Ribollita Recipe

Ribollita is a thick Tuscan stew - dark greens, lots of beans, vegetables, olive oil, thickened with day-old bread. And there are certain occasions that simply call for it. There was a moment last week when I looked in the freezer, then closed the door. Looked again, winced, then reached a hand into the frosted landscape and extracted a petrified bag of eight Parmesan rinds. Back in for more, next came the stack of frozen rye crepes, one pack of Sambazon acai juice (expiration date 9/2004), gallon-sized freezer bags of cherries from my sister's tree, and pound after pound of frozen heirloom beans. By the time the excavation was complete I'd regained a square foot or so of freezer space, and had the inspiration for a hearty pot of ribollita defrosting in front of me.

Ribollita Recipe

For those of you who are curious, I made note of everything in my freezer: five types of chili powder; three serrano chile peppers; kaffir lime leaves; white popcorn kernels; cooked chickpeas, mung beans, flageolets, and marrow beans; lots of Massa brown rice; pasta sheets; unidentified cookie dough #1; unidentified cookie dough #2; cooked posole in one bag, red sauce in another (for this); 2 pounds wild huckleberries; 1 sweet whole wheat pastry tart shell, round; 1 sweet whole wheat pastry tart shell, rectangle; 6 small spelt-semolina tart shells; small bag of ginger juice; 2 pounds Straus European-style butter; plenty of this green soup - I puree it and make a tart filling; one pack of three-grain tempeh; a stack of frozen rye crepes; cooked farro, pound of green beans; pack of expired acai juice; 8 Parmesan rinds, and roughly five pounds of cherries from my sister's tree.

Ribollita Recipe

Phew. So after deciding to put some of those beans to use, I made this ribollita. I should mention, it's one of those things where there are as many ways to make it as there are cooks. I normally use whole canned tomatoes this time of year - torn up. But had crushed tomatoes onhand, and they worked out nicely. As far as guidelines go? Your ribollita should be thick - eventually. The photo up above is a little deceptive. It was shot just after I made the ribollita, five minutes after I turned off the heat. Things hadn't finished thickening up entirely. You can see it is quite brothy around the edges. This changed substantially in the hours to follow, and this morning a glance at the leftovers told me I might be able to stand a fork up in it. I add a bit of lemon zest at the end for a bit of brightness, and because I can't help myself. And I like the saltiness of the olives alongside the kale, so that's a little bonus as well.


I had a number of beans in my freezer and used a few of them here. Yes, you can even see some flageolets in there. But when starting from scratch, I usually opt for cannellini. On the bread front, I used a loaf of two-day-old whole wheat bread, but have at times opted for ciabatta. Canned beans can be used here, the equivalent is roughly two 15-ounce cans. Look for cavolo nero - a craggy evergreen-hued kale that might also be labeled lacinato or Tuscan kale.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 celery stalks, chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium carrots or equiv. winter squash, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 14-ounce / 400 ml can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 pound / 16 ounces / 450g cavolo nero (lacinato kale, Tuscan kale), stems trimmed off and leaves well chopped

4 cups / 22 oz / 620g cooked white beans
1/2 pound / 8 oz / 225g crustless loaf of bread
1 1/2+ teaspoons fine grain sea salt
zest of one lemon
lots of well-chopped oily black olives

In your largest thick-bottomed pot over medium heat combine the olive oil, celery, garlic, carrot, and red onion. Cook for 10 -15 minutes sweating the vegetables, but avoid any browning. Stir in the tomatoes and red pepper flakes, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, long enough for the tomatoes to thicken up a bit. Stir in the cavolo nero, 3 cups of the beans, and 8 cups / 2 liters water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the greens are tender, about 15 minutes.

In the meantime, mash or puree the remaining beans with a generous splash of water - until smooth. Tear the bread into bite-sized chunks. Stir both the beans and bread into the soup. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the bread breaks down and the soup thickens, 20 - 30 minutes. Stir in the salt, taste and add more if needed. Stir in the lemon zest.

Serve immediately, or cool and refrigerate overnight. Serve reheated, or "ribollita" meaning reboiled, the next day ladled into bowls. Finish each serving with a drizzle of olive oil and some chopped olives.

