If you hate to waste stale bread, this ribollita recipe is for you! It's a delicious vegetarian Tuscan white bean soup thickened with cubes of bread.
This Tuscan white bean soup recipe grew out of Jack’s new weekend hobby: bread-making. Over the last few weeks, he’s made some really delicious focaccia and a few loaves of ciabatta which, I have to tell you, were super impressive. I previously had this idea that rustic crusty bread would require wood-fired ovens and other non-household equipment to make. It doesn’t. The ingredients are simple, but it does require an afternoon’s worth of babysitting. Knead, fold, wait, rest… repeat… like 15 more times.
After all of this hard work, when the last chunk of ciabatta went stale a few days later, I couldn’t bear to toss it. While I commonly talk about my cooking inspiration coming from what I find at the farmer’s market, there are times like this where the ideas come from not wanting to waste ingredients that someone made (or grew) with love.
The bread was way too hard for panzanella, so that was out. Luckily, there’s a soup that loves rock-hard stale bread – ribollita.
Tuscan White Bean Soup Recipe Ingredients
Ribollita is a Tuscan white bean soup made from leftover vegetables and thickened with day-old (or in our case many days old) bread. My version starts with a base of onion, carrots, tomatoes, white beans, rosemary, and kale. I cube up the leftover bread and stir it in towards the end, making a thick and hearty Tuscan bean soup – perfect for a cold autumn night.
Tuscan Bean Soup Tips
- Use what’s in your pantry. Tuscan white bean soup is one of my favorite pantry recipes, so use what you have on hand. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, swap in 1 cup canned diced tomatoes. No fresh rosemary? Use dried, or simmer the soup with a sprig of fresh thyme. If you don’t have any kale, skip it, or add whatever leafy greens you do have. Swap canned beans for cooked dried ones, or for extra umami flavor, simmer the soup with a Parmesan rind. This recipe is flexible, so you really can’t go wrong here.
- Make the bread from scratch. If you want to make this Tuscan soup from scratch, bread and all, I recommend using this no-knead bread recipe. Even if you’re a novice bread baker, it comes out delicious, with a golden crust and soft interior that are irresistible on the first day and perfect for this soup once they’ve gone stale.
- Leftovers taste great. This ribollita recipe makes about three large servings, but next time, I will definitely double it. The leftovers were delicious for lunch the next day, and I only wished I had more!
More Favorite Soup Recipes
If you love this Tuscan white bean soup, try one of these delicious soup recipes next:
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Many-Veggie Vegetable Soup
- Carrot Ginger Soup
- French Onion Soup
- Best Lentil Soup
Or find 25 of my favorite soup recipes here!
Ribollita - Tuscan White Bean Soup
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 medium Roma or vine tomatoes, diced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons white wine
- 1½ cups cooked cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 3 large lacinato kale leaves, thinly sliced, coarse stems removed
- 4 thick slices stale ciabatta bread, cubed
- balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
- ¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese, optional
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and pinches of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the carrots, rosemary, and garlic. Cook for about 4 more minutes, reducing the heat if necessary to avoid burning the garlic.
- Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and another few pinches of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for about 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and juicy. Add the wine and let it cook off, about 1 minute.
- Stir in the beans, and then add the vegetable broth. Simmer until the carrots are tender, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the carrots are tender, stir in the kale, the cubed bread, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Simmer for several more minutes until the kale is wilted.
- Season to taste and serve hot in large bowls. Shave fresh Parmesan cheese on top, if desired.
Fresh tomatoes can be substituted for about 1 cup of canned diced tomatoes.
Just made this. So good!
So good! I was worried adding all of the bread to the pot would make the leftovers taste really soggy but it’s still delicious.
Hi Ellen! I’m so glad you liked the recipe and that the leftovers are still tasty. 🙂
I have made this soup 3 times now. It is SO good! With the carrots and kale, it is perfect for fall. So comforting and delicious.
Super delicious. Added a sprinkle of Tumeric.
The kale was the start, but the star was the whole soup. Will be making this again
Absolutely delicious! And a very flexible recipe that is easily doctored to personal tastes. My only extra was a little dill, putting some rind of the parmesan I grated into the cooking soup and a dash of apple cider vinegar as well as the balsamic at the end for a slightly tart aftertaste. Perfect!
So flavorful! I overdid the red pepper flakes so it had a nice kick to it. And we only only had fresh bread but we just toasted in the oven to dry it out. The guys loved it, i made some italian style meatballs for my meatlover and we just added to his bowl at the table. So MMMMMM!!!
Love this for family dinner
I made this soup last night and it was like a cable-knit sweater for my belly. So warm and comforting and cozy on a cold fall night after a long crummy day of work. It was super simple, and I found that it’s even better the day after (finishing up my left overs for lunch as I type). This will definitely become an autumn staple for me!
Aw, so sorry about your crummy day of work – I’m glad the soup hit the spot! Thank you
My bread tip? Buy a BIG jar of yeast at Costco and Bake On! Those jars only cost what about 3 of those strips do.
Cant wait to try this soup with my favorite pot-bread. Recipe; 625g wheatflour (or a mix between wheat and some other Flour) 5dl cold water, 1tbsp of flake-salt and 2-3grams of yeast (like 2-3 Peas). Mix it with your kitchenaid or whatever and leave it to grow for the night. Next Day you turn on your oven on 250 degrees – put in a pot or romertopf Who can stand the heat and having a top Who also can stand the heat. After 45 minuts you take out the pot and put the dough inside -put on the top and bake n the oven for 30 minutes. Here you take off the toplid and turn down the oven to 225 degrees for another 15 minutes. Hereafter you have the BEST bread!
This was so delicious! I made a double batch last night and can’t wait to have leftovers for dinner tonight! I cut back on the oil and it still worked out well. Also didn’t have any day old bread so bought a nice crusty loaf and it was still great. Thank you!
This soup was so delicious! Will definitely be making it again. Thanks for the recipe!
I made this last night for my 4-year old and husband and both loved it. Thanks for the recipe. And, a perfect way to use the last tomatoes from our plants that are a bit past their prime.
I’m so glad your family all loved it! Thanks for coming back to let me know!
Save your parmigian cheese rinds and toss 1-2 into the soup. You won’t believe the flavor boost you’ll get! Freeze those babies for uses such as this for extra deliciousness.
I love soups thickened with bread! A favorite of mine is Ina Garden’s Pappa Al Pomodoro. I’ll have to give your variation a try!
As for bread making tips…I got into bread making last winter and followed Mark Vietnam’s recommendation to knead the dough in a food processor. It comes together in a matter of minutes! What was once a daunting task is now a breeze.
Definitely one of my favorite soups, that I will have to make this weekend!
As for bread tips – I have been making it for a while now both professionally and for fun and the thing that made my at-home bread as crusty and delicious as any french bakery was baking it in a cloche or clay pot. It really works wonders and eliminates the need for all those crazy things like chucking ice cubes into the oven or running the dough under water.