This recipe for Tuscan Ribollita soup is a riff on classic minestrone. This vegetarian soup is chock full of white beans, kale, and day old bread. Don't forget a healthy dose of Parmesan on top!
Tuscan Ribollita soup is one of those wonderful recipes where basically anything goes. It's clean-out-your-kitchen-soup. It's a let-me-empty-my-pantry weeknight recipe.
This traditional Italian soup is so incredibly easy to pull together that you really can't go wrong no matter how you make it. Not to mention, it's affordable and healthy, too!
I first tasted this soup on a family trip to Florence, and I was astounded by the addition of bread as a thickener inside the soup. Now, I'd seen soup topped with croutons, or served with slices of bread on the side. I'd even had soup served INSIDE of a bread bowl, but heck, soup with big pieces of bread mixed right in the actual cooking pot? Never.
This technique is absolutely brilliant and perfect for using up that little bread butt that's sitting in your kitchen right now.
Tuscan ribollita is so healthy too. We've got kale, white beans, potatoes and lots of soul-warming broth to heat you from the inside out.
MMM... just thinking about makes me want grab a blanket and a book and curl up with a bowl. Let's talk some more about all of the elements that make this recipe delicious.
Why is it called "Ribollita"?
The name of this soup literally translates to "reboiled" because in the olden days, Tuscan ribollita was made by reboiling leftover minestrone soup with stale bread. Talk about no waste!
Why do you add stale bread to the soup?
Bread thickens this soup up nicely, making it hearty for a cooler fall or winter evening.
Stale bread works well in this recipe because it holds shape and texture and body for the most part, even when it's sitting in boiling hot broth. If you don't have any stale bread, you could use chunks of toasted bread.
One thing to keep in mind: add bread only to the amount of soup you are serving. So, if you're making a big pot of soup but only going to eat one or two bowls, warm up a portion of the soup, add bread, and save the rest for later. This way, the soup lasts longer and the bread doesn't get TOO soggy from sitting in ribollita for days.
What can I substitute for bread?
If you are gluten-free or prefer not to eat bread, you can cook the soup as is and just leave out the bread.
Alternatively, toast up some cubes of gluten-free bread and add them into the soup just before serving!
What type of kale do you use?
I like to use cavolo nero, also called lacinto, Tuscan, or dinosaur kale, for this soup. You can also use Swiss chard!
If using a soft green like baby spinach, add it 2 minutes before serving so that it stays bright; it cooks much faster than kale!
What kind of beans are best for ribollita?
I like to use cannellini beans, but this recipe is meant to be made with whatever you have on hand.
You can use any beans/greens/root vegetables that you like.
Why do you add Parmesan rind to the soup? Where do you find it?
Adding Parmesan rind to soup adds a punch of salty, nutty flavor that can't be described as anything other than umami! Just add a hunk at the start of cooking time and pluck it out before serving!
Save your rinds when buying Parmesan, or go to the cheese counter at your local cheese monger or Whole Foods and ask them to buy some. You can store rinds in the freezer for a few months!
Please note: other types of cheese rinds won't work well. Stick with parm!
Why does the recipe call for marinara sauce OR canned tomatoes?
You can use either, depending on what you have on hand! You could even use fresh tomatoes, if they were in season and you wanted to use them up. Just make sure to cook them down really well before adding broth to the pot- at least 15 minutes on a medium high-heat.
Can you use dried herbs in place of fresh herbs?
Yes, you can use any dried spices you have on hand such as rosemary, oregano or thyme.Print
a classic Tuscan soup, similar to minestrone, made with canned tomatoes, white beans, lacinto kale and thickened with day old bread
- 1 carrot (minced)
- 1 small or ½ large onion (minced)
- 1 stalk celery (minced)
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (stems removed + finely chopped)
- 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme (stems removed + finely chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 can of white beans (preferably cannellini, drained and rinsed well)
- 1 Idaho or 2 Yukon gold potatoes (peeled + cubed)
- ½ bunch of kale (stems removed and chopped in thin strips)
- 12 oz marinara sauce or canned diced tomatoes
- 1 32oz box of broth (chicken or vegetable)
- 2 cups of water
- 1 inch long piece of parmesan rind
- 2-3 slices peasant bread, toasted or stale (I used Bread Alone brand, cut into large cubes)
- extra-virgin olive oil
- salt + pepper
- Heat up a large pot with a few tablespoons of olive oil. When hot, add carrot, onion and celery. Cover and cook for ~10 minutes, until the vegetables start to brown and the onions are translucent.
- Add remaining ingredients, except kale and bread. Season your soup with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Bring the soup up to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer. Allow the soup to simmer for one hour.
- After an hour, remove the parmesan rind. Discard.
- Taste soup and add salt or pepper if necessary. Once you are happy with the seasoning, add kale. After 5 minutes, add bread. Use a silicone spatula to stir and break up some of the bread chunks.
- Serve immediately with a little fresh basil + grated parmesan on top if you’ve got it! This soup will last in the fridge for a few days, or you can freeze it for up to 3 months.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Soups
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: tuscan, tuscan soup, tuscan food, minestrone, ribollita, stale bread
Want more soup? Try a bowl of my simplest (and most delicious) vegan cauliflower soup.