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Ribollita – Tuscany’s Famous Soup

Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 75 minutes
  • Vegetarian
Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

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Why we love it:

Ribollita means “Re-Boil” in Italian, so this soup is meant to be cooked, cooled, and reboiled. You can eat it the same night, but it will be thicker and more flavorful the next night and delicious for up to 5 days in the fridge. This is one of the first dishes I learned to cook and I still love cooking it. It’s so humble and so good.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Cannellini Beans (dried beans here - see notes if using canned)
  • 1 Onion (medium, small dice)
  • 2 ribs Celery (small dice)
  • 1 Carrot (small dice)
  • 3 cloves Garlic (finally minced)
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 5 cups Water
  • 112 teaspoons Kosher Salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1 Parmesan Cheese (rind)
  • 1 Roma Tomato (small dice)
  • 2 Russet Potatos (large - peeled and diced in ⅓” cubes)
  • 1 bunch Lacinato Kale (washed and stems removed)
  • 12 head Savoy Cabbage (or green cabbage, core removed and cut into 1-2” squares)
  • 2 pinchs Fresh Thyme (I wouldn't use dried, it's too intense. Just use 1 sprig or so)
  • 2 Zucchinis (about ½ a pound or so)
  • 12 pound Italian Bread (crusty - sliced including the crusts)
  • Black Pepper (to taste)

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. BEANS

    If you can soak the beans overnight in lots of water, please do that! On the counter at room temperature is ok.

  • 2. SOFFRITTO (Just a fancy word for diced onions, celery, carrots, and garlic.)

    Dice the onions, celery, carrot. Mince the garlic.

    Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and when its shimmering, add the diced veggies.

    When you start to smell the veggies, turn heat down to medium and stir occasionally for about 4 - 5 minutes.

  • 3. LIQUID + TOMATOES

    When the veggies are translucent and the pot is gently steaming, add 5 cups of water and 1 heaping teaspoon of salt and the parmesan rind (if using). Stir to combine.

    Dice the tomato, add to the soup. The skin and juices can go in as well.
    Peel and dice the potato, add it to the soup.

    Bring the pot to a boil, you can cover it all the way or partially to help this happen more quickly. When it does boil, stir well and turn heat to medium and maintain a full simmer (ie the pot has a bubble appearing and popping constantly but not splattering or disrupting the entire surface).

    Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are mostly tender.

  • 4. GREENS

    While its simmering, prep the greens. Wash the kale and remove the stems by pinching the stem between your forefinger and thumb and slide it along to pull off the leaves. Stack the leaves and chop into ½” long strips, then cut in ½ (in line with where the stem ran) to make approximate squares.

    Chop the cabbage in ½ and remove the outermost leaf if its browned or dry. Cut in ½ again, to make a quarter of the cabbage and expose the root. You can now make a triangular cut on the quarter pieces to remove the core but not waste the edible leaves.

    Lay each quarter flat and chop into squares.

    Add the kale and cabbage to the soup, stir to combine. Add the thyme as well.

    Boil soup for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are completely tender. Stir occasionally during this time and be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to keep the beans from sticking.

  • 5. ADD THE BEANS

    When the beans are completely tender, puree about ½ of them with about ½ of the cooking liquid. Stir this puree and the remaining whole beans, and all of the cooking liquid into the soup pot. Return to a simmer.

  • 6. ZUCCHINI

    Wash and dice the zucchini. Add it in.

    Cook for a final 10 minutes or so. Taste and add more salt if needed.

  • 7. REBOIL + BREAD

    You can either serve it now. Plate a slice or cubes of bread in a large bowl and pour the soup over it - or to truly make "Ribollita" - that is RE-BOILED soup, cool it completely and plan to eat it later.

    If you’ve made the soup ahead, bring to back to a boil and stir in the bread cubes or slices. Add they heat and soak up the broth, use a spoon to break the pieces apart.

    When hot, ladle in bowls. Top with a swirl of high quality olive oil (if its not really good olive oil, just skip it) and lots of freshly grated parmesan cheese and black pepper if you like.

  • 8. SERVING

    When hot, ladle in bowls. Top with a swirl of high quality olive oil (if its not really good olive oil, just skip it) and lots of freshly grated parmesan cheese and black pepper if you like.

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Substitutions

  • GLUTEN FREE:
    I wouldn’t sub GF bread here, I’d just leave out the bread and reduce the water to 4 cups and I’d also boil the soup without a lid to encourage the soup to thicken
  • DAIRY FREE:
    it mostly is as written, just leave out the parmesan rind and garnish
  • LOW CARB:
    if you’re worried about the bread, you can certainly leave it out by following the GF instructions, or serve bread on the side for dipping in, or reduce the bread by half so you get a little of the classic taste without a large bread portion
  • PALEO:
    sub out the beans! Double the celery and carrots. Add 2 diced zucchini, 1 diced head of cauliflower, and use chicken stock instead of water
  • BEAN FREE:
    sub out the beans! Double the celery and carrots. Add 2 diced zucchini, 1 diced head of cauliflower, and use chicken stock instead of water. Also, consider adding a small pasta at the end and its more like a minestrone. 1 cup of lentils, rice or barley would be great too. This will make a delicious soup but it's not ribollita without beans
  • CANNED BEANS:
    I have done this, it's tasty but you do lose the velvet texture of the bean cooking broth. Use 2 cans of low-sodium beans, and puree one of them (with the can liquid). Add both to the soup with the water
  • PARMESAN:
    if you have a whole chunk of “Parmigiano Reggiano” you’ll have a tough, yellow rind with red dots on it spelling out the name of the cheese. This is the kind you want - cut this rind off (or always save them in your freezer!) and toss this whole thing into the boiling soup to add a meaty “umami flavor.” If you don’t have this parmesan, just add 1 teaspoon of the cheese you have to the soup at the end and stir it in

Kid Friendly Version

Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • This one will vary wildly by kids’ preferences
  • Do they eat soup at all? If so, there’s lots of good stuff in here, you can ladle out a bowl without tomato chunks or too much kale, etc. and they’ll probably go for it
  • If not, separate out some white beans when they’re cooked. Toast some bread into garlic bread
  • Add some of the diced veggies as raw or sautéed veggies

For Toddlers

  • Remove some of the greens which can be hard to chew and serve a bowl that’s mostly beans and veggies. You can puree it for them too

For Choosy Eaters

  • I’d serve scrambled eggs on toast. A small taste of beans and some raw veggies on the side
  • If they’ll try broth, you can ladle some out without much else in it...maybe look for a few potatoes

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. Made to be cooked ahead! Don’t add any bread and let it cool. When you go to serve it, boil and add the bread to the portion you’ll eat now. Add bread to it as you eat it. Portions leftover with bread taste great for a day or 2 but it will get too thick
  2. Freezes like dream – don’t add bread yet
  3. If using dried beans – soak dry beans overnight and boil them a day or 2 ahead; save the bean broth for the soup!
Rate this recipe:
6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 56 votes, average: 5.00 out of 56 votes, average: 5.00 out of 56 votes, average: 5.00 out of 56 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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