Ribollita Tuscan soup sounds to me sort of like it’s name – a stick-to-your-ribs hearty soup, that magically happens to be both deeply satiating yet not in a heavy way. It’s also wonderfully healthy – based on whatever vegetables you choose to add in – as most most broth and vegetable based soups are.
It’s a perfect complete meal in a bowl, especially on a chilly winter night. Or morning, for that matter – which makes me question why soup for breakfast hasn’t caught on as a “thing”? And not just a trend, but like a mainstay habit. Yes no maybe??
The bread is what really makes this a special soup. At first, the thought of bread stirred into soup didn’t sound terribly appealing to me – sog city, right? – but after it cooks in and steeps a bit, much of the bread falls apart to make for an overall heartier, thicker soup consistency. And some remaining bits of mainly crust that soften completely but remain somewhat intact are actually welcome unusual addition to a soup. You most certainly will not end up with a bowl of thin broth with a few bits and pieces floating in it – this is Soup with a capital S.
So. You really don’t need any other accompaniments with this soup for it to be a completely satisfying meal in terms of taste, fullness and nutrition… but, if you want something on the side, try the simplest salad imaginable: green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, fresh squeezed lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Light, lovely, refreshing, healthy!
Make a big pot so you’ll have leftovers – it is perhaps even better on day 2 and 3 (even chilled). Especially with a splash or two (or three) of your favorite hot sauce mixed in!
My following recipe is an approximation – I threw this together as I went along with vegetables I had, based on a few different recipes I skimmed over. Use whatever you prefer in a soup, and adjust the liquid quantity as needed.
Recipe: Ribollita Soup
What You Need
- 3-4 cups mixed vegetables, diced (e.g., small sweet white onion, carrot, celery stalk, zucchini, potatoes)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- olive oil
- salt & lots of pepper
- crushed red pepper
- dried basil, to taste
- several large handfuls of kale leaves
- 2 14 oz cans of preferred beans
- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (preferably no/low-sodium)
- 1-2 cups stale or lightly toasted bread (preferably whole wheat), torn/chopped
- 4 cups vegetable broth (homemade or no/low-sodium)
- 1-3 cups hot water, as needed
- 8 oz can tomato sauce (no/low-sodium)
What You Do
- Heat a large stock pot over medium heat with a few glugs of olive oil, and sautee the garlic for a few minutes
- Add in all of your vegetables and cook for at least 15 minutes, or until everything begins to soften – but watch it carefully as you don’t want the veggies to brown
- Add in diced tomatoes, then broth/water one cup at a time – enough to cover all of the vegetables – and season with a pinch or salt and some pepper
- Simmer covered, stirring once in a while
- If much of the liquid gets absorbed, add more broth/hot water
- Note: The soup at this stage should cook for at least 1.5 hours
- Stir in tomato sauce, basil and more pepper and crushed pepper if using – as well as another pinch of salt if needed
- Once the soup tastes “done,” stir in the bread pieces and cook until they absorb into the liquid and begin falling apart
- Stir in beans and kale and another 1-2 tbsp olive oil, and cook for at least 15 minutes
- Note: Keep tasting as you go, and adjust seasonings, liquid ratio, etc. to your preferences. You really can’t go wrong!
- Serve hot in a big soup bowl – and store leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for a few days (and dig in to the soup chilled!)
(P.S. Goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway – this ribolitta soup is completely vegan!)