A flavorful hearty stew from Tuscany, called Ribollita with Cannellini beans, lacinato kale, and vegetables, served with crusty bread, drizzled with a Lemon Rosemary Garlic Oil. Vegan Adaptable!
This day will never come again. ~Merton
Throughout Tuscany, White Bean Stew is called Ribollita, which translates to “re-boiled.” This hearty stew originated in hilltop villages throughout Tuscany during the Middle Ages, where hungry, hard-working peasants who served table-side to their wealthy landowners, would pocket the leftover crusts and crumbs and bits of meat after abundant feasts and add these to their soups and stews at home.
Nothing was wasted. Traditionally, it’s a big pot of soup made with simple garden vegetables like onions, carrots, celery, kale, tomatoes and cannellini beans (or white beans) in a flavorful broth, thickened with bread, then reheated and eaten several days in row, getting better and better each day.
Watch How to Make Ribollita! | 30-second video
This recipe can be made vegan or vegetarian – the pancetta is optional and can be omitted altogether if vegan or vegetarian. For extra depth of flavor, try adding a bit of Parmesan rind to the simmering soup. You could also try using turkey bacon here instead of traditional pancetta.
To me, what really elevates this recipe is the “finishing oil” – a drizzle of olive oil infused with lemon zest, garlic and rosemary which gives this sometimes somber soup a delicious brightness.
Serve it with crusty bread to mop up all the tasty flavors. It’s hearty enough for dinner, just on its own, and gets better and better each day…so I like making a big pot of this and eating it throughout the week.
Several years ago now, my group of girlfriends and I took a trip to Tuscany together. After years of planning, saving and dreaming, the time came when we were finally there, in a little hilltop village, soaking up all the Tuscan wine and food we could handle. Time seemed to slow way down, and I remember being able to see, deeply see and take in so much beauty and detail. All felt right in the world – no, not perfect, but just as it should be. By the end of the trip, we each had a name for the bellies we had grown.
There is something truly special about making the decision to go somewhere, and then to actually go. Life is so short. I feel it getting shorter every single day, and I guess I just want to impress upon you to do the things you’ve always dreamed of doing, and to begin to do them now.
To start today. People leave this world too soon and often without any notice. Our time here is precious and yet we wait and wait and wait to start living our dreams. What are we waiting for?
And back to this stew – of course this can be kept completely vegan using veggie stock instead of chicken stock, but to me, the chicken stock gives it a bit more soul, and the light dusting of good Parmesan or Romano adds such a delicious depth, it really doesn’t take much.
But feel free to make this soup your own. Just don’t skip the finishing oil, it’s the best!
To thicken the soup, you can blend a cup of the beans into a puree, or add torn pieces of day-old bread into the soup itself, cooking the bread down.
But personally, I’m a broth fan, so I leave this brothy and un-thickened so there are more juices to dip the crusty bread in while eating. Of course, this is a personal preference, so do as you like.
Have a delicious weekend! Let us know how you like Ribollitta in the comments below!Print
A hearty flavorful Tuscan Soup recipe with lacinato kale, cannellini beans and garden vegetables, served with crusty bread and drizzled with a flavorful lemon rosemary oil. See notes for vegan option.
- 1/8 cup good olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped pancetta or bacon –optional (feel free to leave this out, or sub turkey bacon)
- 2 cups diced onions
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced fennel bulb (or sub celery)
- 4 – 6 cloves garlic- rough chopped
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more to taste
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- 2–3 medium tomatoes – diced (or 1 can diced tomatoes)
- 6 cups lacinato kale, chopped
- Splash white wine
- 6 cups chicken or veggie stock
- Parmesan rind (optional, but adds depth and flavor)
- 3 cups cooked cannellini beans – or use 2 cans cannellini beans (drained, minced), or great northern white beans
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- Grated pecorino or Parmesan – optional
- Crusty Bread
Rosemary Lemon Garlic Oil ( for drizzling)
- ½ cup good olive oil
- zest of one large lemon
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- few sprigs rosemary (or thyme, sage)
- Make the Lemon Garlic Rosemary Oil – place all ingredients in a small jar or bowl and let sit on the counter (or make the day before, refrigerating)
- In a large, heavy-bottom pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and optional pancetta and saute 6-8 minutes.
- Lower heat to med-low and add the carrots, fennel (or celery) and garlic, salt, pepper and chili flakes, and cook another 7- 9 minutes until vegetables are tender.
- Add the tomatoes and lacinato kale, and a splash of white wine, and continue sauteing and stirring occasionally for 7-8 minutes.
- Add the stock and beans. Bring to soup to boil, turn heat down and simmer for 15 minutes.(You could add a Parmesan rind to the simmering soup for extra depth of flavor.)
- Stir in fresh Italian Parsley. Adjust salt if necessary.
- Serve in bowls with a drizzle of the flavorful lemon oil, grated Parmesan ( or Romano) and crusty bread.
- NOTE: If you like a thicker soup, blend or puree 1-2 cups of the soup, and add back to the soup. Or, thicken it with day-old bread, torn into small pieces and cooked with the broth. This is the traditional way. (I prefer a brothier version of this soup, so I skip both and serve with toasty bread on the side instead.)
- Keep this vegan by using veggie broth, no pancetta or parmesan. The rosemary oil will add a delicious flavor – I highly recommend it. Sometimes I’ll add a tablespoon of Nutritional Yeast for a more cheesy flavor and 1 tablespoon miso paste to add more depth. Up to you.
Keywords: Ribollita, White bean soup, tuscan white bean soup, tuscan white bean stew, ribollita recipe, italian white bean soup