Ribollita – A Delicious, Hearty and Satisfying Vegan Tuscan Soup

Ribollita - Vegan Tuscan Soup

Yes, spring has most definitely sprung. It’s been a long time coming. Soups may not be on the top of everyone’s list of things to eat as they bathe in the sunshine today, but the night’s are still chilly and a good bowl of soup is satisfying at almost any time of the year. Ribollita is a hearty vegan Tuscan soup made from cannellini beans, stale bread and kale. It may not sound that appetising, but it’s delicious.

Ribollita

Ribollita is classic Italian peasant food. The name means reboiled, so traditionally it would have been a dish of leftovers and whatever was around made into an almost stew-like soup. Think bubble & squeak but with no frying. I very much doubt there was any conscious decision to be vegan, but olive oil, beans, veg and bread would have been all that many could get their hands on. No need for a blender. It’s so easy to make, cheap and tasty, it’s become a regular supper in a bowl for us.

Ribollita - Vegan Tuscan Soup

The key to simple dishes, like ribollita, are the ingredients and here a good quality olive oil is needed. It really makes a difference. I used Suma’s organic extra virgin olive oil from Italy which is deep green and fragrant. Kale and leeks are still being harvested here in the UK, so this is still a seasonal dish. Because of this, I used leeks rather than onions. Use whatever vegetables you have to hand, but do include some sort of kale or cabbage if you can. Spinach works OK, but it doesn’t have the same hearty chewiness about it and the resultant ribollita feels slightly lacking.

It’s probably better to use denser rustic bread or sourdough for this dish as it will give a fuller flavour and help to thicken things up. Rye bread is our normal bread of choice and this is what went into the soup. I happened to have an open bottle of white wine in the fridge, so added a glug – just because. Wine is not an authentic ingredient for ribollita, so don’t worry about opening a bottle specially.

I used my Optimum Pressure Cooker to cook my soaked beans. 500g of dried beans is the approximate equivalent to four 400g tins once cooked. The whole lot went in to the pan; once cooked I freeze them in tin size portions for when needed. It’s best to crush some of the beans for this recipe, it helps to give a good texture and makes a nice thick soup. 

Ribollita - Vegan Tuscan Soup

It’s a slow process, but bit by bit I’m getting a few edibles into our new garden. I was excited to be able to scatter a little of our very own parsley over the top of the ribollita just before serving. There are few things more satisfying than eating your own homegrown produce – however small. 

Wild Garlic

As well as the beans, olive oil, fennel seeds and bouillon from Suma Wholefoods that I needed for this recipe, I also stocked up on pine nuts for pesto during the short wild garlic season. Wild garlic pesto is one of my favourite things and I look forward to spring so I can start foraging. This year was a bit tricky. I knew exactly where to go for clean wild garlic back in Cornwall, but in my new New Forest home, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find any. Luckily, CT came across a large patch in the woods near where he works, so my fears of not getting any this year were allayed.

Wild garlic pesto can be used for so many things, not just pasta. To enhance soups and stews just add a blob when serving. As good as it is, even this ribollita benefits. It works well in a spring risotto, makes the best cheese scones ever and is fantastic in these asparagus tarts. My wild garlic pesto isn’t vegan, but it easily could be if needed. 

Suma Organic Low Salt Bouillon

Suma Ingredients for Ribollita

I’ve never been terribly impressed with stock cubes and tend not to use them, adding some miso or tamari instead. However, since I tried Suma’s organic low salt bouillon a couple of months ago, I’ve been using it quite a lot. I find just a little adds extra depth and flavour, without being at all obvious. And because it’s lower in salt than most, I’m happy to use it to enhance flavours rather than overwhelm them. I’ve been using it in all sorts of dishes, including this ribollita. 

