A Classic Ribollita: Tuscan Bean Soup Recipe

Tuscan Bean Soup, otherwise known as Ribollita, is a 15th-century traditional fall and winter soup, brimming with seasonal healthy superfoods like kale and squash. And incredibly soul-satisfying and delicious!

A Classic Ribollita: Tuscan Bean Soup Recipe | 31Daily.com

Ribollita literally means ‘reboiled,’ in fact, an authentic Ribollita takes about three days to taste its best. Its origins seem to latch back to medieval times when the servants were given the azyme bread in which the meat of the nobility was served on and they boiled it in a soup with vegetables and herbs found in surrounding fields. The quantities were large and lasted for several days, hence boiling the soup over and over with the result of being it tastier each time.”

While there are many variations of Ribollita, most of which are dictated by the vegetables you find in the larder on any given crisp day, most recipes call for cannellini beans, kale, squash, and thyme.

This is our variation of a delicious, hearty soup. Served with a couple of slices of toasted country-style bread– and it’s a complete meal.

Italian Olive Grove

Tuscan Olive Oil

As you may have guessed, a key ingredient to this soup is olive oil. Both for cooking and for drizzling. 

A New York Times writer traveled to Tuscany to learn about olive oil and what makes it special.

Sitting around a massive wooden table in a tasting room, with the famously golden Tuscan sunlight spilling over her shoulders, writer Danielle Pergament asked some prominent gentlemen farmers about olive oil and what makes it special.

“Olive oil,” they explained, is more than something to drizzle over a dish when you want to impress company. It is a lifestyle. It is a necessary ingredient at every meal.”

Near the end of the article, Pergament gives the following advice on choosing a good quality olive oil.

“Some starting tips: To ensure you are getting real extra-virgin olive oil, make sure the bottle does not allow much light inside, and look for details like the name of the farm and an expiration date (which should be within 18 months).”

Overhead View of Tuscan Bean Soup in Copper Pot with Onions and Bay Leaves

How to Make Tuscan Bean Soup

If you’re using dried beans:

Drain beans and transfer to a 3 qt. saucepan and add 4-5 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, until beans are tender, 40–45 minutes.

If you are using canned beans:

Drain and rinse the beans and set them aside. And then proceed with the recipe.

Making the Soup:

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add chopped carrots, celery, onion, and minced garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3 minutes. Then add the squash, kale, potatoes, tomatoes with their liquid, chicken stock, and the bay leaf. Season with salt, pepper, and red chili flakes to taste.

Bring the ribollita to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the soup and cook until the vegetables are tender; about 15 minutes. Then add the zucchini and the cooked or canned beans; simmer for another 5-10 minutes or until both the beans and veggies are soft. Stir in the fresh thyme leaves.

Meanwhile, toast the bread and rub it with the cut end of the halved garlic clove. Drizzle each toast with 1 tablespoon of oil. To serve, place 1 to 2 pieces of toasted bread in the bottom of soup bowls and ladle the soup over the bread. Drizzle the ribollita with olive oil.

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A Classic Ribollita: Tuscan Bean Soup Recipe | 31Daily.com

A Classic Ribollita: Tuscan Bean Soup Recipe

Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Tuscan Bean Soup, otherwise known as Ribollita, is a 15th-century traditional fall and winter soup, brimming with seasonal healthy superfoods like kale and squash. And incredibly soul-satisfying and delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 1⁄2 cups dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight (see notes for canned beans)
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1⁄2 yellow onion, chopped, plus rings for garnish
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic (3 minced, 1 halved)
  • 10 oz. butternut squash peeled and cut into 1⁄2″ cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into 1⁄2″ cubes
  • 4 large kale leaves, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 medium waxy-style potato, peeled and cut into 1⁄2″ cubes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes (or a handful of cherry tomatoes halved)
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock, reduced-sodium, plus extra water if needed
  • 1 – 2 bay leaves
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (1 teaspoon dried)
  • 8 thick slices country-style bread
  • Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated

Instructions

  1. Drain beans and transfer to a 3-qt. saucepan and add 4-5 cups water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, until beans are tender, 40–45 minutes. If using canned beans, skip this step.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion, and minced garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the squash, kale, potato, tomatoes with liquid, chicken stock, and bay leaf. Season with salt, pepper, and red chili flakes.
  3. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Add zucchini and cooked beans (or canned beans) and simmer another 5-10 minutes or until both the beans and veggies are soft. Stir in the fresh thyme leaves.
  4. Meanwhile, toast the bread and rub it with the cut end of the halved garlic clove. Drizzle each toast with 1 tbsp. oil. To serve, place 1 to 2 pieces of toasted bread in the bottom of soup bowls and ladle soup over the top. Drizzle soup with remaining oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Notes

Canned Beans

To use canned beans, substitute 2 to 3 cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 467Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 253mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 8gSugar: 4gProtein: 36g

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34 thoughts on “A Classic Ribollita: Tuscan Bean Soup Recipe

  1. Sue

    The soup is out of this world. I’ve share the recipe with so many. Everyone who has taste of mine can’t wait to make it. Super delicious you have to try it

    1. Thank you, Sue! I’m so glad you loved it. It’s one of our favorites and we LOVE soup! Thank you so much for coming back to tell us.

