Ribollita Recipe + Video (2024)

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A classic Tuscan Ribollita soup recipe made with seasonal vegetables, creamy white beans and kale then thickened with chunks of garlic bruschetta instead of the more traditional stale bread. It’s best made ahead a day or two so the deep flavors get a chance to marry before reheating into a delicious meatless pot of goodness.

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Ribollita Soup

Zuppa di Ribollita (pronounced ri-bow-lee-tah) which means reboiled in Italian is basically yesterday’s leftover vegetable soup thickened up with stale day old bread to make a hearty meal of things. It is a classic example of “la cucina povera” which means “poor kitchen or peasant cooking style”, making the best of what you have.

A heartier version of Pappa al Pomodoro and a truly authentic Zuppa Toscana, this soup changes with the seasons and what vegetables and herbs are available; the only constant seems to be the bread. With the exception of vegetable noodle soup, I’m pretty sure every other soup was a bread soup in our home growing up. It’s just how you stretched out the leftovers to feed the entire family.

About the Bread

Let’s be unapologetically frank about the fact that there’s nothing exciting about stale bread. After all that’s why it gets added to a rich and flavorful broth, to give it a new life and turn it into something delicious.

However, I’m here to encourage you to stray a little bit from tradition and swap the authentic stale bread for classic bruschetta. Thick slices of crusty bread are grilled and rubbed with garlic on both sides then brushed with olive oil and seasoned with salt. Tear into bite size pieces straight into the soup just before serving, you want the bottom half to soak up the broth while the very top stays nice and crunchy.

Ingredient Notes

  • Leeks – Lots of slowly caramelized leeks make the super flavorful base of this soup while also boosting its nutritional profile. Use everything, white and green parts they are all delicious once melted down and caramelized around the edges. They add plenty of natural sweetness to the broth so you can skip the carrots.
  • Celery – The second layer of flavor comes from 2 stalks of celery, can’t argue with this lovely aromatic, it makes everything better.
  • Rosemary – A classic Tuscan herb gives the broth that slow cooked depth of flavor, if you aren’t a fan replace with a tablespoon of oregano and call it a day.
  • Kale – Lacino Kale or Cavalo Nero also known as Tuscan kale and black kale is the classic dark leafy green to use here. Chopped up in bite size pieces it wilts beautifully in the hot soup and is one of the most nutrient packed vegetables on the planet. If you simply aren’t a fan swap for baby kale or maybe chard, spinach or even mustard greens, just get some dark leafy greens in there.
  • Cannellini Beans – A small 15 oz can of these white Italian beans is all you want. Mash about half of them with your hand (or a food processor if you wanna be fancy) before adding to the soup in order to create some natural creaminess. This soup is as much about the rustic textures as it is about flavor, you want layers of both.
  • San Marzano Tomatoes – My favorite tomato for a soup, a great sauce and nobody can change my mind about it. Start with whole canned tomatoes and crush them with your hands making sure to keep plenty of texture here. You want to see little pieces of tomato mingling with the leeks and beans.
  • Nutritional Yeast vs parmesan rind – Nutritional yeast adds a delicious umami flavor and lots of vitamins to the soup so you can feel good about eating as much as you like. It’s also worth noting that parmesan cheese is not even vegetarian, there’s a brand called Violife however that makes a pretty impressive pure vegetarian parmesan wedge all from plants.

Recipe Tips

  • Add Ins – There are many directions you can take this soup so don’t feel like you must adhere to the exact recipe. During the colder months I love adding roasted broccoli florets, sweet potato or butternut squash. Roasted spaghetti squash is really nice here too, so are roasted heirloom carrots and shredded cabbage, go for whatever is in season. For a summer version think yellow squash, zucchini, bell peppers and Italian yellow flat beans. Add more water if you prefer a more broth-y version.
  • Storage + Reheating – A great soup for the freezer but hold off on the bread. I prefer to only add as much bruschetta as we are going to eat at once. Reheat the leftover soup on the stovetop and as soon as it comes to a boil add your bread and serve. If refrigerating leftovers with the bread mixed in, it will soak up all or most of the broth and you’ll have to eat it with a fork. Much like a bread stuffing this version will need to be reheated in the oven and you should place it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up the top. Alternatively you can literally make some pancakes in a hot cast iron skillet with a little olive oil. In any case all leftovers make a spectacular new meal no matter how you go about it.
  • Minestrone vs Ribollita – Two Italian classic vegetable soups, minestrone is stretched out by the addition of small shaped pasta or farro while ribollita soup is thickened up with bread, or in our case bruschetta for the alla Florentina rendition!

More Italian Soups

  • White Bean Soup
  • Minestrone
  • Vegan Mushroom Soup
  • Vegetarian Zuppa Toscana
  • Pasta e Ceci
  • Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup
  • Italian Lentil Soup
  • Mushroom Stew.

watch how to make Ribollita soup recipe video

Ribollita Recipe + Video (6)

5 from 3 votes

Ribollita Recipe

A classic Tuscan Ribollita soup recipe made with seasonal vegetables, creamy white beans and kale then thickened with chunks of garlic bruschetta instead of the stale bread. It's best made ahead a day or two so the deep flavors get a chance to marry before reheating into a delicious meatless pot of goodness.

