Packed with traditional flavors, this authentic ribollita recipe is the real thing! Made with high-quality and yet simple ingredients, this is the ultimate Italian soup for fall and winter.

Ribollita comes from Tuscany, Italy, and it has deep roots in rural traditions. Back in the day, people would use whatever veggies were left in their gardens to create hearty soups and stews, preventing any waste.

So, ribollita became this delicious soup made from whatever veggies were on hand, giving it a rich, rustic flavor that’s become a beloved part of Italian cuisine.

I am sharing with you my family authentic ribollita recipe, my mother in law is not from Tuscany but her mom was, so this is how they’ve been making the recipe for generations. Just like pasta e patate, this tuscan soup is a must-try!

Close-up of authentic ribollita.

Ingredients

  • Pane sciappo (unsalted Tuscan bread): This bread has a rustic crust and a dense, slightly chewy texture. Its unique characteristic is the absence of salt in the recipe, which sets it apart from many other bread types.
  • Cavolo nero: This is a type of kale that looks like a large lettuce with long, dark-colored leaves, almost black (nero=black) and its texture is dense and thick.
  • Odori: This is a combination of onions, carrots, and celery. When they’re chopped they become soffritto, a basic condiment for many traditional Italian recipes.
  • Cavolo riccio (savoy cabbage): This is a type of cabbage characterized by its crinkled, wrinkled leaves and a mild, slightly sweet flavor.
  • Bietola (swiss chard): This is a leafy green vegetable known for its vibrant, colorful stems and large, dark green leaves. The leaves are slightly bitter, similar to spinach but with a bit more earthiness, and the stems are crunchy and slightly sweet when cooked.
  • Beans: You’ll need cannellini beans to make the authentic ribollita recipe. For convenience, I am using canned beans, but in Tuscany, the soup is made with dried beans.
  • Potatoes: Use russet potatoes.
  • Tomato: Use canned tomato sauce.
  • Oil: Use the best quality of extra virgin olive oil you can afford, big plus if it’s from Tuscany as olive oil is a key ingredient for an authentic ribollita recipe.
  • Herbs: Fresh rosemary and thyme.
  • Seasonings: Salt and pepper to taste.
A large bunch of cavolo nero on a dark background.

How to Make an Authentic Ribollita Recipe

Peel and wash the vegetables, then cut them into chunks more or less the same size.

In a large stock pot or deep pan heat 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and sautè the chopped soffritto for 3-4 minutes over medium heat.

Soffritto vegetables cooking in a pot.

Now, add the potato chunks and cook for one minute.

Pour the tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes to get the flavors meld together.

Potatoes and tomato sauce added to the pot with soffritto.

Next, add kale, swiss chard, and savoy cabbage to the pan. Don’t worry if it crowds your pot, it will shrink after cooking a bit.

Added leafy greens to the pot.

Mix well to combine, then cook for 4-5 minutes or until the vegetables soften. If necessary, lower the heat a little more.

Slightly cooked leafy greens in the pot.

While the leafy greens are cooking, blend half of the cannellini beans with 2 cups of the beans cooking water. Pour the bean mixture into the pot along with the remaining cannellini beans.

Season with salt and pepper and mix in the rosemary and thyme. Add enough water to cover all the ingredients and bring the soup to a boil.

Cooking ribollita soup in a pot.

Lower the heat and cover the pot. Simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes, adding more water every now and then. Take in mind you’ll need lots of liquids to soak up the bread.

After preparing the soup, you have two options. You can serve it right away, enjoying its flavors immediately. But, following the Tuscan tradition, you can also choose to wait until the next day. This allows the different flavors in the soup to mix together more thoroughly, creating an even richer taste experience.

How to Serve

If your zuppa ribollita is from the day before, reheat it over medium heat first.

In another pan place a layer of stale bread on the bottom, add the hot soup covering with broth and vegetables, then add another layer of bread. Keep doing layers until all ingredients are gone.

Let the soup sit for 30 minutes before reheating again and serving in a bowl with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Authentic ribollita recipe with a glass of red wine and olive oil bottle on the side.

Recipe Notes & Tips

  • Use whole wheat, rustic bread if you can’t find tuscan bread, or make it at home. The bread should handle the liquid and not become mushy.
  • Stale bread is mandatory for an authentic ribollita recipe, but if for some reason you don’t have it, just pop the bread for about 3 minutes in the oven at 390F°/220°C to make it harden a bit.
  • This tuscan ribollita soup gets its taste at its peak the following day, so give it a chance and try to make it the day before you intend to eat it, you’ll see how good it is!
  • Use a small amount of oil just to sauté the vegetables then you can get all the olive oil flavor later when you serve it a crudo.
  • The term zuppa ribollita could not be more appropriate as it means re-boiled soup. And this is precisely what makes this recipe special and different, which would otherwise be a simple vegetable soup.
  • If you’re planning a trip to Tuscany then do yourself a favor and try this soup. It’s mostly offered on traditional trattorie —not in touristy restaurants!

Store

To properly store an authentic ribollita recipe, follow these easy steps:

  • Cool it Down: Let the soup cool to room temperature before storing it. This helps prevent bacteria growth.
  • Refrigeration: Place it in an airtight container or a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

More Traditional Italian Recipes

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Authentic ribollita soup recipe.

Authentic Ribollita Recipe

6 servings
This ribollita soup features traditional ingredients such as kale, cabbage, Tuscan bread, and cannellini beans. A hearty soup perfect to enjoy during the cold season.
prep 15 minutes
cook 2 hours
total 2 hours 15 minutes

Equipment

  • A large soup pot

Ingredients 

  • 1 small bunch lacinato kale (cleaned and cut into wide strips)
  • ½ cup soffritto (chopped carrot, onion, and celery)
  • 12 oz Savoy cabbage (cut into wide strips)
  • ½ pound swiss chard (cut into chunks)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1.1 pound cooked cannellini beans (+ 2 cups of the cooking water)
  • 1.1 pound russet potatoes
  • 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (+ more for serving)
  • 1 pound unsalted tuscan bread (stale)
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions
 

  • In a large stock heat the extra virgin olive oil and sautè the soffritto vegetables for 3-4 minutes over medium heat.
  • Add the potato chunks and cook for one minute.
  • Pour the tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add kale, swiss chard, and savoy cabbage to the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the vegetables soften.
  • While the leafy greens are cooking, blend half of the cannellini beans with 2 cups of the beans cooking water.
  • Pour the bean mixture into the pot along with the remaining cannellini beans.
  • Season with salt and pepper and mix in the rosemary and thyme. Add enough water to cover all the ingredients and bring the soup to a boil.
  • Lower the heat and cover the pot. Simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes, adding more water every now and then. Take in mind you’ll need lots of liquids to soak up the bread.

Serve

  • In another pan place a layer of stale bread on the bottom, add the hot soup covering with broth and vegetables, then add another layer of bread. Keep doing layers until all ingredients are gone.
  • Let the soup sit for 30 minutes before reheating a little bit on the stovetop.
  • Serve in bowls with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Notes

  • After the ribollita soup is fully cooked, you can serve it right away, enjoying its flavors immediately. Or as tradition calls, wait until the next day to allow the different flavors in the soup to mix together more thoroughly.
  • To store, place leftovers in an airtight container or a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 452kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 1705mg | Potassium: 858mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 3256IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 155mg | Iron: 7mg
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