  2. Anonymous

    Big hit Christmas week! Made the night before Christmas Eve and everyone raved. Leftovers were eaten over the next couple days. The bread is NECESSARY!!! I got a Tuscan loaf and mixed rosemary, thyme garlic and evoo in a mortar and baked until brownish on top. DELISH 😋

    1. I’m SO happy everyone enjoyed this soup. It’s one of my all-time favorites and always a hit at my house too!!

  3. Deb Pries

    Hello, How many servings does this soup make?
    Thanks, Deb

    1. Hi Deb! Depending on how large your bowls are, or whether it’s served as a side or as an entree, this soup can serve anywhere from 6 to 12. I always guage about 2+ cups per serving for an entree dish.

      1. Sandra

        Confused?. You say 4-6 servings in previous response….tho recipe states 6-12??

        1. I think she means if you use it as an appetizer then use 1 cup servings or less.

        2. Hi Sandra,
          When I serve as the entree it usually yields about 6-8 servings. Smaller portions will stretch to 10-12. I hope that helps!

  4. Anonymous

    When does the Parmesan cheese go in?

    1. At the very end, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

  5. Anonymous

    Added roasted root veggies I had in the freezer from Christmas, killer!

    1. That is an awesome way to use those veggies! SO smart to freeze them in the first place!! Thanks for letting me know!

  6. Shannon

    Great, Stephanie! Thank you!

  7. Shannon

    This looks soup looks really good. I have some leftover beef broth in the freezer and I wonder if I could make this using beef broth.

    1. Hi Shannon – Yes! I sometimes substitute beef broth for this soup. It gives it a richness that is really yummy!!

      1. Shannon

        This looks soup looks really good. I have some leftover beef broth in the freezer and I wonder if I could make this using beef broth. Great! Thank you!

  8. Cory

    Is this recipe crockpot friendly

    1. Hi Cory! Yes, this could easily be made in a slow cooker. Add all of the ingredients except for zucchini, kale and the beans (if canned). Cook on low 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, add the zucchini, kale and canned beans.

  9. Elizabeth

    Have you tried adding some ground sausage of some sort? That sounds good to me!

    1. Stephanie Wilson

      Hi Elizabeth! Yes!! Adding sausage is great. Especially on the cold days ?

  10. Robin

    Do you think I can freeze this soup? I have eaten it two days in a row now and still have tons leftover!!! Super delicious!!

    1. Stephanie Wilson

      Hi Robin! Yes — this soup freezes well. I don’t love the texture of potatoes in soup after freezing so I do take out most of them before freezing. That’s just a personal thing with me though :)!

  11. Michele Brown

    How many does the recipe serve?

    1. Stephanie Wilson

      Hi Michelle, the Ribollita makes 4 to 6 servings, depending on how large your bowls are.

  12. Anonymous

    What do you do with the Parmesan cheese?

  13. Anonymous

    When are the beans added to the soup?

    1. Stephanie Wilson

      Add the cooked or canned beans when you add the zucchini. They will only need to cook another 7 minutes or so. Make sure they are tender.

  14. Trish

    I was looking for a recipe using leftover frozen Christmas ham and beans. Yours won with the addition of my ham. Why? Yours sounded like so much fun to prepare with all the lovely veggies, and extra healthy. And it was! Now happily cooking away in my crockpot and so looking forward to dinner.

    1. Stephanie Wilson

      Thank you so much. I hope you enjoy it.

  15. Amy

    Very good. Even my Mr. “I don’t eat soup” had seconds! I did triple the amount of dried herbs (including the addition of 1 t basil). Delish!

    1. Stephanie Wilson

      Thanks for the laugh. Men and their “soup”. I have a couple of them too. But they also always come back for seconds. So glad you liked it!!

    2. JoAnn

      Maybe I missed it, and I kept looking, but how many cans of beans to equal the amount of dried beans?… and do I drain and rinse them?

      1. Stephanie Wilson

        Hi JoAnn!

        I like to use 2 to 3 cans of cooked beans, drained and rinsed. If I need to stretch the amount of soup, I add 3 cans, otherwise 2 cans.

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