Print Recipe

Prep Time:10 minutes mins

Cook Time:50 minutes mins

Total Time:1 hour hr

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb leeks
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 1 carrot peeled & chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 red chili pepper or red pepper flakes to taste
  • 28 oz canned San Marzano tomatoes whole
  • 15 oz canned cannellini beans (or home cooked leftover beans)
  • 1 bunch Tuscan Lacinato kale stemmed & chopped
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast optional but recommended
  • 6-7 cups water
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley roughly chopped

Bruschetta

  • 6 slices crusty bread 1 inch thick
  • 2-3 cloves garlic whole
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

Instructions

  • Chop the leeks and add them to a large bowl of cold water. Allow all the sand and grit to sink to the bottom of the bowl. Using your hands or a slotted spoon scoop out the leeks, transfer to a colander and allow them to drain well.

    1.5 lb leeks

  • Preheat a heavy bottom soup put over medium heat. Add a light drizzle of olive oil and saute the leeks with a pinch of salt until wilted and all the moisture has evaporate. Add another light drizzle of olive oil and continue cooking until the leeks start to show a little caramelization around the edges. Stir in the chili pepper / chili flakes if using.

    1.5 lb leeks, 1/2 red chili pepper

  • Add the celery (+ carrot if using) and saute a few minutes until it starts to soften.

    2 celery stalks, 1 carrot peeled & chopped

  • Meanwhile open the San Marzano tomatoes, transfer to a bowl and using your hand crush them just until a rustic texture is achieved. Add to the pot with the leeks together with the rosemary, thyme and bay.

    28 oz canned San Marzano tomatoes, 2 sprigs rosemary, 2 bay leaves, 8 sprigs thyme

  • Open the can of beans, drain and rinse and lightly crush about half of them before adding to the soup pot together with the nutritional yeast and a good pinch of sea salt.

    15 oz canned cannellini beans, 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • Pour in the water and bring to a gentle boil. Partially cover with a lid and cook for a good 35 to 45 minutes.

    6-7 cups water

  • Stir in the chopped kale and cook a few more minutes just until wilted. Remove from heat and adjust seasonings to taste with more sea and chili flakes. Discard the sprigs from rosemary and thyme at this point.

    1 bunch Tuscan Lacinato kale, sea salt to taste

Make the Bruschetta

  • Grill your bread slices on a hot cast iron skillet until nice grill marks show on both sides. Generously rub both sides with the garlic clove and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

    6 slices crusty bread, 2-3 cloves garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil, sea salt to taste

  • Tear a couple of slices of the bruschetta over the pot of soup and let it soak some of the broth while infusing it with a garlicky salty layer of flavor. Sprinkle with the fresh parsley.

    6 slices crusty bread, 1/2 cup Italian parsley

  • Ladle the ribollita into bowls then tear a few more pieces of bruschetta on top of each individual bowl. Serve hot!

Video

Notes

  • The Bread - I'm here to encourage you to stray a little bit from tradition and swap the authentic stale bread for classic bruschetta. Thick slices of crusty bread are grilled and rubbed with garlic on both sides then brushed with olive oil and seasoned with salt. Tear into bite size pieces straight into the soup just before serving, you want the bottom half to soak up the broth while the very top stays nice and crunchy. This is what really makes an exquisite ribollita soup in my honest opinion.
  • Add Ins - There are many directions you can take this soup so don't feel like you must adhere to the exact recipe. During the colder months I love adding roasted broccoli florets, sweet potato or butternut squash. Roasted spaghetti squash is really nice here too, so are roasted heirloom carrots and shredded cabbage, go for whatever is in season in your area. For a summer version think yellow squash, zucchini, bell peppers and Italian yellow flat beans. Add more water if you like a more broth-y version or if you end up using way more veggies.
  • Storage + Reheating - A great soup for the freezer but hold off on the bread. I prefer to only add as much bread/ bruschetta as we are going to eat at once. Reheat the leftover soup on the stovetop and as soon as it comes to a boil add your bread and serve. If refrigerating leftovers with the bread mixed in, it will soak up all or most of the broth and you'll have to eat it with a fork. Much like a bread stuffing this version will need to be reheated in the oven and you should place it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up the top. Alternatively you can literally make some pancakes in a hot cast iron skillet with a little olive oil. In any case all leftovers make a spectacular new meal no matter how you go about it.

Nutrition

Calories: 499kcal | Carbohydrates: 84g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 570mg | Potassium: 1355mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 8898IU | Vitamin C: 95mg | Calcium: 286mg | Iron: 10mg

Course: Soup

Cuisine: Italian

Keyword: bread soup, ribollita, vegetable soup

Servings: 6 people

Calories: 499kcal

Author: Florentina

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Ribollita Recipe + Video (2024)

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