Ribollita is a glorious hearty tomato, bean and bread stew or soup bulked out with greens my simpler version is vegetarian and delicious.
Using tinned beans and tomatoes means that you can cook this dish in around 45 minutes and it will last for about a week in the fridge.
Tuscan Style Bean and Tomato Soup or Stew
When it comes to creating great meals from store cupboard ingredients Italy has you well covered.
Let’s face it pasta and risotto are a masterful base for turning whatever you have in your cupboard or fridge into a hearty and satisfying meal.
Tuscan ribollita is a less well-known Italian classic, it translates as reboiled in English which screams of its roots.
It was literally yesterday’s soup reboiled and added to, usually with a little old bread and some vegetables or beans or… well, anything that you have lying around!
My recipe sticks to those ideas of frugality although it is made to be quick to cook. It usually provides us with lunches for a few days.
It is for that reason that I add the bread each time I serve it up rather than the more traditional way of throwing it in with the soup.
Incidentally, if you have leftover bread that is a little “firm” another classic Italian recipe to use it up is Panzanella salad. A glorious tomato and bread salad that also is perfect for tomatoes that are a little older too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use dried beans?
Yes, of course, you can use dried beans and there are two ways to do this.
The first is to precook the beans and just make the recipe as I have laid out here.
That means soaking overnight and boiling the beans for anywhere between 1-3 hours depending on type and age or cooking your beans in a pressure cooker for between 25 and 35 minutes.
Can I cook the beans in the soup?
Yes, this is the second option! It adds a wonderful silkiness to the broth, but it does take a lot longer.
Soak your beans overnight, then add the beans in with the stock at step 4. I omit the tomatoes at this point and add them in later. Then cook on low for 2 hours or so depending on your beans. It is important to add a lid for this phase!
Once the beans are cooked I add the tomatoes and cabbage and finish cooking for 10-12 minutes.
If you wanted a recipe where beans are cooked in the soup check out my dump-and-run slow cooker bean soup.
Do I have to use the parmesan rind?
No, it can be omitted, which makes this a tasty vegan soup, but it does add wonderful umami flavour to the dish.
How long will ribollita store?
This will last in the fridge for about a week if stored correctly in an air-tight container. I personally do not think it freezes very well, but technically it is possible and it will last for 3 months.
As I have mentioned above you can keep adding to the stew with leftovers too.
I would usually list a load of sides to enjoy with ribollita here, but it really is the epitome of a one-bowl complete meal.
But it is a meal that is endlessly modifiable, you can change up the veggies in any way you like.
Alternative root vegetables like celeriac, parsnip, swede or sweet potatoes are a great idea. They should be cut to be roughly the same size as the onions and carrots! Add them at step 3 of the recipe.
You can also add regular potatoes but ensure they are waxy. Floury or mealy potatoes will break down and make your soup go gloopy.
You can add peppers if you like and even squash. These need around 12-15 minutes of cooking so add them 2-5 minutes before you add the cabbage. I cut the peppers into quite large cubes 1-2cm and squash into 1cm cubes.
I use savoy cabbage, but feel free to use any old greens like kale or cavolo nero. You can even use spinach, but that only needs a minute to cook.
If you are using spinach only add enough for the meal you are serving because it will go bitter if reheated.
A dash of chilli flakes always goes down well too if you are so inclined.
I only mention specific brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- Medium (20-24cm 8-10″) saucepan.
- Kitchen knife.
- Chopping board.
- Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
- Griddle pan.
If I want hearty tasty peasant food I rarely look further than Italy, this Tuscan ribollita is the most magical bean and tomato soup or stew that makes great use of bread that is a little past its best.
- 400g (14 oz) Tin White Beans
- 400g (14 oz) Tin Crushed Tomatoes
- 150g (1 Cup) Onion
- 200g (1⅓ Cup) Carrot
- 75g (⅔-¾ Cup) Celery
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 750ml (3 Cups) Vegetable Stock
- 1 Tsp Dried Thyme
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 150g (2 Cups) Savoy Cabbage
- 1 Parmesan Rind (optional)
- ½-1 Tsp Salt
- ½ Tsp Pepper
For the Bread:
- 6 Slices of Bread
- 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Clove Garlic
- Cut the onion in half, peel it and cut it into a 5-7mm (¼") dice.
- Chop the celery into 5-7mm (¼") dice.
- Cut the carrot into a 5-7mm (¼") dice.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium (20-24cm or 8-10") saucepan.
- Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat.
- Throw in the beans, tomatoes, vegetable stock, thyme, bay leaves, parmesan rind, salt and pepper and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Shred the cabbage leaves into 3-5mm (⅛-¼") thick ribbons and add it to the pan and simmer on for a further 10 minutes.
- Now is a good time to check the seasoning again and add more if required.
- Drizzle the slices of bread with olive oil and place on a hot griddle and grill both sides.
- Rub the toasted bread with a garlic clove before ladling the soup over the bread.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 250Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 654mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 8gSugar: 7gProtein: 10g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.