Ribollita (Tuscan Bread Soup)

There’s something incredibly heartwarming about the humble soup, don’t you think? A bowl of soup is comfort and nostalgia, a vessel carrying the scents and tastes of different lands, and of course, a testament to the culinary traditions that shape each variety. As the chill of winter begins to embrace the land, I’m transported back to the heart of Italy, to the region of Tuscany, known for its stunning landscapes, artistic heritage, and hearty culinary traditions.

My first encounter with today’s recipe was during a quaint winter trip to the Tuscan countryside. The region, blanketed in soft winter mist and bare vine branches standing like sentinels in the fields, had a stark yet enchanting beauty. Seeking refuge from the chilly breeze one evening, I found myself in a rustic Tuscan trattoria, warmed by the soft glow of lights and the gentle hum of locals.

Among the many delicacies on the menu, my eye caught the Ribollita, a traditional Tuscan soup. Intrigued, I ordered it, eager to warm myself with what was described as a hearty vegetable and bread soup. As I waited, the trattoria filled with the homey aromas of simmering vegetables and aromatic herbs, making my stomach rumble in anticipation.

I’ll never forget the moment the Ribollita arrived at my table. The hot soup was brimming with an assortment of vegetables, white beans, and chunks of stale bread, all melded together in a harmonious medley of flavors. Each spoonful was a warm embrace, a comforting mixture of textures and tastes that made me appreciate the humble yet complex nature of this soup.

Today, I want to share with you the warmth and comfort I experienced in that Tuscan trattoria through this recipe for Ribollita. This peasant dish, born out of utilizing leftovers, is a testament to Tuscan ingenuity and their love for simple, satisfying meals.


Ribollita (Tuscan Bread Soup)

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6


  • 2 tbsp olive oil plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 3 celery stalks chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes about 400g
  • 1.5 l vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 small bunch of kale stemmed and chopped
  • 200 g stale tuscan bread torn into pieces
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano grated, for serving


  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes with their juices, beans, vegetable stock, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 1 hour.
  • After an hour, add the kale to the pot and continue simmering for another 30 minutes. Then, stir in the bread and simmer for an additional 15 minutes, or until the bread has absorbed the soup and the Ribollita is thick and hearty.
  • Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
  • Ladle the Ribollita into bowls, drizzle with a little extra olive oil, and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano before serving.

There you have it—a traditional Ribollita recipe that will transport you to the Tuscan countryside with every spoonful. Buon appetito!

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