Makes a large pot of soup - enough for 10 servings.

Prep time: 20 min - Cook time: 60 min

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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This soup looks delicious! Now I know what to do with all the beans I have!

Estela @ Weekly Bite

I haven't had ribollita since I studied abroad in Florence - this brings back such delicious memories! Your freezer sounds totally like my freezer. I have like 5 million egg whites in there....in addition to way too many other scraps that need to be used up!

Erika from The Pastry Chef At Home

This reminds me, I need to excavate my freezer too, although I'll admit, I do not have the diverse forgotten treasures that you found in your freezer.

This looks like a fabulous soup. I have all of the ingredients at home, so I'm looking forward to making ribollita for the first time soon!

Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

Your freezer items are unique!


Yum. :) Soup season is definitely here - can't wait to give it a go! I just whipped up a batch of carrot soup. :)


ohh this is exactly what I've been craving all weekend, I'm making it tomorrow! it looks delicious.

for the bread, do you just cut the crusts off before using it? does it still work if you leave the crusts on the bread (I'd hate to waste them!)


I'll tell you what, if I had a dollar for every time I've created anything remotely edible with the stuff buried in the back of my freezer, I'd have...a dollar.

I wish I were as dedicated as you.

Your Ribollita looks wonderful; I like mine with lots of torn Ciabatta bread. And next time I make this soup, I will try your addition of chopped black olives.


Thanks for this one Heidi. You always provide me unfamiliar recipe. As an Asian I find your recipe very very interesting....

Keep it up! :-)

The Artist Chef (Joanie)

This is exactly the type of soup I've been craving (without even knowing that ribollita existed!).

The Ordinary Vegetarian

I think I need to make this - there was also a recipe for it in the Chronicle today, so that must be a sign that I should make this! I also saw that kind of Kale at the store today and wondered about it.

Jennifer Plantenberg

Only EIGHT rinds? I bet have 20 in my fridge, yet always forget to use them when making a soup or stew!

Cooking with Michele

Looks fantastic! I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with the forgotten food in my house too!


Warm soup on a cold winter day. What's better?

Dave -nibbleanibble

Good thing you found them in the freezer. Every now and then, I find long forgotten herbs or unidentifiable veggies in the back corner of fridge. I like your idea of making note of what you have in stock.

Kitchen M

Ribollita is an absolute essential in winter! I'll give this recipe a try, thanks - I usually use one from the River Cafe Cook Book.
It never ceases to amaze me how often I put something in my freezer without labeling it, confident that I'll just remember what it is, and then forget. So silly. I also did a kitchen cupboard clean-out last Sunday – found lots of near-empty packets of rice, some festering experiments with herbs and vinegar, and some ancient quinoa!


Uhm... what do you use the parmesan rinds for? Because I never know what to do with them, and throwing them out seems so very pointless.


Great idea with the olives! I love cavolo nero and this is a tasty way to cook with it - thanks!


Now I know what I'll do with the left over Cavolo nero I bought to make a green soup! This soup sounds yummy, but if you're gluten free would it be appropriate to use brown rice as a substitute for the bread? Any thoughts?
Thanks for all your amazing recipes!


WOW, this sounds amazing! I'd love a bowl of that today!

Simply Life

Ribollita is such a humble soup, but couldn't be better on a cold day. It's not the most photogenic soup but yours is quite beautiful. Thanks for the recipe!


Gallon sized bags of frozen cherries? Plural? there is just no way those would have lasted so long in MY freezer! The ribollito sounds marvelous!


I love soups that include kale and white beans. I will be giving this one a try for sure!

Christie @ Honoring Health

Ribollita is wonderful, and your recipe is almost exactly like mine. My main difference is that I have always added a good dollop of basil pesto. I may have to try it with olives instead next time because that sounds so good! This soup is also great with the addition of italian sausage for meat-loving husbands, and topped with parmesan cheese!


