Ribollita – Italian Bread and Vegetable Soup is an authentic Tuscan meal. Made of cannellini beans, loads of veggies, day old bread and your favorite stock or broth. The soup is easy, healthy and perfectly hearty for chilly days.
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Have you ever had the experience where you are under obligation to try new dish that you just don’t think you will like… but then you try it and ABSOLUTELY FALL IN LOVE WITH IT?
That was my exact experience with the first time I had Ribollita in Italy.
We were at a family owned Tuscan winery that was not only extremely charming but also we were served a several course meal with a different wine for each course. Talk about fun…
I remember enjoying each course but to this day the only course I truly remember is the Ribollita.
Let’s be honest, Ribollita kind of has a different look to it and when you are eating it for the first time you’re not fully sure what you might be getting into.
A bowl of this soup was set down in front of each of us and all I can remember thinking was, “Dear Lord, please don’t let there be something like snails in this bowl.”
Since I am an adventurous eater and I had a happy buzz going on, I didn’t give it another thought and dove in…
Much to my surprise I was met with a wonderfully rich and hearty flavor. It was love at first bite and I was on a mission to find out as much about Ribollita as I could.
I proceeded to ask as many questions about this wonderful bread soup and I was bound and determined not to leave Italy without a copy of this recipe….And I did just that.
I found a cookbook that was closely related to the description that the owners of the winery shared with me and made it as soon as I got home.
Since that trip over 10 years ago I have made a few tweaks to Ribollita, tailoring to my taste preferences.
The funniest part is my husband had the exact same reaction I did the first time I made this for him. He started out hesitant to try it and then fell completely in love.
Tips about Ribollita – Italian Bread and Vegetable Soup:
- What exactly is Ribollita? Basically it is a vegetable bread stew that is extremely popular in the region of Tuscany Italy. There are different variations of this soup but the two things that Ribollita always have in common are plenty of veggies and stale bread. I love that the Italians don’t let food go to waste. Didn’t eat all your baguette before it went stale, no problem….Just make Ribollita.
- I recommend using a heartier more European type bread for this soup. I used a whole wheat sourdough, 2 day old bread from a bakery that makes European style breads. Yours doesn’t necessarily doesn’t have to come from a special bakery. Just make sure that it a heftier type loaf that is wrapped loosely.
- Because of the veggies this Ribollita – Italian Bread and Vegetable Soup is extremely healthy. To amp up the healthy benefits substitute beef broth for bone broth. I usually buy organic pasture raised bones at my local health food store and then on chilly days I use my crockpot to make it. I then let it refrigerate over night. The next day I scrape off the layer of fat and freeze until I am ready to use for soups.
- If the idea of making bone broth from scratch is just not appealing Pacific Foods Organic Bone Broth is what I would recommend instead. This brand is affordable, great tasting and very trust worthy. (affiliate)
- Here are the herbs for this Ribollita – Italian Bread and Vegetable Soup at an affordable price: marjoram, thyme and bay leaves. (affiliate)
- If you are looking for an affordable ceramic coated dutch oven this is the one I would recommend. If you are ready to make a bigger investment into your kitchen then Le Creuset’s dutch oven is gorgeous choice. (affiliate)
Ribollita - Italian Bread and Vegetable Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large brown onion *about 2 1/2 cups diced
- 2 med carrots *about 1 cup chopped
- 2 celery sticks *about 1 cup diced
- 2 small russet potatoes (peeled) *about 2 cups diced
- 6-7 large garlic cloves *2 tbsp minced or crushed
- 2 quarts beef broth *8 cups
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp marjoram *optional
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1-2 Bay leaves
- 1 bunch swiss chard *cut into thin ribbons
- 1 bunch Kale *cut into ribbons
- 1 small savoy cabbage *about 4-5 cups thinly sliced
- 3 med zucchini *cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 med yellow squash *cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 15oz cans cannellini beans *rinsed & drained
- 1- 1 1/2 lb hearty 2 day old bread *preferably stale bread
- Good quality Parmesan *for garnish
- Heat a 5-6 quart dutch oven over med/high heat. Add oil and sauté onions until they begin to sweat. Add carrots, celery and potatoes. Continue sautéing another 7-10 mins or until veggies just begin to soften. Add garlic, herbs, tomato paste and broth. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and add in Swiss chard and kale. Simmer for a half hour stirring occasionally.
- Stir in savoy cabbage, zucchini and yellow squash. Transfer 1/2 cup of cannellini beans to a small bowl and smash with a fork. Add both whole and smashed beans to dutch oven. Bring back to a simmer for another 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile carefully cut or tear bread into smaller chunks. Stir into soup and let sit for 5-10 mins.
- Serve and garnish with a good quality parmesan.
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