Vegetable Soup with Beans, Kale, Potaoes. Tomatoes and Bread


This vegetable soup with kale, Ribollita,  is one of a number of thick soups from Italy served with a  slice of bread in the bottom of the bowl. It has  no additional pasta or rice. The name Ribollita means reboiled.  Traditionally the soup was made by heating  leftover vegetable soup in an earthenware pot in the oven. This recipe was inspired by the comprehensive Italian cookbook, The Silver Spoon, Phaidon Press, 2005 . As with most plant-based recipes, the method of cooking the vegetables is crucial to obtaining the deepest, richest flavor for the dish. In this recipe, some of the vegetables are sautéed in wine before they go into the stock. These caramelized vegetables  provide a contrast with the sharper kale and tomatoes in the stock.


  •  1-1/2 cups yellow onion chopped – 1 medium
  • 2 tbsp. thinly sliced  garlic,  3 cloves
  • ½ – 1 cup of white wine,  Chardonnay or something similar
  • 1 cup peeled and diced celery root (celeriac)  1/2 cup
  • 1 cup sliced carrots, sliced, 3 carrots
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups peeled and diced yellow potatoes, peeled and diced, 3-4 potatoes
  • 4 cups of peeled and diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 heaping tbsp. of dried thyme leaves
  • 1 heaping tbsp. of dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tbsp. of sea salt
  • ½ teas. pepper
  • 3-4 cups of cooked cannellini beans, drained or 2 14-ounce cans
  • 5 cups of thinly sliced kale (Cavelo Nero), one bunch
  • 9 cups of mild vegetable broth
  • Bread, sliced

Put the chopped onion and garlic in a 9-inch non-stick sauté pan and cook over medium heat until the onions start to lose their water and the edges have started to color.  Add the carrots and the celery root and cook until they too have lost some of their water and have softened.

Add wine, a tablespoonful or two at a time to keep the vegetables from sticking. Each time the wine evaporates and the vegetables start to stick, add more wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get up the brown sticky bits (the fond). Do this at least three or four times.

In the meantime, put the

  • broth
  • tomatoes
  • potatoes,
  • thyme,
  • oregano,
  • salt and pepper
  • kale
  • cannellini beans

in a stock pot on medium heat and bring to a simmer. When the onions, garlic, carrots and celery root have finished their caramelizing process, scrap the vegetables into the stock pot. Add a few spoonfuls of wine to the  pan and scrape up any remaining brown sticky bits and scrape into the stock pot. Bring the contents of the stock pot almost to a boil and then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about two hours. When ready to serve taste the soup for seasoning.

Put some slices of bread (something with a thick crust such as a whole wheat baguette) into the bottom of soup bowls and then spoon the Ribollita over the bread. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on the top of the soup.

This recipe makes about 10 cups of soup.   I like it for a casual Sunday supper. Start the meal with some Olive and Fig Tapenade and crackers, along with some red wine such as a pinot noir, merlot, or a Rhone-type wine.  Finish the meal with some fruit and a slice of Lemon Torte.

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