Easy Ribollita soups is a classic Tuscan bean, kale, vegetable and bread soup. My version bakes the bread right on top of the soup, too!
We had a good dumping of snow yesterday, so a hearty soup is definitely in order. This easy Ribollita soup is a classic Tuscan bread soup, with beans, kale and vegetables. Ribollita is a great use for your stale bread!
There isn't much to making this soup. Simply simmer until the vegetables are tender. When ready, top with bread slices, drizzle with olive oil, top with Parmesan and pop in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the bread is crispy and golden. To eat, simply spoon off a chunk of the bread with a spoonful of soup.
Serve this one out right from the pot, with a ladle of the hearty soup and a slice of bread to top it. Add another drizzle of olive oil and some more Parmesan, for a simply delicious bowl of comforting soup.
Canned Diced Tomatoes: You can use any type of diced tomatoes, though I love the extra flavour of Fire-Roasted diced tomatoes. Look for Muir Glen brand for the fire-roasted variety (often found in the natural food section for some reason). If you only have canned whole tomatoes on hand, go ahead and use them. Hand-crush them before adding to the soup.
White Kidney Beans: These beans are usually labelled White Kidney Beans in my part of the world, though you might also find them labelled as Cannellini beans. You could also use regular red kidney beans here, if that's what you have on hand. The size of the can is somewhat flexible, as they often vary slightly depending on the brand. Somewhere around 18 oz give or take an oz is fine.
Italian Bread: I like to start with a whole, unsliced Italian loaf. Day-old bread is best if you can find it (and cheaper :). Cut the ends off the loaf to add to the soup, then cut thick slices from the middle of the loaf to put on top. The type of bread isn't as important as the ability to cut thick slices, so any unsliced loaf of any type is best here.
Parmesan Rind: I like to keep the tough, rind end of my Parmesan in a separate bag in the fridge just for soups like this. Just drop it into the simmering soup to add a lovely bit of flavour. If you don't have a rind, you can add a small chunk from the cheese itself.
Adding some bread chunks to the soup itself is traditional, but if the idea doesn't appeal to you, feel free to just go with the bread on top. As the bread in the soup acts as a bit of a thickener, maybe decrease the amount of added chicken stock a bit to get a thicker soup that way.
For photographic purposes (so you could see the soup in the pot), I placed the bread slices down the centre of the pot. In your kitchen, go ahead and cover the entire top of the soup with bread slices, because the more bread the merrier, I think. Overlap them slightly for more crispy bread bits or lay flat for less crispy bits.
This soup is best enjoyed fresh from the oven, though I have refrigerated and enjoyed left-overs. The soup thickens to more of a stew and the bread softens slightly, but it's still quite enjoyable.
Be sure to generously salt your soup, to really bring out all the great flavours. When it comes to soup, if you taste it and you think it's "missing something", it's almost always salt it needs!
Ribollita is a soup that rewards great ingredients. I like to use great canned tomatoes, really good olive oil, Parm Reggiano and a lovely loaf of bread.
Make ahead! You can make the soup part (without the bread topping) ahead and refrigerate. When ready to eat, re-warm on the stove-top, then top with the bread and bake in the oven. Thin with a little more chicken stock, if needed.
Easy Ribollita Soup
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, sliced or diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes, fire-roasted recommended
- 18 oz can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups chicken broth
- Parmesan rind, optional
- 1 1/2 cups bread crust chunks, *see notes
- 3 stalks Kale, stalk removed and leaves roughly chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Infused Olive Oil:
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
- 6-8 slices Italian bread, thickly sliced, slightly stale, if possible, plus loaf ends to add to the soup
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, loosely packed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Heat olive oil in a large, oven-safe pot (like a Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, if using and cook, stirring, another 30-45 seconds. Add the diced tomatoes, kidney beans, chicken broth and Parmesan rind, if using. Stir well to combine.
- Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the carrots and celery are tender, about 30 minutes (taste test to be sure vegetables are tender).
- While soup is simmering, prepare the infused oil. Combine the olive oil, sliced garlic and red pepper flakes, if using in a 1 cup measuring cup. Heat lightly in the microwave for just 15-20 seconds, just to release the flavour from the garlic a bit. Set aside. (Alternately warm olive oil lightly in a small saucepan).
- Cut the ends from the loaf of bread, cutting about 1 1/2 inches in. Tear into chunks and set aside. Cut 6-8 thick (1-inch-ish) slices from the middle of the loaf and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 450F when soup is nearing ready.
- When vegetables are tender in the soup, taste and add a generous sprinkling of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Add the kale to the soup in two additions, stirring into the soup as they wilt. Add the bread chunks to the soup and stir to combine. Simmer a few more minutes, then top soup with thick bread slices, covering the entire top of the pot. *Overlap the bread slices slightly for more crispy bread, or lay flat onto the top of the soup for less crispy bread. Drizzle bread slices with several tablespoons of the infused olive oil (don't use it all as you will want to save some for serving). Sprinkle with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Place pot into preheated oven (uncovered) and cook for 13-15 minutes, or until bread is toasted and golden around the edges.
- To serve, spoon into bowls with soup and a bread slice per serving. Drizzle with additional infused oil and top with additional Parmesan cheese.
Nutritional information provided for general guidance only and should not be relied upon to make personal health decisions.