Ribollita recipe   Traditional Tuscan recipe

Authentic recipe for ribollita. Typical example of simple cooking that has its roots in the Middle Ages. Peasants prepared it in large quantities on Friday. It happened to enrich their soup with the gravy they could bring home rarely from their lord's kitchen. The first time they ate their soup with bread (bread soup for ribollita) and, the next day, they were used to boil again their soup left. It became a so firm soup to be eaten with a fork: the typical ribollita, a traditional recipe of Tuscany. Other Italian soup or minestra recipes?

trditional Italian ribollita soup in crock pot
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Ribollita soup

Ingredients / Serves 4

  • 400g (14 ounces) Tuscan kale
  • 300g (10 1/2 ounces) savoy cabbage
  • 200g (7 ounces) Swiss chard
  • 200g (7 ounces) canned tomatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 red onion
  • 120g (4 1/4 ounces) dried zolfini or cannellini beans
  • 1 or 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • and ...
  • No-salt Tuscan bread, stale
  • Time:
    preparation: 40 minutes
    cooking: 3 hours
    total: 3 hours and 40 minutes
  • Difficulty:
    easy recipe
  • How many calories in a serving?
    Calories: 269 (kcal) 14 % GDA (*)- 1125 (kJ)
    Protein: 12.9 (g) 26 % GDA
    Total fat: 10.7 (g) 16 % GDA
    Total carbohydrate: 32.7 (g) 13 % GDA
    Sugars: 8.4 (g) 10 % GDA

Look at infographic of nutrition facts

Download free PDF version (102 download).
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Tuscan kale
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Tuscan kale - leaves

Tuscan ribollita recipe

Preparation and cooking

  • - Soak the cannellini beans overnight in cold water.
  • - The next morning cook the cannellini beans in abundant water until tender.
    Remember to add the bay leaf too.
    Don't add salt to the water because it often hardens legumes.
    Put aside cooking water and remove the bay leaf.
  • - In the meantime clean the Tuscan kale.
    Cut its tough stems out.
    Cut its leaves into strips and wash them.
  • - Clean and wash the savoy cabbage.
    Cut its leaves into strips.
  • - Clean and wash the Swiss chard.
    Cut its leaves into strips.
  • - Chop the onion.
  • - Clean the garlic clove.
  • - Clean and chop the carrots and celery.
  • - Put 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a big crock pot or in a pan.
  • - Gently fry the onion, celery and carrots on very low heat in olive oil.
  • - Add the tomatoes and stir.
    If you use peeled tomatoes mash them with a fork before adding.
  • - Add all the other vegetables.
  • - Stir and let all the ingredients flavor for few minutes.
  • - Pour in the cooking water of beans.
    Add other water to cover.
  • - Bring to a boil and then lower the flame.
  • - Simmer for about 2 hours adding other hot water only if necessary.
  • - Add the cooked beans a quarter of an hour before the end of cooking.
  • - You'd have a dense soup.
  • - Once turned off the stove, add the thyme and the remaining olive oil.
    Season to taste with salt and stir.
    Cover and let your soup rest.
Tuscan kale
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Tuscan kale - detail

Just before serving the first time (bread soup)

  • - Slice the bread.
    Alternate your bread slices with ladlefuls of soup in a big bowl.
  • - Let all rest even for some hours.
    Now you have the bread soup for ribollita.
    It is very tasty even if served warm or at room temperature.
  • - Serve 2.
    So you'd have half of your soup left.
  • - Look at the nearby photo: it's the bread soup for ribollita in an individual plate.

Just before serving the second time (ribollita)

  • - The day after transfer your soup left in a crock pot.
  • - Let your soup boil again until very firm.
    Someone also likes it sticks on the bottom to form a crust.
  • - Someone serves it with raw chopped onion on the surface and sprinkled with other olive oil.
  • - You can see Tuscan ribollita photo at the beginning of this page.
Tuscan kale soup on bread slices
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Bread soup for ribollita



  • - You can imagine easily that every family in Tuscany has its own version of ribollita.
  • - Now I want to remember you that you don't have add some ingrendients to ribollita. For example potatoes. For two reasons. First of all purists say potatoes aren't an authentic ingredient for ribollita. The second reason is nutritional. There are already the beans and bread that contribute to the amount of carbohydrates ;)))) the wisdom of peasants had come to certain conclusions before modern science and nutritionists!
    You shouldn't use zucchini too. The main reason is that when Tuscan kale is in season they are out of season. So, definitely, they didn't appear in the original and authentic ribollita recipe.
  • - Someone use no garlic.
  • - Other Tuscan people like to add a bit of chilli though it seems not to be a typical ingredient of ribollita.
  • - I noticed in some versions there is the habit to add a raw ham bone too. It may rmember the gravy by which peasants flavored their soup.
    But if you add it, your soup is no more a vegetarian dish.
  • - Some people reduce to puree half of the beans to thicken the soup. In my opinion it is not necessary.

Menu planning

  • - Ribollita is one-plate meal for my husband and me. In this case we increase the doses and complete our meal with seasonal fruit (oranges and apples).
    We often make this choice in winter ;)

Healthy eating

  • - Peasants shew great wisdom as I've just said before, but undoubtedly the modern studies tell us something more about cooking techniques and on the ingredient combination to stay healthy.
  • - For example, prolonged cooking makes us lose too many vitamins. It's a pity because Tuscan kale is particularly rich in the precious vitamin C.
  • - It would be better to avoid to fry vegetables in olive oil. I prefer to add it to my soup once turned off the stove not to miss the extraordinary nutritional qualities of olive oil.
    To reduce cooking time I cut the Tuscan kale, savoy cabbage and Swiss chard into very thin strips.
  • - I calculated nutrition facts of ribollita soup without bread. For stale bread you have to add 350 kCal per 100g (3 1/2 ounces).


What's the right wine for " Ribollita recipe "?

My husband and I generally pair young Chianti (red wine from Tuscany) with ribollita but if you prefer white wine you might choose Vermentino.