I've been reading your blog for several months, Heidi, and really appreciate your emphasis on natural and whole ingredients. It is also very nice that you include different systems of measurements for your recipes. I love soups like this in the winter that work for dinner and then leftover lunches. I made a curried lentil and greens soup this past week that warmed me to the core. Thanks for the recipe and beautiful posts.

laura from darkREDcrema

I know I need to make better use of my freezer. This is the most disorganized place in my house. When we lost power for 7 days, (the NE ice storm of '08), I became discouraged after losing everything. I got into canning and drying in '09. But maybe I will chip my way back into the ice? You certainly have inspired me to take inventory. This is a beautiful soup. I love making soup on the weekend, (this past weekend was potato leek from the root cellar).
Thank you Heidi !

The Gardener's Eden

Wow, what a great haul in your freezer. Mine has almonds, a banana, some butter, and a lot of dog food. Sigh.


Thanks for this week's soup idea!. I'm curious about your frozen beans. Do you always cook them first? I buy fresh shell beans when in season, shell them, and then freeze them uncooked.. When I pull them out in the winter, it's like having fresh beans - they only take 20 minutes or so to cook, more if you throw them into the pot to cook while they're still frozen.

HS: I always cook dried beans before freezing them, but fresh shell beans I don't cook before freezing. And I always kick myself for not buying more fresh shell beans when I see them in the summer. You're right, they're great to have on hand later in the year.

Local Cook

I remember how much I loved the ribollita I ate in Italy, so thanks so much for sharing--it'll be a nice switch up from the other vegetable soups I eat. One question: how come you didn't add the Parmesan rinds to the soup? Seems they would have given great flavor!

small kitch cara

Ahh, a perfect soup for this dismal, dreary gray weather! It looks divine... I almost want to take a spoonful of it now. And I love your freezer contents! Far more interesting than mine, though it has reminded me I need to start freezing my beans too.

Thanks again for another perfect recipe!

Kimberly @ Poor Girl Eats Well

Mmm, I'm so excited about this recipe. I have a lovely bunch of kale to use up and this will be perfect. :-)


Or there's pasta fagioli. Add a can of borlotti beans to a thick tomato sauce (made with carrotsand celery as well as tomato and onion), then some cooked pasta, then some shredded basil leaves and some grated parmesan. S'easy. Suits our current weather in the UK- sub-zero day after day.

Martin Yarnit

No question about it...this is what I'm making tonight! Thanks Heidi; this looks fabulous...I can't wait for dinner....I just purchased a huge bundle of kale and this recipe is perfect!

The Healthy Apple

The ribollita sounds wonderful; however I am intrigued by your mention of using the green soup as a tart filling. Can we hear more about that?


This seems worthy of making just to say its name repeatedly. Of course, I'll lower my register, slow my delivery and attempt my best faux Italian accent.

tom | tall clover farm

Read through the cookbook Salt to Taste this weekend. It contains a Ribolitta recipe that sounds like it would serve an army. One great tip to get the kale into tiny bits. Freeze it first, then crumble it while frozen. Can't wait to try your more reasonable-sized recipe.

HS: Great tip, from a beautiful book I might add - I'll have to try that next time.

Olive Hofstader

Looks Fabulous! Since I'm trying to avoid gluten now, would you recommend rice or quinoa or some other grain instead of the bread? About how much?

HS: Sure! You should just experiment starting with a cup or two of cooked brown rice. Or cooked pearled barley or farro might be a nice alternative - the pearled versions might add a bit of creaminess to the broth.


Hi Heidi,
Funny you mentioned the freezer clean-out, I spent a good 3 hours taking everything out of my fridge and wiping it down with soapy warm water, then threw out all the junk that I never use, or had turned. I was going to suggest that you write about a good fridge clean-out for the new year. It's something that we all sort of dread, but when it's done you feel fantastic. My fridge beams when I open it, and I instantly was to make something. Anyway, thank you so much for your wonderful 101 Cookbooks. I love it. It inspires me to go out and try something I've never made before, and the things I've made had been amazing. Keep up the good work. ~Shelly

HS: Thanks Shelly :) I agree - there's nothing quite like a cleaned out refrigerator.

Shelly Moore

I am glad to know that so many of us have freezer stashes even though we often forget what we have in there! I will trade you frozen bananas and parsley "ice cubes" for some of your parmesan! : )
This soup is perfect for the Arctic cold here! And it brings back memories of Florence for me!


thanks for a timely recipe! I cleaned out my fridge just before Thanksgiving and made some interesting discoveries as well. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one that hoards treasures and forgets about them!


