Ribollita – Tuscan White Bean Soup

If you hate to waste stale bread, this ribollita recipe is for you! It makes a delicious vegetarian Tuscan white bean soup thickened with cubes of bread.

Ribollita

Jack’s new weekend hobby is 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 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 ingredients

This ribollita recipe makes about 3 large servings, but next time I will double it. The leftovers were delicious for lunch the next day, and I only wished I had more…

And P.S. if any of you have bread-making tips, we’re all ears…

Ribollita in a pot with wooden spoon


4.9 from 8 reviews

Ribollita - Tuscan White Bean Soup

 
Author:
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 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
  • 1 (14-ounce) can 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
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Stir in the beans, and then add the vegetable broth. Simmer until the carrots are tender, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. 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.
  5. Season to taste and serve hot in large bowls. Shave fresh Parmesan cheese on top, if desired.
Notes
Double this recipe to make a larger batch. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to two days.

Fresh tomatoes can be substituted for about 1 cup of canned diced tomatoes.

38 comments

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  1. William Dix
    10.25.2015

    The only bread baking advice I have is buy “Flour Water Salt and Yeast”, I bake at home almost weekly and it is my constant companion

    • Deb from LoveandLemons
      10.26.2015

      When you say full fat coconut milk …does that come in a carton or a can? I buy Almond Milk in a carton. Same thing or no?
      Love your site BTW. 🙂

    • Angela
      10.29.2015

      Ditto on Flour Water Salt Yeast. I’ve been making artisan sourdough at home weekly and just can’t get enough of the chewy delicious homemade bread.

      • Kathy
        12.29.2016

        This is really funny, I just received this book for Christmas and I love it. I have some dough rising at the moment that will turn into a nice crusty loaf of bread to go along with this yummy soup. Get the book, you will be very happy with it.

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          12.31.2016

          Thanks, I’ll check it out! I hope you enjoy the soup 🙂

    • This dish looks so hearty. I grew up with lots of these types of soups. I always crave them when I see them. Great food blog!

  2. Jane from thefastmetabolismdietcommunity.com
    10.25.2015

    The soup looks delicious. I would love to prepare it for dinner. It’s nice to have some soup especially during cold nights.

    • Courtney Green
      10.26.2015

      Made this for dinner tonight; it was so delicious. After her second helping, my eight year-old daughter announced, “I love kale!” Whew-who!!

  3. I’m actually a bit sick right now and this seems like something I can make pretty easily. Looks delicious! x

  4. Kristina from ohthegoodies.com
    10.26.2015

    I love bean soups, they are so comforting and filling. This one looks delicious!

  5. Tori from gringalicious.com
    10.26.2015

    I’ve never heard of this soup until now but I can see I’ve been missing out all this time. Definitely something new I need to try!

  6. Kayley
    10.26.2015

    I make this soup all the time! For more added vegetable goodness, I throw in chopped parsnips and celery root. It’s so perfect on a cool Fall day!

  7. Kristin
    10.26.2015

    I’ve made yeast breads many times, but never yeast rolls until this past weekend. I put them in a round cake pan as per the directions and they looked beautiful. But when I baked them they all molded together and came out as one giant roll. More like a cake layer. We sliced it up just like a cake and they tasted great, but not exactly what I was going for. Guess the rolls were too big for the pan size. Oh well…live and learn! Maybe I’ll make some of this soup with the leftovers!! 🙂

  8. Mary from marydevinat.com
    10.26.2015

    This vegetable soup looks absolutely delicious ! I will try it very soon 🙂

  9. Allyson from consideringtheradish.wordpress.com
    10.26.2015

    I love ribollita- it’s delicious and a perfect way to use up odds and ends. I love recipes like that, where you can clean up the remains of other projects in one fell swoop. It’s cost efficient, tasty, and nutritious, and you get to feel good about yourself while eating good food. What’s not to love?

  10. Nothing more resourceful or satisfying than homemade soup and using up leftover homemade bread in the soup. Reminds me of Everlasting Meals. 🙂 Love ribollita but rarely make it. Must change that, thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Charlie from lemonbutterlove.com
    10.26.2015

    I’m the same way, I hate throwing away food! Especially something that is homemade. This soup recipe looks delicious and just in time for the chilly weather. I can’t wait to make this soon! Could you share your focaccia and ciabatta bread recipes? – Charlie, http://www.lemonbutterlove.com

  12. Diane
    10.26.2015

    I have been tweaking gluten free bread recipes and have come up with one that is absolutely delicious and lasts easily for a week! I think the addition of a healthy tablespoon of sour cream and three Tablespoons of cooked squash (hubbard/sweet meat/butternut varieties) makes the bread moist, soft and keeps it fresh. It needs to bake a tad bit longer than the original recipe. I have been freezing squash (after placing it in ice cube trays to make individual ‘chunks’) so I will have it for many months. I also love the addition of chia seeds and ground flax seeds. My recipe makes two loaves.

  13. Kelley from vegetarianpdx.com
    10.26.2015

    I have great ambitions of baking bread this winter, after (quite) a few years off. I think it’s all the Great British Bake Off I’ve been watching. And soup…this looks amazing.

  14. ADDIE BAUGHMAN
    10.26.2015

    did you try running that good bread under water and then heating it in the over or toasting it? i find this actually works with good homemade bread. it has been my experience that it comes back to life. don’t hold it under for long, but i’m surprised how wet it can get and rehydrate and make for delicious bread again. i run it through running water – both sides. thanks for all your good recipes.

  15. Rad from thesnobbyfoodie.com
    10.28.2015

    OMG. I love the use of white beans in fall soups. This is great! So excited to try it!

  16. Caroline from carolinesfeast.com
    10.29.2015

    Oh wow I just discovered your blog and I am so excited! It is definitely going to become one of my regulars, I can tell. And this soup is exactly what I am in the mood for, and I even have most of the ingredients on hand. I am definitely going to be making this tonight… Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. Chrissy from eatsomewearsome.com
    10.30.2015

    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.

  18. Nicole B.
    10.31.2015

    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.

  19. Leslie B.
    11.01.2015

    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.

  20. Alexandra Alderman
    11.02.2015

    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.

    • jeanine
      11.02.2015

      I’m so glad your family all loved it! Thanks for coming back to let me know!

  21. Melissa
    11.02.2015

    This soup was so delicious! Will definitely be making it again. Thanks for the recipe!

  22. Rachel
    12.19.2015

    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!

  23. Katrine
    02.26.2016

    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!

  24. Sparks
    03.06.2016

    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.

  25. Meg B
    10.12.2016

    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!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.13.2016

      Aw, so sorry about your crummy day of work – I’m glad the soup hit the spot! Thank you

  26. Mchugh Karen
    10.17.2019

    Love this for family dinner

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.