ribollita soup

I am a ribollita soup newbie and tried it for the first time a couple of weeks ago. It was love at first bite! Not only did I love it, 4 out of 5 of us couldn’t stop raving.

The one hold out is our pickiest eater so I’m not terribly surprised (although he did love the croutons)!

side close up of ribollita in bowl

what is ribollita soup?

First, ribollita is a famous Tuscan bread soup, a hearty potage made with bread and vegetables. There are many variations but the main ingredients always include leftover bread, cannellini beans, lacinato kale, cabbage, and inexpensive vegetables such as carrot, beans, chard, celery, potatoes, and onion (Wikapedia).

This soup is very hearty—we were full after one bowl. Ribollita soup has loads of fresh vegetables: carrots, celery, onions, garlic (lots and lots of garlic!), whole tomatoes and kale. Plus, cannelloni beans and homemade croutons (the best part)! I also added chicken sausage for a little more protein.

All of these flavors blend beautifully together and then the taste is really taken up a notch by the good amount of red pepper flakes and a parmesan rind!
Absolute perfection!

overhead of ribollita soup

how to make ribollita soup

First, start with your mire poix (celery, carrots and onions) and garlic. For the garlic, leave the cloves whole but smashed so their flavor is released.

crushing garlic cloves

While those ingredients are sweating in the pot (cook on low), you can make the croutons. Use whatever bread you like. I prefer a hearty, seedy multigrain.

Tear it into pieces (feel free to cube with a knife instead) and then add olive oil, salt, oregano, red pepper flakes and garlic powder. You could simply add sea salt but the additional herbs and spices complement the soup so well! Lay the oiled, seasoned pieces of bread on a sheet tray (or 2, you don’t want to over crowd the pan) and cook for about 10 minutes.

croutons before cooking on pan

Let them cool on the counter once they come out of the oven.

Every time I walk passed them sitting on the counter, I notice our supply dwindling!

Everyone who walks passed sneaks a couple to eat! Fortunately, a loaf makes plenty so sneak away!

By the way, your house will smell incredible while the bread is cooking and the soup is on the stove! Yankee candle needs to recreate this scent!

baked croutons

Now, back to the soup. Once the vegetables are soft (about 10 minutes), add the whole tomatoes (drain the juice and put it aside). You will use the juice later however cooking the whole tomatoes separately at first caramelizes them.

While the tomatoes are cooking, wash, dry & rip the kale into pieces, removing the hard stem.

front view of ribollita soup

After about 10 minutes, add the juice from the tomatoes, water, red pepper flakes and parmesan rind. Simmer for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, add the cooked chicken sausage and kale (add kale in 2 batches so they have time to wilt in between).

Serve topped with croutons and freshly grated parmesan cheese (don’t forget to remove the parmesan rind first).

half bowl of ribollita

ribollita soup tips

Can you freeze ribollita soup? Yes! This soup makes great leftovers. I eat it for lunch many days in a row after we have it for dinner. Some recipes will have you stir in the croutons but I like to add them on top so they don’t get soggy for leftovers.

What if I don’t have Kale? You can substitute cabbage or spinach.

How do I get parmesan rinds? Can I buy just parmesan rinds? You can check with your local cheese counter or grocery store, they may sell you the rinds at a reduced rate. Or, pick out blocks of Parmesan that have a good chunk of rind attached. Parmesan will keep for quite a long time, properly stored, so you can cut off the cheese and use the rind.

related recipes

Recipe adapted from bonappetite.com.

overhead of ribollita soup with kale

  • Author: Karen
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Yield: 46 1x


This traditional Tuscan ribollita soup is perfectly seasoned and loaded with vegetables like carrots, celery, onions, garlic, kale and whole tomatoes. Finish it off with cannelloni beans, chicken sausage and homemade croutons. This is sure to become a family fave!



For the soup

  • 1 lb. chicken sausage, cooked & diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 8 garlic cloves, whole and smashed with knife
  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 bunches Tuscan kale, washed, dried & ripped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small wedge of Parmesan with rind
  • homemade croutons
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • sea salt
  • 1 14-oz. can cannellini beans
  • ¾ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

For the croutons

  • loaf of crusty bread (I use a multigrain)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. In a large pot, sweat* the mirepoix (carrots, celery, onions and garlic).
  3. While veggies are cooking, rip the bread into bite size pieces. Place them in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon olive oil, sea salt, oregano, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Mix and add to a sheet pan. Place in the oven for about 10 minutes (until browned). Remove and put aside to cool
  4. Remove the tomatoes from the can and strain them so the juice goes into another bowl (you will use this later in the recipe).
  5. Once the veggies are soft, add the whole tomatoes, without the juice. Cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the rawness is cooked off, about 10 minutes. Giving those tomato solids a chance to caramelize before adding the liquid back in helps to add a lot of flavor to the stew. (Remember: Reserve the juices, you’re going to use them!)
  6. While tomatoes are cooking, drain and rinse 14 oz. canned cannellini beans in the strainer you just used, then add to pot along with Parmesan rind, tomato juices, ¾ tsp. red pepper flakes, and 4 cups water. Bring to a simmer.
  7. Add kale in two additions, stirring often and allowing to wilt in between. Add cooked chicken sausage. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  8. To serve, ladle stew into bowls, add a handful of croutons, drizzle each generously with olive oil, and grate lots of Parmesan over.


  • *To sweat the veggies, cook them at a lower heat so they don’t brown (like they do when you saute).
  • Nutrition facts do not include croutons.
  • To make this vegan, omit chicken sausage.

Keywords: ribollita soup, tuscan Ribollita soup, how to make Ribollita soup

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