While dining at Pepolino with some friends, I tried the Ribollita, a Tuscan bread soup filled with kale, beans, carrots and other assorted deliciousness.  When I finished my bowl I knew I had to make this.  I had the basics pretty well figured out in my head, but I did a little searching on the internet for more information on the soup.  Ribollita literally translates to “reboiled.” Like much Tuscan cuisine, the soup has its origins as a peasant food. It was made by reheating the previous day’s soup and adding in stale bread to thicken it and give it a more stew-like consistency.  You want to use Tuscan kale for this recipe. It is sometimes called dinosaur kale, black kale, or Tuscan black cabbage.

This soup does need to be started a day ahead of time. While the active preparation and cooking time is relatively short, the soup need about 12 hours to rest. This resting time allows the bread to breakdown into the soup and help thicken it. Between the kale, beans and all the other vegetables, this is a complete meal in itself.  If you want to reduce the calories, you can leave out the bread entirely. If you do this, the soup will be thinner, but still very good. It will also be ready to be served immediately as you don’t need to let it rest.


Note: This recipe calls for using an immersion blender. If you don’t have one, make sure you shred the kale very finely, you don’t want large pieces in this soup.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes, plus 12 hours to rest
Servings: 12


1 TBL olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 bunches Tuscan Kale (Black Kale or Dinosaur Kale), shredded
6 cups vegetable broth, divided.
3 15 oz cans Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 TBL sherry vinegar
1½ tsp dried thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 loaf Tuscan or Italian bread (16oz)


1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add in onions and sauté until soft, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds.

2.  Add in carrots and celery.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.  Cook until soft, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. About 8 minutes.

3. Add in kale and tomatoes with their juice.  Stir to combine.

4.  Pour in 5 cups of vegetable broth and stir.  Stir in thyme, rosemary sprig, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.  Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

5.  While soup is simmering, put the beans in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher. Do not completely mash them, you want some left whole.

Mashed cannellini beans

Mashed cannellini beans

6.  Uncover the soup and remove the rosemary sprig.  Add mashed beans to the soup and stir to combine. Add more broth if the soup is too thick.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup a bit and break down the pieces of kale.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper as desired.

7.  Slice bread into ¼ inch slices. Lay a few pieces of bread in the bottom of a large pot.  Ladle some soup over the bread. Add more bread and cover again with soup. Continue layering until all the soup is gone.

8. Let the soup rest, covered, for at least 12 hours.

After resting, the soup will be very thick. More like a stew.

After resting, the soup will be very thick. More like a stew.

9.  When ready to serve, add another cup of broth to the soup and stir it up. Bring it to a boil and serve.