That was a funny post!
My ribolitta is the only way I can get my son to eat vegetables. As you said, there are so many different versions of this soup. My favorite bread base is to make garlic toasts to set under the hot soup. I'll try your version next time!


That is one impressive freezer! I wish I mine was that well stocked! Currently it only contains frozen bananas, corn, peas and vegan truffles.
Your recipes are so delightful!


That is one impressive freezer! I wish I mine was that well stocked! Currently it only contains frozen bananas, corn, peas and vegan truffles.
Your recipes are so delightful!


Ooh this looks delicious! And I'm pretty sure we have enough in my house to blunder our way into a Riboletta sometime soon!



oh i loooove ribollita! i had no idea it was so easy to make. I'll try this this weekend.


Thanks for all your wonderful "recipes" that I'm able to use as starting points for cleaning out my fridge and freezer. One idea that has been really helpful for me and drastically reduced waste, is to keep a whiteboard on top of my freezer (hubby fixed it with velcro so it doesn't fall off when I open the top of the freezer chest). I date and list everything going in and then wipe it off when I take it out to use it. Some mornings, I just go out and look for the items with older dates and plan my evening meal around those. Love your website, Heidi.

Cindy Blaylock

Thank you for keeping it real and confessing to having to excavate your freezer !


This sounds delicious. Think it would work in the crockpot while I'm at work?

HS: Hmm, I'm not sure - If you try it, please report back!


This sounds amazing--can't wait to try it!


Your freezer soup looks fun.

What does Ribollita mean? I know you said "Ribollita is a thick Tuscan stew...", and I don't mean that, but what does the word itself mean (like what does the "Ribol" mean compared to the "lita")?


Wow, what a soup - chock full of nutrition, can't wait to try it. Perfect timing too as I'm having a real making soup week or two here. Your freezer contents are so interesting! One of my 'thing's this year is to get better at labelling those handy leftovers for one thing. Thanks for the extra inspiration to get going on that Heidi. As always, wonderful sounding recipe and can't wait to make it - this week!


The soup sounds wonderful - if only I weren't allergic to beans! And I am sooo jealous of the cherries in your freezer. May I ask if I should keep kaffir lime leaves in the freezer, and some other spices too, perhaps? Or is that what you do with fresh spices?
Thank you for your wonderful posts.


Maybe there's an upside to not owning a freezer after all: I can't throw things in and forget about them!


What a delicious soup! I love your soup recipes - never a dull one in the bunch. They're always so healing, healthy, delicious. Your freezer rummaging reminds me that I have several Parmesan rinds in my freezer that I keep forgetting - they need to be tossed in my next batch of broth!


What a delcious looking recipe. You've inspired me to go and clean out my freezer now, too!


This is such a great recipe for leftovers. I always encourage frugal shoppers that the makings of a great and healthy soup are usually in their pantry, refrigerator, or freezer.

Susan Kessler

Yet another fabulous sounding soup, and with freezer leftovers, even better!

As an alternative to using canned tomatoes in soup, I've been trying something new lately. Back in September, "The Tomato Lady" at my favorite farmer's market suggested freezing whole tomatoes in freezer bags. I liked the idea of having access to her seasonal goodies in February, so I went for it.

Now, any mid-winter soup that calls for a can of tomatoes, I just haul 3 whole frozen tomatoes, run them under the faucet to remove the skins, let them thaw in a bowl and crush them into the soup.

It makes for the freshest tasting soups that even my non-tomato loving husband raves can appreciate. I highly recommend trying it if you have the space in your freezer!

HS: Love this idea - thanks for sharing Rita.


definitely a familair "problem". I have kaffir lime leaves, curry leaves, some scones, lots of blueberries from Michigan, rack of lamb, and lots of bread. no cooked beans tho.... :)

heather @ chiknpastry

I don't know if anyone else said this, but alternatively, you could put some of those cherries in the pot instead of the olives. Or in addition, for lots of richness, I suppose. Mmmm...I cannot wait to make this! Thank you!


Your healthy list of freezer contents made me jealous for more space! I have a counter-depth refrigerator/freezer side by side appliance, and there's simply no room for all the delicious bits you've crammed into yours. Though I do have a bag of parmesan rinds that I like to toss into a pot of ribollita for extra flavor.


