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This ribollita recipe is a hearty Tuscan vegetable stew, loaded with veggies and thickened with bread. A flavor-packed vegetarian dinner idea!

Ribollita (Tuscan Vegetable Stew)

My first trip outside the country to Austria and Italy at age 17 left me changed. Committed to exploring the world, in college I studied abroad in Spain and traveled across Europe with my best friend. Alex and I honeymooned in Italy, vacationed in Paris and Greece, and volunteered in Cambodia. Travelling exposes you to so many perspectives and sights…but the ultimate for us has always been the food! Here’s a delicious Italian soup from a cookbook all about food inspired by travel: Green Kitchen Travels. This traditional Tuscan ribollita will have you wow’d from the first bite! Here’s how to make it.

What’s ribollita?

Ribollita is an Italian vegetable stew traditionally thickened by bread as a way to use up old crusts going stale. The word means “reboiled” in Italian, referring to how it was originally made: reheating leftover minestrone or vegetable soup with old bread. It can have lots of different vegetables in it, but usually white beans and Tuscan kale. And always, always: bread!

It might look like just a humble stew, but honestly, the flavors in this ribollita blew us away. It’s gently simmered so that the flavors meld together beautifully. The crusty bread cubes are almost like dumplings when soaked in the savory broth. I had to stop between spoonfuls to proclaim to Alex how much I loved it.

Ribollita (Tuscan Vegetable Stew) | A Couple Cooks

What type of bread to use

The most important part about making ribollita: the bread! Traditionally it was made with stale leftover bread from a few days before. Since Alex and I bake bread on the regular, we always have random rock-hard ends of bread around. But you don’t need that for this recipe! Just use high quality artisan bread from the store. If you are into making your own bread, here are a few bread recipes we’d recommend:

  • Easy No Knead Bread Our easiest artisan bread! It’s simple to make and has a crusty exterior and soft interior.
  • Artisan Bread This bread has incredible robust flavor! It’s beautiful and like an easy version of sourdough.
  • Best Sourdough Bread It’s a definite project, but the flavor of this bread is incredible. We’ve got a video tutorial and downloadable checklist!
Best no knead bread

What to serve with ribollita

This ribollita makes a delicious plant based dinner recipe that’s perfect for company or a night in! What to serve alongside it? Here are a few ideas:

About the book: Green Kitchen Travels

There’s something about travel that’s addicting: meeting new people, learning new things, tasting exotic flavors, the thrill of adventure. If you’re a fellow travel lover, the new cookbook Green Kitchen Travels might be up your alley.

Vegetarian food bloggers David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl from Green Kitchen Stories took a year out of their life to travel around the globe with their 7-month old. The photographs and recipes are out of this world! If you read cookbooks like picture books like we do, you’ll love paging through the gorgeous snapshots and flavor ideas (like this ribollita!).

Get the book! Green Kitchen Travels by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl

This ribollita recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based and dairy free (without the Parmesan cheese garnish).

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Ribollita (Tuscan Vegetable Stew)


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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

This ribollita recipe is a hearty Tuscan vegetable stew, loaded with veggies and thickened with bread. A flavor-packed vegan and vegetarian dinner idea!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 tomato
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale
  • 1 handful parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 10 sage leaves
  • 15-ounce can cannellini beans (or 1 ½ cups cooked)
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Multigrain or wholegrain sourdough bread
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. Dice the onion. Peel and dice the carrot and zucchini. Dice the tomato. Mince the garlic. Roughly chop the kale. Remove the leaves from the parsley.
  2. In a large saucepan or pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion garlic, carrots, red pepper flakes, and sage and cook over low heat for 20 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the parsley, tomato, and zucchini and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add the kale and beans (drained if canned), and cover with vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
  4. Chop the bread into cubes. To serve, arrange the bread cubes in the soup and add Parmesan cheese shavings and a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

More vegan and vegetarian Italian recipes

We love vegan Italian and vegetarian Italian recipes! Outside of ribollita, here are some of our favorites:

Last updated: April 2020

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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34 Comments

  1. Nicole says:

    The only thing wrong with this recipe is it doesn’t make enough. I can’t wait to make this again. Delicious !! I added petite potatoes and a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes. Next time I want to try adding cut okra.

    1. Alex says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Michelle says:

    I got distracted and left this soup on the stove for about 15 minutes too long, however it just turned into a delicious stew! I love recipes that are forgiving!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Parmesan is not vegetarian

  4. Palmer says:

    My thirteen year old fussy eater claimed it was the first time he liked kale.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Just made this – so good! Added green peppers & we only wish there was more soup leftover!

  6. Sheila says:

    Made this last night and it was amazing! Made some slight modifications – added chopped turkey cutlets, used chicken broth and a mixture of kale and spinach and my family loved it. This will be a stew/soup we’ll be making again and again!

  7. Sam says:

    I absolutely love this recipe! So perfect for snuggly cold nights!

  8. Michelle says:

    This was amazingly delicious! I so wished I had doubled the recipe, but now I know better. The only thing I added was a rind from a wedge of Parmesan that became an extra bit of decadence. Thanks so much for this recipe!

  9. Margot says:

    I loved the freshness of this soup (and this soup calls for finding the freshest veggies possible), but I do have a few suggestions for those who are looking for a blast of flavor in the broth. The Louisiana chef Paul Prudhomme is a master of starting a dish with onions and sauteing and sealing the flavor into the onions first before adding anything else. Get those spices in the onions and saute them for at least seven minutes alone. (I used 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper, salt and pepper, a bit of basil. I call this onion step “building a nest”). Once that nest is softened and flavorful, then add the other veggies and spices, etc. I think this works well because adding flavor to liquid isn’t as good a process as getting the flavors in the solids first. Anyway, lovely stew!

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