have a few choices. For a more traditional take, let the soup cool down, refrigerate it overnight, then warm it over low heat before serving. Otherwise, add the kale and cabbage and reserved beans and stir. Most recipes have you add the kale or cabbage at the start but I like to add it just a couple minutes before serving so that it’s just a tad wilted but not overcooked.
Once it’s done, serve it with additional olive oil, parmesan cheese, and chili flakes (if using). There’s kinda nothing more perfect than this soup for company, especially if you’re looking for something to feed houseguests while you prep a big holiday meal. It’s satisfying, healthy, and really easy to make.
Prepare a good bean soup: first let them soak for at least 12 hours, then drain them and boil them in renewed water, over low heat and covered pot.
Brown the onion, carrot, sliced celery and crushed garlic in a pan with oil: add the peeled tomatoes, chilli pepper and thyme and, after at least 5 minutes of cooking, the diced potato and sliced cabbage.
Adjust the salt and then cook over a low heat, adding a little water add the boiled beans and mashed with their cooking water.
Add salt just before removing from the heat, after about 20 minutes of cooking.
Place 2 layers of thin slices of bread in a crock pot, sprinkle with a few drops of oil and then with 1 ladle or 2 of soup. Add 2 more layers of bread and cover with the soup.
List of Ingredients
- 1 LB. of black cabbage (Tuscan kale)
- 11 OZ. of dried cannellini beans
- 7 OZ. of green swiss chard
- 2 of celery stalks
- 2 of small carrots
- 2 of medium-sized zucchini
- 2 of garlic cloves
- 1 of onion
- tomato paste
- stale Tuscan bread
- bay leaves
- extra-virgin olive oil
- black pepper
Soak the cannellini beans in large pot of water the day before preparing the recipe. Rinse and boil them in plenty of water with 1 bay leaf, 1 garlic clove and salt, until they are cooked al dente. Blend 1 ladle of cooking water with half of the cooked beans and reserve the rest of the cooking water.
Clean the kale, removing the fibrous central part clean the chard, carrots, onions, celery and zucchini and cut them into 1/4"-1/2" pieces.
Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion and zucchini and sauté for 10 minutes. Dissolve 2 Tbsp. tomato paste in 1 ½ cups warm water and add it to the sauté pan along with the kale season with salt and pepper and cook for 30 minutes, covered, over low heat. Add the beans, both whole and blended, and the chard, and cook for another 25 minutes, covered, adding a few ladles of cooking water from the beans, if necessary.
Break up 3 slices of bread, add them to the soup and cook for 5 more minutes. In the meantime, prepare a flavored oil by heating 6 Tbsp. oil in a saucepan with 2 sprigs of rosemary and 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed, until it begins to fry. Remove from the heat and let infuse for 10 minutes, then strain.
Serve the soup, with 1/2 slice of bread with each bowl complete with a drizzle of flavored oil, fresh ground pepper and serve.
This is a traditional Tuscan dish that my family just loves! This soup is a delicious combination of bread, beans and lots of vegetables. It is considered to be a peasant’s soup in Tuscany, but that doesn’t deter us. I’ll take peasant status to be able to eat this all day!
History of Ribollita Soup
The name “Ribollita” means reboiled. It originated in Tuscany and is one of their more traditional recipes. The dish is a result of the “don’t throw anything away” mentality of the Tuscan culture.
Peasants would gather the leftover bread and the juices from the leftover meals and then add whatever vegetables they had growing in the garden. The soup would cook overnight ready for consumption the next day. It could be reheated over and over and taste even better each time.
There are many variations of this soup, but the basics are the leftover bread, cannellini beans, and Tuscan kale. Added to it are inexpensive veggies such as carrots, potatoes, celery, and onion.
Tips for adding extra vegetables
This is already a pretty vegetable-packed soup, but you can always add in more carrots, celery, and kale. If you’re wanting something different or need to use up veggies you have in the fridge, go for it. Anything goes!
What do I serve with Ribollita Soup?
There are loads of delicious sides that would go great with this recipe. Here are a few favorites:
Tips for increasing protein
While white beans are a great protein source, you can always add other types to beef it up a bit (no pun intended haha!). Things like veggie sausage, tempeh or even a veggie based bacon would be delicious. And of course if you’re a meat eater you could go that route.
What kind of bread should I use?
The best bread to use if you want that crispy edge is a whole bread loaf then cut it into pieces. They are sturdy enough to withstand the liquid and not completely melt away. I use a whole grain loaf because I love the grainy texture.
Using sandwich slices works but you’ll get a much more mushy soup. And we all know how I feel about mushy…
Of course if you are gluten free, you can either look for a gluten free loaf at your local grocery store, or you can make one yourself! This gluten-free bread mix by Simple Mills is an easy option (to keep it vegan sub flax eggs or vegan egg).
Tips for storing and reheating
This soup is a great one to have on hand for leftovers. I love making a double batch and keeping it for later in the week. It gets tastier each time you heat it up, just like the tradition says!
The only thing I would caution on is to be careful if you are not a huge mushy bread lover like me. But I have you covered! Here is how I avoid this:
- Make the soup base, stop before adding the bread and red onion.
- Keep the base in the fridge or freeze for later use.
- Keep cubed bread, chopped red onion, and Parmesan if using, prepped and ready.
- When ready to eat, bring soup back to room temp then add the bread and red onion (and Parmesan) and broil like directions say.
- Author: a Couple Cooks
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4 servings 1 x
This ribollita recipe is a hearty Tuscan vegetable stew, loaded with veggies and thickened with bread. A flavor-packed vegan and vegetarian dinner idea!
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 1 zucchini
- 1 tomato
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale
- 1 handful parsley
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 10 sage leaves
- 15 -ounce can cannellini beans (or 1 ½ cups cooked)
- 1 quart vegetable stock and fresh ground pepper
- Multigrain or wholegrain sourdough bread
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- . Peel and dice the carrot and zucchini. Dice the tomato. Mince the garlic. Roughly chop the kale. Remove the leaves from the parsley.
- In a large saucepan or pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion garlic, carrots, red pepper flakes, and sage and cook over low heat for 20 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the parsley, tomato, and zucchini and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the kale and beans (drained if canned), and cover with vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
- Chop the bread into cubes. To serve, arrange the bread cubes in the soup and add Parmesan cheese shavings and a drizzle of olive oil.
Keywords: Ribollita, Italian Soup, Tuscan Vegetable Stew, Vegetable Soup, Ribollita Recipe, Vegetarian Soup, Vegan Soup, Italian Soup
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- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 zucchini, sliced
- 4 (14 ounce) cans vegetable stock
- 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans
- 1 (14 ounce) can chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ¼ cup pesto
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 (16 ounce) bag fresh spinach
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat saute onion, carrots, celery, and garlic until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add zucchini and cook until slightly softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir vegetable stock, cannellini beans, chopped tomatoes, chicken stock, and pesto into vegetable mixture bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until vegetables are tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat saute spinach until wilted, about 5 minutes. Spoon sauteed spinach into each serving bowl ladle soup over spinach.