Ribollita – The Recipe

Ribollita
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Soaking Time
8 hrs
Total Time
45 mins
 
A hearty vegan Tuscan soup made from cannellini beans, stale bread and kale. It may not sound that appetising, but it's delicious.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2 people
Author: Choclette @ Tin and Thyme
Ingredients
  • 125 g dried cannellini beans or drain and rinse a 400g tin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 leek - finely sliced or 1 onion
  • 2 celery stalks - diced
  • 2 carrots - diced
  • 2 garlic cloves - finely chopped
  • 8 small tomatoes - halved
  • 50 ml white wine (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • small red chilli - deseeded and finely chopped or ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 500 ml water
  • 1 tsp bouillon
  • 2 slices rustic bread I used rye sourdough
  • 200 g cavolo nero or other kale or use spring cabbage - shredded
  • 2 sprigs parsley - chopped
  • 1 tsp wild garlic pesto (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cover the beans in plenty of cold water and soak them overnight. Rinse well, cover with clean water, bring to the boil with the bay leaf, then simmer with a lid on until soft. This usually takes about an hour. Alternatively cook them in a pressure cooker or slow cooker as per instructions.

  2. In a large pan, fry the leeks, celery, carrots and garlic in 1 tbsp of the olive oil over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes or until softened.
  3. Add the tomatoes, wine (if including), herbs, spices and bouillon powder and cook with the lid on for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Roughly crush half of the beans and add them along with the bread and water. Simmer with the lid on for a further 5 minutes.

  5. Finally add the cavolo nero and simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve the ribollita with a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil, a scattering of parsley and the wild garlic pesto, if using.

Recipe Notes

Serves 2 as a hearty main, or 4 as a lighter lunch.

Can cook a larger quantity of beans and freeze them in tin size portions for when needed.

 

Suma Bloggers NetworkThis recipe for ribollita is my thirteenth for the Suma Blogger’s Network

 

 

 

 

#CookBlogShareI’m also sharing it with Easy Peasy Foodie for #CookBlogShare

 

 

 

Other chunky soups you might like

Ribollita. PIN IT.

Ribollita - A Hearty Vegan Tuscan Soup.

Some of the ingredients for this recipe were provided by Suma Wholefoods. I was not expected to write a positive review and all opinions are, as always, my own. The post contains affiliate links. Buying through a link will not cost you any more, but I will get a small commission. Thanks to my readers for supporting the brands and organisations that help to keep Tin and Thyme blythe and blogging. 

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Comments

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      8th May 2018

      Thanks Angie. Yes, that’s exactly right, it’s an every day sort of soup which is super satisfying.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      8th May 2018

      Thanks Sisley. With the amount of vegan food porn that’s doing the rounds, I don’t think there’s much doubt about that 😉

  1. Leave a Reply

    neil@neilshealthymeals.com
    8th May 2018

    I love stew-like rustic soups like this! When I was growing up my mum and gran’s soups were always stew-like soups. Leftover garden cabbage and the like thrown in the pot with a good home made stock. I loved them and that’s probably why I still love soups, make my own and have them nearly every day. Pinned this. This is definitely something I’d like to try with my slow cooker.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      8th May 2018

      Thanks Neil. I’m with you on the soups. Sort of thing my mum used to serve up too. I’ve not actually tried it in a slow cooker, but I’m sure it would work well.

  2. Leave a Reply

    Galina Varese
    8th May 2018

    Very tasty soup! I haven’t tried Suma bouillon, but often use Marigold Vegetable Bouillion powder, they also have it in reduced salt and vegan versions, all very good for soups. Thank you for linking up my recipe!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      9th May 2018

      My pleasure Galina. I’ve not made borscht for years and really ought to as I do like it.

  3. Leave a Reply

    Janice
    8th May 2018

    Such a lovely chunky soup, definitely needed today as it’s turned so cold again.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      9th May 2018

      Sometimes a smooth soup is needed and sometimes nothing but a hearty chunky one will do.

  4. Leave a Reply

    Jenny
    8th May 2018

    I love this kind of meal, the soup sounds really nourishing.

  5. Leave a Reply

    MissPond
    9th May 2018

    I actually prefer chunky soups so this would be perfect for me. Have pinned for later 🙂

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      16th May 2018

      Ah, you’re missing out. Wild garlic pesto is one of my spring highlights. You’ll probably need to wait until next year now.

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