How and when do you use parmesean rinds?


I have a bag of dried bread cubes left over from the holidays that keep staring at me reproachfully. I imagine those would work? Maybe need more liquid?

HS: Hi Theano, sure, give them a go. You can always adjust the amount of liquid.


I wonder if spinach could be used instead of kale?

HS: As far as alternatives go, the lacinato kale is quite distinctive, and has structure. I'd swap in chard as a first choice, spinach as a second choice.


I have a vacuum packer. In my younger days I wouldn't have been caught dead with such a bourgeois appliance in my kitchen, now I use it frequently to freeze leftovers and store things like flour and ingredients I don't use very often (I have to eat gluten free so have a lot of little bits of exotic this and that). What the ads say is true: food stays fresher much longer. The downside is that I feel less guilt about wasting food, so the freezer can fill up pretty fast!


such a good start to the new year! Did the
same thing to my freezer, but could go back
even farther: something from 2003 which became history (or maybe historic??!) The
soup looks divine and am trying it this weekend. Found 4 (newer) quarts of homemade vegetable stock, so will put them
to good use. 'tis the season for soups and chowders in the midwest. Thanks, Heidi!


Yum. I have been looking for a good ribollita recipe for years.
Will try this next week - thanks!


loved olive's suggestion for the kale--a great way to keep it on hand, and storage-friendly.

on the theme of storage, cleaning out the freezer and cupboards--you're right--it's time! we decided hereon to stop using canned anything unless we've canned it ourselves. the BPA liner in cans is one toxic thing we think we can live without. until summer, tetra-packed pomi tomatoes are the answer for us, supplementing with roasting fresh ones.


Hmmmm, you've piqued my curiosity Heidi! This recipe looks delish but in your header notes you said of the Green Soup with Ginger you had in the freezer that you 'puree it and make a tart filling'? Do tell! Do you just add it to an eggy-custard-y base to make a quiche-like type of savory tart or ? The Green Soup with Ginger has become one of my very (frequently made!) favourites and I'm never sure what to do with leftovers. Would love at some point to hear how it translates over into a tart :)

HS: I'll write it up the next time I make one!


I'm definitely going to try this recipe. It's the time of year for soups, and I've got plenty of kale still out in the garden begging to be used, and beans in the cupboard!

The Rowdy Chowgirl

HIlarious, I posted a ribollita recipe too, but I used savoy cabbage as I couldn't get my hands on black kale. Just as I guessed in my post it looks much prettier with the kale. Yum!


Freezer amnesia happens to you, too? I feel a little better now.


I LOVE Ribollita and this recipe sounds great. Beans, kale and parmesan is such a great combination and I always feel so healthy eating kale. In its raw form it is supposed to reduce turmor growth in cancer patients - a true superfood.


Amber @ Native Food and Wine

You have Kaffir Lime Leaves in your freezer? I love them . . but don't know much what to do with them. Can you post some recipes with them?

kim yeakel

As @lynneux requested, I'd also love to hear how you use the Green Soup as a tart filling! That's one of my favorite recipes and would love to expand on it.

Looking forward to making this Ribollita tonight!

HS: Ok! I promise to write it up at some point.

Jenn (TinyChoices.com)

Thanks not only for the great recipes, but for solving my past weekend's mystery- the little purple packages are frozen acai!!! yeah- smoothie and ribollita here I come!


This looks wonderful, as do all of your recipes! I only wish I had as much freezer space as you. :)


Like @lynneux, this soup reminds me of the Green Soup with Ginger. YUM. Sounds fabulous! I'd like to know what the parmesan rinds are for, too!
Thanks for your great recipes :)


Looks excellent! I sooo enjoy Ribollita and you are right, there are so many different ways I have seen it made.


Thanks Heidi.. say, what if I used Amaranth leaves instead to make this? Do I need to tweak the recipe a bit to make it work?

Also, do tell me, how does one freeze: a) Kaffir leaves b) Lemon Grass c) Ginger

And finally, it is always so wonderful to read all the posts one after another...reminds me of all my old friends and the chatter we would have over a recipe and how each one works it differently or whatever... I take away much more than the recipe form your site!

To all of you, have a blessed 2010!


