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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.

Dried Beans

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. I tend to add miso or tamari instead, both of which are firm favourites. 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 - Vegan Tuscan Soup
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Ribollita

A hearty vegan Tuscan soup made from cannellini beans, stale bread and kale. It may not sound that appetising, but it's delicious.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Soaking Time8 hrs
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: kale, peasant food, soup, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 363kcal

Ingredients

  • 125 g dried cannellini beans or drain and rinse a 400g tin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 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)
  • 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

  • Cover the beans in plenty of cold water and soak them overnight. Rinse well, cover with clean water, bring to the boil with one of the bay leaves, 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.
  • 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.
  • Add the tomatoes, wine (if including), remaining bay leaf, herbs, spices and bouillon powder and cook with the lid on for a further 5 minutes.
  • 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.
  • Finally add the cavolo nero and simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes.
  • Serve the ribollita with a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil, a scattering of parsley and the wild garlic pesto, if using.

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.
Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They're approximate and will depend on serving size and exact ingredients used.

Nutrition

Calories: 363kcal | Carbohydrates: 68.2g | Protein: 17.3g | Fat: 2.7g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 255mg | Potassium: 2108mg | Fiber: 16.5g | Sugar: 15.2g | Calcium: 240mg | Iron: 7.4mg

Linkies

This recipe for ribollita is my thirteenth for the Suma Blogger’s Network.

I’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.

Suma Wholefoods provided some of the ingredients for this recipe. 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 blithe and blogging. 

26 Comments

  1. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    7th May 2018 at 5:39 am

    That looks like a really wonderful soup for everyday.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      8th May 2018 at 10:23 am

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

      Reply
  2. Sisley White

    8th May 2018 at 12:16 pm

    It looks so great. Proof that vegan can look good and taste good.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      8th May 2018 at 4:00 pm

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

      Reply
  3. neil@neilshealthymeals.com

    8th May 2018 at 2:44 pm

    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.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      8th May 2018 at 4:01 pm

      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.

      Reply
  4. Galina Varese

    8th May 2018 at 4:37 pm

    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!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      9th May 2018 at 3:31 pm

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

      Reply
  5. Janice

    8th May 2018 at 9:32 pm

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

    Reply
    • Choclette

      9th May 2018 at 3:30 pm

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

      Reply
  6. Jenny

    8th May 2018 at 9:59 pm

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

    Reply
    • Choclette

      9th May 2018 at 3:35 pm

      Thanks Jenny. It’s not very sophisticated, but it is really good.

      Reply
  7. MissPond

    9th May 2018 at 8:32 am

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

    Reply
    • Choclette

      9th May 2018 at 3:29 pm

      Hope you like it. Let me know what you think if you do make it.

      Reply
  8. helen @ family-friends-food.com

    9th May 2018 at 9:16 pm

    Ooh, that looks yummy! I’m a big fan of soup, although my other half doesn’t agree, so I have to make things like this just for me – time to treat myself!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      28th May 2018 at 3:28 pm

      Oh no! I’m shocked. How can anyone not like soup?

      Reply
  9. Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

    10th May 2018 at 10:35 am

    Love this kind of soup – such great, fresh, hearty ingredients. Give me a big wedge of crusty bread and I’m sorted 😀

    Reply
    • Choclette

      28th May 2018 at 3:31 pm

      Well exactly. A simple, but delicious meal.

      Reply
  10. Jacqueline Meldrum

    10th May 2018 at 7:39 pm

    That looks so filling and tasty. Almost a stew. That’s how my husband likes his soup. Shared!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      28th May 2018 at 3:32 pm

      It’s certainly filling enough to be a stew – a hearty meal all by itself.

      Reply
  11. Kate - Gluten Free Alchemist

    14th May 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Oh that does look hearty! I am feeling particularly chilly today, so would welcome a bowl….. with some GF bread x

    Reply
    • Choclette

      28th May 2018 at 3:33 pm

      Normally I’d say I’d be happy to eat this any time, but I’m currently melting in a heat wave and have to say I just want salad.

      Reply
  12. All That I'm Eating

    15th May 2018 at 7:21 pm

    I love ribollita, really like the sound of the wild garlic pesto!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      16th May 2018 at 3:30 pm

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

      Reply
  13. Nayna Kanabar

    31st May 2018 at 12:00 pm

    This soup looks hearty and delicious as I love texture in soups. Also I love soup all the year round even in the summer.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      31st May 2018 at 7:59 pm

      Yay, another soup lover. Soup is so satisfying and usually easy to make too.

      Reply

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