Sylvia’s Ribollita Tuscan Kale Soup

Sylvia's Ribollita Tuscan Kale Soup

Updated 13 August 2020

Ribollita is a Tuscan peasant style (vegetarian) soup made with bread, vegetables, cannellini beans and the essential ingredient is the robust green Cavolo Nero or Tuscan Kale. Ribollita in Italian translated literally means “re-boiled”. This very healthy soup has medieval origins as it is believed that servants collected the left-overs from wealthy banquets and re-boiled the bread, vegetables and stock to create a hearty soup. I used to cook this dish (but not with left-overs!) at our restaurant with rooms The Peacock Inn Chelsworth in countryside UK where it was a popular lunchtime soup course. Now I make it every winter. It is easy to prepare with inexpensive ingredients, improves with time, ideal for the freezer and very tasty too. If you can’t find Cavolo Nero/Tuscan Kale then use any robust greens such as Swiss chard, dark outer leaves of Savoy cabbage, broccoli or other green kale. Below is my version of this simply delicious healthy hearty winter soup. I don’t add the bread in the making of the soup rather dip it into the soup when eating it. Enjoy! Sylvia xx


125g dry cannellini beans soaked overnight and cooked as below – resulting in 250g-300g cooked OR use canned cannellini beans, rinse well and drain
100g-120g red onion finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic minced
100g-120g celery finely dided
100g-120g carrots, peeled and finely diced
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
400g tinned organic chopped tomatoes + 100ml water to rinse out the tin
120g-150g Cavolo Nero/Tuscan Kale stalks removed, leaves coarsely chopped
600ml vegetable or chicken stock or filtered water
3-4 sprigs rosemary leaves stripped off the stems
1-2 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil and grated mix of Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano


  • Soak the cannellini beans overnight with 1 teaspoon of bi-carbonate soda in cold water. Drain. Rinse a couple times, then add cold water to come approx. 2cm above the beans and bring to the boil. Cook for approx. 10 minutes uncovered. Lower heat and simmer till the beans are cooked but not too soft. Drain, rinse under cold water. Set aside. Alternatively, use canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained.
  • In a large saucepan add olive oil gently fry the onion and garlic until soft. Add the celery and carrot with about two teaspoons parsley and cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, water and rosemary leaves. Continue cooking on a simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  • Add the cooked cannellini beans, chopped Cavolo Nero/Tuscan Kale and stock or water. Stir and bring to the boil. Simmer for approx. 20-30 minutes until the flavours have combined. Season to taste.
  • Remove from the heat and roughly mash the beans in the soup with a potato masher to break them up.
  • Return to the heat, add the remaining parsley and simmer for 5 minutes more. Stir, taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  • Your soup is now ready!
  • Serve with a dollop of my Labneh (as in the photo above) or crème fraiche. Add grated Parmesan if you wish and enjoy with slices of sourdough bread. Buon appetito!

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