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Ribollita – Tuscany’s Famous Soup

Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 75 minutes
  • Vegetarian
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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. See culinary skills for using canned beans. This is one of the first dishes I learned to cook and I still love cooking it. It’s so humble and so good.


  • 3 cups Cannellini Beans (dried beans here - see notes if using canned)
  • 1 Onion (medium, small dice)
  • 3 ribs Celery (small dice)
  • 2 Carrots (small dice)
  • 3 cloves Garlic (finally minced)
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 6 cups Water
  • 112 teaspoons Kosher Salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1 Parmesan Cheese (rind)
  • 2 Roma Tomatos (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. SOAK

    If you can soak the beans overnight in lots of water, please do that! On the counter at room temperature is ok. Cover the beans by at least 5 inches.

  • 2. BEANS

    The next day, drain the beans and fill the pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 45 minutes or until beans are tender but not falling apart. Add a scant teaspoon of kosher salt.

    You can either begin the soup now, or store these beans for later. They'll last 4 days in the fridge or months in the freezer. SAVE THE COOKING LIQUID.

    Puree about 1/3 of the beans with roughly half of the cooking liquid. Set aside until the recipe calls to add this to the soup.

  • 3. VEGGIES

    Dice the onions, celery, carrot. Mince the garlic. Peel the potatoes and dice them.

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

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


    When the veggies are translucent and the pot is gently steaming, add 6 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt and the parmesan rind (if using). Stir to combine. Add the whole beans and their cooking liquid. Add the pureed beans.

    Dice the zucchini and the tomatoes, add both to the soup. The skin and juices can go in as well.

    Bring the pot to a full rolling boil, you can cover it all the way or partially to help this happen more quickly. After it boils, stir well and turn heat down 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. Stir often and stir like you mean it to help the beans emulsify into the broth.

  • 5. 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 roll it like a cigar, chiffonade into 1/4” thick strips.

    Chop the cabbage in ½ and remove the outermost leaf. 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. Chiffonade to make thin strips like the kale.

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

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

    Turn off the pot and STORE THIS SOUP OVERNIGHT. (You can skip this part, but to truly make "Ribollita" - that is, RE-BOILED soup, cool it completely and serve later. It is noticeably better when it sits overnight and boils again tomorrow!)


    The next day, dice your leftover bread into 1 inch squares. Bring the soup to back to a boil and stir in the bread cubes. Let them simmer for 3-4 minutes. (Don't serve the parmesan rind).

  • 7. 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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    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
    it mostly is as written, just leave out the parmesan rind and garnish
    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
    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
    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
    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!

Culinary Skills

If you don’t want to use dried beans, you can use a 28 ounce can of white beans and the liquid. Get low-salt if you can so you control the saltiness of the final soup.

I am all for canned beans and quick recipes, but someday, do try this with dried beans! The bean broth you get from dried beens is creamier and worth the extra day of prep, at least sometimes.

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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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