Ribollita Italian bean soup combines a variety of vegetables with beans, broth, wine, garlic, and seasonings. The resulting white bean kale soup is hearty, healthy and delicious. You can get creative with it, adding in any veggies in the salad drawer you wish to use up or anything approaching the end of its prime. This simple Italian soup recipe is sometimes known as Tuscan bean soup or Italian bread and vegetable soup.
This Italian bread and vegetable soup is known for being thick and filling. It makes a warming lunch or you could enjoy its fresh and delicious flavours for dinner, perhaps with crusty bread served on the side. If you’re on the lookout for a simple Italian soup recipe, try this one!
Tuscan Bean Soup Ingredients
The beans and vegetables are the main part of this white bean kale soup. Cannellini beans work nicely or you could sub another kind of bean for the white beans. Tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and kale also go into the mix, bringing plenty of nutrients as well as flavour to the simple Italian soup recipe.
You will also need chicken broth for this ribollita Italian bean soup. Bread works as a thickener and you can choose from Italian or sourdough. More flavour comes from white wine, garlic, bay leaves, Italian seasoning, rosemary, red and black pepper, salt, olive oil, and some cheese for a garnish.
How to Make Ribollita Italian Bean Soup
Chop the veggies and sauté in oil for a few minutes. Add the garlic, seasonings and spices and cook for a little longer. Next add the tomatoes to the Tuscan bean soup and throw in the white wine too.
By now your Italian bread and vegetable soup will smell pretty good! Now you can add the broth and beans and then simmer the soup for half an hour.
Next add the kale to your ribollita Italian bean soup as well as cubes of bread. If you smoosh the bread with a wooden spoon you will see it start to thicken the soup up. So add it bit by bit and stop when the white bean kale soup is thick enough.
Serve the finished ribollita Italian bean soup with a drizzle of olive oil and some grated parmesan on top. You can also omit one or both but I find they balance out the flavour of the soup. Use a good quality extra-virgin olive oil for the best result, along with freshly-grated parmesan cheese.
The next best thing to actually eating at a restaurant Under the Tuscan Sun is enjoying a bowlful of this rich and delicious authentic Italian soup. Close your eyes and you can imagine you’re in a trattoria or ‘ristorante’ with every satisfying mouthful of Tuscan bean soup.
If you want to try something new, add some toasted slices of bread or large croutons on top of the finished soup. Sprinkle over the parmesan or your favourite Italian cheese (and maybe some chopped parsley too) then broil it for a minute to melt the cheese.
“Ribollita”: What it means in English
“Bollita” is the Italian word for “boiled” and “ribollita” means “re-boiled”. This soup was designed to make a soup which could be warmed back up the following day to make a new soup. You can add extra things to it the following day to add flavour and make it go further. The soup was initially developed as a way to use up stale bread, since it’s used to thicken the soup. Another great way to use stale bread, well bagels in this case, is to make a bagel bake casserole.
Tuscan Bean Soup FAQs
This Italian bread and vegetable soup will keep for up to 4 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Another option is to freeze and that way it will be fine for 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator then warm it back up in the microwave or in a pan on the stove.
The great thing about ribollita Italian bean soup is you can add whatever you like to it. Start with a chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you prefer) and then you can use the veggies suggested in the recipe or else choose your own. Anything goes in this Tuscan bean soup really, including spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, and peas.
Sweet potato, white potato or yam will also add flavour but bear in mind these are starchy ingredients which can thicken the soup and, if you’re also using bread, it might end up too thick. This isn’t an issue since you can always just add extra broth, but it’s worth knowing. Oh and I imagine seasonal favourites like pumpkin or rutabaga would also be good. In fact all kinds of vegetables work in this tasty white bean kale soup!
Ribollita Italian Bean Soup Recipe
Simple Ribollita Italian Bean Soup
- 5 ½ Cups chicken broth
- 4 Ounces bread Italian or sourdough
- 1 Can cannellini beans 16 Ounces, rinsed, drained
- 4 tomatoes peeled, chopped
- 2 carrots chopped
- 1 Stalk celery chopped
- 1 red onion chopped
- 1 Bunch kale chopped
- ½ Cup white wine
- 6 Cloves garlic minced
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ Teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ Teaspoon rosemary dried
- ½ Teaspoon black pepper
- ½ Teaspoon salt
- ¼ Teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil plus more for garnish
- Parmesan cheese for garnish
- In the bottom of a soup pan, drizzle 2 to 3 Tablespoons of olive oil. Add the carrots, onions, and celery to the pan. Sauté the vegetables on medium high until they begin to soften.
- Add the minced garlic, and all of the spices and seasonings to the pan, mix well and continue to sauté until the garlic starts to gain a little caramel colour.
- Add the tomatoes to the pan and sauté for another couple minutes, then deglaze the pan with the white wine.
- Add the broth and cannellini beans to the pan, bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for at least 30 minutes.
- While the soup simmers, cut the bread into 1” cubes, set aside.
- After the soup has simmered for at least 30 minutes, add in the kale. Let cook until the kale is tender, then add in some cubed bread, starting with approximately 4 ounces., adding more as needed. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to push the bread into the soup, the bread will begin to break down. You can let it break down as much or as little as you would like. The bread will thicken the soup, this soup can be eaten as a lightly thickened soup or as a thick stew, almost porridge-like in texture.
- Serve garnished with parmesan cheese, olive oil, and additional bread!
- Store in an airtight container, bring to a boil the next day for even more flavor.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
The next time you want to whip up a simple Italian soup recipe, consider ribollita Italian bean soup. One big pot will last for days and you can add extra ingredients to it every day, making this a very popular choice in Italy.
This looks just delicious. I have had this when I travelled to Italy.