@TFoz Parmesan rinds are great to toss into brothy soups (especially any with greens n' beans) as they cook. The Parmesan adds such a rich flavour to the soup, it's awesome.

@meera I have only frozen Kaffir lime leaves and ginger and for both I have just wrapped them well and placed them in a sealed freezer bag with as little air as possible and they keep fine for a couple of months. The lime leaves seem to lose potency the longer they are frozen but I never buy more than I can use in 2 or 3 months so I'm not sure how much they'll degrade kept longer.

Ginger I almost always just keep in the freezer as it makes it easier to grate. It stays fresher frozen, as when I leave it at room temperature exposed to air it seems to get more fibrous and stringy and hard to work with.

Ginger and lime leaves are definitely freezer staples for me.


i guess i am not the only one who lives in an area where no one has ever heard of lacinato kale; i know about it from a larger city where i formerly lived. and substitutions are usually possible.
i have not tried this recipe but have found others of your recipes quite good.,

n. voit

OMG, it is sooooooooooooo good! I just ate 3 bowls and I put some of my petrified rinds in it while cooking it. Thank you again.

susan McKee-Nugent

Thanks Heidi. Valuable. Because the kafir leaves at least are rare to come by at the vegetable vendor's. Although ginger is easy, yes they get stringy ad dull... so your method is precious! Thax for taking time off to reply!


Wow! That looks amazing. I am always looking for new recipes with beans.


Wow! That looks amazing. I am always looking for new recipes with beans.


Your freezer sounds like mine, I even have about 5lbs of cherries from this summer too. This recipe looks really good, I'll make a note to try it soon, maybe after I clean out my freezer!

Jacqui @ So Good & Tasty

I read the post this morning, stopped by the market on my way home and found chard but no kale, but decided to adapt the soup. It's delicious. My boyfriend had a second helping -- quite unusual for him -- and I'm already dreaming of leftovers for lunch.

HS: Glad you liked it Kris!


Looks fantastic! I can't wait to make this dish.


This looks perfect for a snowy day like today. Yum!


Heidi -
is it okay to let the parmigiano rind cook away into oblivion when you are using it, in a pot of soup or sauce - or are you only supposed to 'steep' it for a little while to add the flavor? Thanks

HS: I let it go until the soup or broth has the flavor I'm after, then fish out the rind.

carolina p

Such a perfect meal for a cold January night. Made this last night for the family, and it just felt so good in the tummy. The recipe really does make 10 to 12 servings, so will cut it in half next time around.

Livin Local

Beans can be a magical thing when combined the right way. What a delightful use of them!


HI- I, too, love making ribollita in the winter and once I came across a recipe that called for baking it in the oven after cooking on the stove. It cooked much slower, but I found that it came out so much better. Instead of everything mushing together, each ingredient kept its integrity, shape and taste perfectly. What prompted my comment was a reader's question "what does ribollita mean." It means "re- boiled" because it is made first and eaten as is the first day, then reheated with stale bread the second, and on the third if there is any left, it is no longer very liquid and it is heaped on top of bruschetta. That was told to me by the Italian woman who taught me to make it.


I'm now kicking myself for not freezing more Tuscan kale from the CSA....I made a similar soup the other week, but this has more variety and I had forgotten to include tomatoes. Can't wait to give this a go. Thanks, Heidi.

Carol Busch

this soup looks absolutely gorgeous and sounds delicious! i have run into similar situations with my freezer, forgetting what's in there, but did see that there's an app for keeping track of what's in one's freezer:


I always dread cleaning out the freezer until I actually go through the motions. And then, somehow, it's very inspiring. Our freezer inventory could use some updating too -- so thanks for the reminder. I wonder how many parmesan rinds I have lying around in mine!

This looks like a wonderful way to use up all those pounds of beans.


Looks great! Reminds me of escarole and beans, my family makes it the most in the winter.


Jenn (j3nn.net)

I love Ribolita. I was hooked after my first (and last so far, tant pis) trip to Florence. People still remember when I hosted and presented the big pot on the table.

I like putting purple cabbage in mine, makes the color get all funky. And I never thought of adding olives, great idea!


