Ribollita is a Tuscan soup made from beans, vegetables and bread. It was a means to “use up” the vegetables in your garden and stale bread. Basically, any vegetable soup can be used to make ribollita, but a traditional ribollita soup recipe always include beans, kale and stale bread. Ribollita literally means “re-boiled”. Cooks would make a pot of vegetable soup one day, then to make it slightly different, they would add kale and any other cooked veggies they had on hand. They would bring the soup to a boil, turn down the heat, then add the stale bread cubes and continue cooking until the bread just started breaking down. The pureed beans and soggy bread give this soup a creamy texture without the addition of dairy.
Of course, if you make the soup with vegetable stock, it is a vegetarian dish. Also, some people will add shredded chicken. The soup can also be cooked until all the liquid has cooked off, then it can be scooped onto a lightly greased griddle and cooked like a pancake. The veggie pancake is a wonderful side dish for a protein main dish. Many cooks will make this soup the day before, up to the point of adding the bread. The next day the soup is reheated, the bread is added, and it is ready to serve.
We loved this Ribollita Soup Recipe so much I know it will be made often. It is a delicious way to add kale into your diet!
Ribollita Soup Recipe Ingredients
- Two 15-ounce cans cannellini or navy beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (1 cup)
- 2 ribs celery, diced (1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 – 2 medium zucchinis, diced ( 1 1/2 cups)
- One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, plus their juices
- 1 spring rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- Leaves from 1 bunch of kale (12 ounces) cut into ribbons
- 2 cups cubed day-old whole-grain bread, crusts removed
- Freshly grated or shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
Ribollita Soup Recipe Directions
Remove crusts from sliced bread and cube. Allow to dry out. (Best if done the day before.)
Combine 1 can of drained and rinsed beans with 1/2 cup of the broth. Puree in a food processor.
Heat oil in a stock pot over medium heat. When heated, add the onion, carrots and celery. Cook for 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened. Do not brown.
Stir in garlic and zucchini. Cook for 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes one at a time, crushing them in your hand or the side of the pot to break them up. Pour in the tomato juice.
Add the bean-broth puree, the remaining can of drained and rinsed beans, the remaining 3 1/2 cups broth, the rosemary spring, bay leaves, basil, oregano, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix well. Increase the heat to medium high just until it begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove rosemary and bay leaves from pot. Add kale and again, increase heat to medium high and just bring to a boil. Reduce to low and continue cooking for 15 minutes.
You can now cool, cover and refrigerate the soup for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, bring soup back up to a boil, reduce heat to low, and add bread cubes. Remove from heat and serve when bread cubes are soggy and starting to break down.
Fresh grated cheese can be added to individual bowls, if desired.