Ribollita is a delicious and comforting Tuscan soup that is packed with flavorful vegetables and beans. It’s the perfect dish to warm you up on a chilly evening. One of the best things about this recipe is that it can be easily adapted to suit a variety of dietary needs. To make it suitable for vegans and vegetarians, we have swapped out chicken broth for a vegetable broth, however if you fancy a meaty alternative, simply use meat based stock or broth.
This recipe is a great way to use up any stale bread you may have on hand, and the combination of cannellini beans and vegetables makes it a filling and satisfying meal. The soup gets its name from the Italian word “ribollire,” which means “reboil,” as it is traditionally made by reheating leftovers from the previous day. This hearty soup is a great way to use up leftovers and make a delicious meal out of them.
Ribollita is a great recipe for those who are looking for an easy, delicious, and healthy meal that can be easily adapted to suit a variety of dietary needs. This recipe is versatile, delicious, and perfect for a cold night. Give it a try and enjoy the comforting flavors of Tuscany in your own home!
Italian Ribollita Vegetable Soup Recipe Ingredients and Instructions
Here is our recipe for Ribollita Soup with both metric and imperial measurements:
- 450g cannellini beans, soaked overnight
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 head of cavolo nero or kale, chopped
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 225g stale bread, cut into small cubes
- 4 cups (1 liter) vegetable broth (or use meat based broth for meat eaters 🙂
- 2 cups (500ml) water
- 60ml olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Grated Parmesan cheese or olive oil, for garnish (use a vegan parmesan cheese alternative or nutritional yeast for vegans)
- Drain and rinse the soaked cannellini beans.
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the carrots and celery, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the cavolo nero or kale and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the diced tomatoes, and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the cannellini beans, chicken or vegetable broth, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour, or until the beans are tender.
- Stir in the bread cubes and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the bread is soft and the soup has thickened.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve the soup warm, garnished with grated Parmesan cheese or a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
You can use different veggies like zucchini, chard, spinach or even add some tofu, seitan or for meat eaters sausage or pancetta to this recipe.
If you don’t have cannellini beans, there are a few alternatives you can use in this recipe for Ribollita Soup:
- Great Northern Beans: Great Northern Beans are a good substitute for cannellini beans and can be found in most supermarkets. They have a similar texture and taste, making them a great alternative.
- Navy Beans: Another bean that can be used in place of cannellini beans are navy beans. They are smaller than cannellini beans, but have a similar texture and taste.
- Chickpeas: Chickpeas can also be used as a substitute in this recipe. They will give the soup a slightly different texture, but will still be a tasty alternative.
- Lentils: Lentils are another alternative, they are different in texture and flavor, but it can work perfectly in the recipe, give the soup a creamy texture, and add a nutty flavor.
- Potatoes: If you don’t have any kind of beans, potatoes can work as a replacement and can give the soup a creamy texture.
Remember that using different beans or other ingredient will change the final taste of the dish, so you can adjust seasoning and flavors accordingly.
What Is Cavolo Nero and Substitutions
Cavolo Nero, also known as Tuscan Kale or Lacinato Kale, is a type of Italian kale that is commonly used in Tuscan cuisine. It is a dark green leafy vegetable with a slightly bitter taste and a sturdy texture. It can be eaten raw or cooked, and is often used in soups, stews, and pasta dishes.
To prepare Cavolo Nero, you can remove the thick stems and then wash and dry the leaves. It can be sliced or chopped as desired and added to your dish.
If you don’t have Cavolo Nero, there are a few alternatives you can use in this recipe:
- Kale: Regular kale is a good substitute for Cavolo Nero. It has a slightly more bitter taste, but can be used in the same way.
- Swiss chard: Swiss chard is another leafy green that can be used in place of Cavolo Nero. It has a milder taste and a softer texture, but can still be used in soups and stews.
- Spinach: Spinach can also be used as a substitute. It has a milder taste and a softer texture, so you may need to adjust the seasoning and cooking time accordingly.
- Collard greens: Collard greens have a similar texture to Cavolo Nero and can be used in soups, stews, and pasta dishes.
- Broccoli rabe: Broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, has a slightly bitter taste and a sturdy texture, similar to Cavolo Nero, and can be used in soups, stews and pasta dishes.
Tips for Cooking Ribollita a Tuscan Vegetable Soup
Here are a few tips for cooking Ribollita Soup:
- Soak the beans overnight: Soaking the beans overnight will help to soften them and reduce the cooking time.
- Use stale bread: Using stale bread will help to thicken the soup and add a nice texture. If you don’t have stale bread, you can toast it in the oven for a few minutes to dry it out.
- Use a variety of vegetables: Adding a variety of vegetables will give the soup more depth of flavor. You can use different vegetables like carrots, celery, onion, tomato, zucchini, chard, spinach, etc.
- Season to taste: Taste the soup as it cooks and adjust the seasoning as needed. Keep in mind that the flavor of the soup will change as the bread absorbs the liquid.
- Cook low and slow: Cooking the soup over low heat for a longer period of time will help to develop the flavors and ensure that the beans and vegetables are cooked through.
- Serve with grated Parmesan cheese or a drizzle of olive oil: The soup will be delicious on its own, but the addition of Parmesan cheese or a drizzle of olive oil will add some extra flavor and richness.
- Reheat leftovers: Ribollita is perfect for leftovers, it will be even more flavorful the next day, as the flavors will have time to meld together.
- Be creative: Ribollita is a very versatile recipe, you can change the veggies, add different meats, and play with the seasonings to make it your own.
Here’s a video which shows an alternative way to make this Tuscan vegetable soup
How to Serve Ribollita Tuscan Vegetable Soup
Ribollita is a hearty and comforting soup that is typically served as a main dish. Here are a few ways to serve it:
- As is: The soup can be served as is, in bowls with a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese on top.
- With a side salad: A simple side salad of mixed greens, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, can be a nice contrast to the rich and hearty soup.
- With a crusty bread: Serve the soup with a crusty bread, such as a baguette or a ciabatta, to help soak up the broth and add some extra texture to the dish.
- With a side of pasta: Some pasta, like a small shells or spaghetti, can be added to the soup, making it even more hearty, it can also be served on top of the soup.
- As a dip: You can serve the Ribollita chilled, as a dip with some crostini or crackers.
- As a sandwich: You can also serve the thickened soup as a sandwich by placing it in a toasted bun, with some cheese and vegetables on top.
The key is to keep it simple and let the flavors of the soup shine through. Remember that you can also adjust the seasoning to your taste before serving.
And that’s it for now 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this recipe for Ribollita soup! This classic Tuscan dish is a great way to use up stale bread and leftover vegetables, and it’s easy to adapt to suit a variety of dietary needs.
One of the best things about this recipe is its flexibility, you can change the veggies, add different meats, and play with the seasonings to make it your own. It’s perfect for busy weeknights, and the leftovers are even better the next day.
If you enjoyed this recipe, be sure to check out our other recipes. We have a wide range of recipes to suit every taste and dietary need. From classic dishes to modern takes on traditional favorites, we have something for everyone. Enjoy experimenting with new flavors and ingredients, and happy cooking!