I was so excited to receive your cookbook as an xmas gift, but you keep posting such amazing recipes on your website, I'm not sure when I'll get to it :) This soup looks amazing!


this looks so warm and hearty for the chilly weather we're having. this post made me laugh b/c your freezer sounds like mine! just threw away an expired pack of acai juice too.

nithya at hungrydesi

Wow, Heidi. I just made this tonight. My husband inhaled 2 bowls upon arriving home after work. It is cold here in Cleveland and this hits the spot. Last weekend I was at our local grocery chain, Heinen's, and noticed some beautiful looking kale varieties, including lacinato. They even had some pale yellow kind that looked interesting. Anyway, we really enjoyed every bite of this. You're a doll!


This was fantastic! I got so excited when I saw this last night. I had kale, white beans AND oily olives in the fridge and I couldn't resist. This is the first recipe that I've made from your site and if everything is as good as this then I will definitely be making many more :p


Heidi, Do you think this would work with vegetable stock thickened with arrowroot instead of tomatoes-I can't eat them, but this sounds perfect otherwise.


Dear Heidi,
My Italian grandmother always made us her version of ribollita. I've never forgotten it. Her recipe was....."a little of this, a little of that..."
So I've tried several times to reproduce it in the recent past. This version looks great to try next!

Marney Cox

Barley and Farro both have gluten, but for a g-f version without bread, perhaps millet would work nicely?


Barley and Farro both have gluten, but for a g-f version without bread, perhaps millet would work nicely?


I riff'd on this last night, based on what I had in the house (cranberry and scarlet runner beans, curly kale, home-canned tomatoes from the summer, and the remains of a Judy's Breadstick).

It was delicious!


This list is hilarious! I'll read it to my toddler tonight instead of the (less funny) list in The Very Hungry Caterpillar: One piece of chocolate cake, one lollipop, one slice of swiss cheese, one salami, one pickle, one slice of watermelon. . . .


I made this last night and it was fantastic. I would venture to say that is the best soup/stew I have ever made, except that I can't remember all of them. It is certainly at the top of the list. I used stale-ish whole wheat hamburger buns from Whole Foods as the bread. I did not remove the crusts, as they were quite soft. They worked just fine in the Ribollita. I had a bowl for lunch today, and it was even better.

Christine Whittington

Love it! -- Jillian


hi heidi!

i'm a professional cook on her way to another job and today i made my last family meal for the amazing, lovely front-of-house staff.

i made them this soup. i tweaked it a little, but it was awesome and amazing and filled their bellies with every good wish i have for them and with my gratitude for being so kind to me- and with bread. and beans. and i put a poached egg on top of every bowl, so with a poached egg, too.



so thanks! you rock. the chocolate tart is next.


This is why I continuously refer my friends and clients to your site and book. As far as I'm concerned, this is a perfect recipe and a perfect meal!

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

Wow, this is exactly what I didn't realize I was craving. Will make, asap. Also, it's sort of Rachael Ray-esqe, but freezing things (esp. herbs/veggies/beans) flat in freezer bags and then stacking them is a huge help for me in terms of space and visibility!

Amy (Crossing Amy)

This looks great, the boy and I are being Vegan for a week so will try this out... he says he is hungry always without meat!


thank you for your idea of what to do with a bowl of leftover chopped collards...they will take a trip from the south, to Tuscany now!!!


Thanks for this wonderful recipe! I made this soup a couple days ago and it was just as delicious as it looks. And what a fabulous way to use excess bread! Even my carnivore husband liked this, but I'm thinking some kind of sausage would be excellent added to the soup for those who "need" meat. Vegetarian that I am loved it just the way it was.


I think a lot of people are cleaning out their freezers these days! I have 2 freezers, and did just the same thing.

I did think I have to label things more, because I defrosted what I thought was crushed tomatoes from my Mom's garden and was going to make home made pasta sauce, and it was pureed pumpkin!

Your soup looks amazing as always!


I made this yesterday with some changes and it turned out great! I swapped sweet potatoes for the carrots but the sweetness is a little jarring so I wouldn't recommend it. Also, I didn't bother removing the crust from the bread and it turned out fine. I also doubled the tomatoes and crushed red pepper flakes. Yum!

I'm sure I'll make this again but next time I think I'll soak the bread and throw it in the food processor before adding to the soup to get the bread really broken down.

I love the addition of the oily black olives! It was a great excuse to buy my favorite kind and it added such a great flavor. I've had a few kale & white bean soups and this was definitely the best!


Wow wowie wow wow


looks super good! And, so glad I found your site! Really really great ideas and photos! I love your site! I will have to try this recipe. Thanks!


First time visitor but your blog is on every blogroll I see. Beautiful site and great photos. Just starting my site and I can only hope to be (one day) half as good as you.


i love this!


After living in Florence for 6 months in college and falling in love with Ribollita while there, I tried making this when I came back to the states. You're right--I have searched in dozens of Italian cookbooks and there's not one recipe that's the same. But some things that never change are the swiss chard, black kale, and a little savoy cabbage. I also add some leeks to give it a better flavor, and fresh green extra virgin olive oil is essential to top off the soup once finished. I've also tried it with day old wheat bread, but it's never as good as the white Tuscan bread. This looks so good, I think it's about time to make some more! Thanks for posting!


Thank you for grams and milliliters! :)


So, so cold - cannot wait to try this! And may finally clear some space in pantry and freezer.

Ana Sofia

What a great winter-time soup...and a fantastic way to use up your freezer remnants! I always look forward to reading your posts and trying your recipes!

Kristin Conroy

Thank you for this great recipe! We cooked it on Thursday and it gets better with reheating it! The olives were a great addition!

Cook from Oakland

I made this the other night and it is delicious. I doubled the tomatoes by accident, but I was happy with the result. I also like the addition of the lemon zest.


I made this last night for friends and it came out fantastic! Used brown rice instead of bread and very nearly left out the lemon zest, which turned out to be the very thing that made it absolutely delicious! Thanks for your wonderful site! You are doing us all a great service by posting such healthy and delicious recipes!


The list of ingredients is hilarious! Can anybody explain me what European-style butter is? As an European, I was not aware that we have a peculiar style even in butter.
For non vegetarian versions of ribollita, it is traditional to add a prosciutto bone with a little meat left. It makes a great broth.


That looks fantastic! I am definitely going to give this a try! Any recommendations for the canned tomatoes?


That looks fantastic! I am definitely going to give this a try! Any recommendations for the canned tomatoes?


I recently cleaned out my fridge and freezer and the contents were not nearly so interesting. ha ha - I had to throw out lots of it because it was expired.

This soup look warm and satisfying. A great way to use kale! I was part of a CSA a few years ago and always had trouble thinking of things to make with the kale!

Jen @ Tiny Urban Kitchen

The Ribollita Soup, Jan. 10, 2010 was the first recipe I have tried since I joined your e mail and facebook group.

I was very impressed the directions were so simple and easy to follow.

The soup turned out perfect!!! I used an organic whole wheat bread and took off the crust.

The beans were Eden Organic, Cannellini White Kidney Beans No Salt Added and Low Fat 15 oz. can. I rinsed the beans and added 1 can and the second can I mashed.

I used San Marzano 28 ounce crushed tomatoes.

My daughter loved the soup. My son wanted it to have some meat. I love the idea of adding Italian Sausage and Parmesan, Basil Pesto for a change.

Thanks for sharing your great recipes and talent!!!!!!!!


looks fantastic! I just might make this tonight!


I made this soup this morning, exactly as written. I just had a big bowl of it. It's delicious!!! I'm vegan, and so many of the recipes you post work for me. At Thanksgiving I made the Roasted Pumpkin Salad and everyone loved it. Thank you!


I've been thinking of this ribollita recipe since you posted it, and finally got around to making it today. I guess it was only 8 days, but I was really looking forward to it! It didn't disappoint. I gobbled up one bowl, fed my 13 month-old some for dinner and will be enjoying it again for lunch tomorrow. And the next day! Fabulous way to eat a whole lotta kale (yum).


Heidi --

By 4 cups cooked beans, do you mean 4 cups of dried beans cooked? Or do you mean 4 cups of cooked beans at the end of the cooking process? In which case, how many cups dried beans is this? Thank you!

HS: Hi Katherine. Cook a pot of beans, drain, measure out four cups. Done. Use any leftover beans in a salad or saute or some sort.


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