“Ribollita” Rustic Tuscan Kale Soup

As Cavolo Nero, or tuscan kale and chard are now in season in Sydney, this is a perfect soup to use the bountiful  harvest from the garden.

This soup is the famous traditional “ribollita” of Tuscany and is a hearty soup of savoy cabbage, Cavolo Nero or tuscan kale, swiss chard, white beans, root vegetables and bread.  It is a thick, healthy soup that can be made ahead and then reheated. The word “ribollita” literally means re-boiled. Traditionally, it was a peasant food made to use up vegetables and stale bread and though thought to originate in the middle ages, it is still popular today in Italy.  You can freeze it successfully too before adding the bread.

Rustic Tuscan Kale Soup

Images courtesy Pixabay


  • 300 g dried cannellini beans, or canned cannellini beans, drained
  • 300 g Cavolo Nero or Tuscan Kale, roughly chopped
  • 2 potatoes, cut into small cubes
  • 2 medium carrots cut into small cubes
  • 1 stick of celery, sliced and finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, left whole (or chopped finelly if using canned canellini beans)
  • 1 Tblsp of olive oil
  • 1 small knob of butter
  • 180 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 300 g savoy cabbage, stems removed and leaves sliced
  • 300 g chard leaves, washed well and chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 L water
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • Pane di Casa or sourdough bread, sliced



  1. If you are using dried cannellini beans soak them in water for 24 hours
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and then add the sprigs of rosemary and thyme and the garlic and cook for a minute.
  3. Then add the drained beans, placing them into the saucepan with the herbs and garlic and stirring them over the low heat for a minute to flavour them with the herbs and garlic.
  4. Cover them with 2L of water and bring to the boil.
  5. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours or until the beans are tender.
  6. Remove 1/3 of the beans and set aside to add to the soup later and season the beans,  in their cooking water.
  7. (If you are using canned beans remove 1/3 and set aside. Add the 2 L of water to the drained beans in a large pyrex jug and season with salt and pepper)
  8. Whether using the dried or canned beans, use an emersion blender and blend the beans  to a puree with the cooking liquid and set aside
  9. In another large sauce pan heat the olive oil and the knob of butter
  10. When the butter foams add the finely chopped onion and cook on a low heat for 6 minutes until transparent and cooked
  11. (If using canned beans now add the chopped garlic and cook for a further minute taking care not to burn the garlic)
  12. Add the finely chopped carrots and celery and cook until softened
  13. Add the chopped potato and cook until softened
  14. Add the chopped tomatoes, stirring through and cook for a minute or two
  15. Place the chopped kale, chard, and cabbage to the saucepan with a cupful of the liquid and lower the heat and wilt the greens for 5 minutes
  16. Pour over the rest of the pureed cannellini beans and stir through the mixture well
  17. Season with salt and pepper
  18. (If you have used canned beans add a finely chopped sprig of rosemary and some finely chopped thyme leaves)
  19. Bring the soup to the boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 50 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked
  20. When the soup is cooked, check for seasoning and add in the remaining 1/3 beans that were set aside and cook for a further 5 minutes
  21. In a large bowl place a layer of bread slices and then cover with some of the vegetables then place another layer of bread and cover with the remaining vegetables. Cover and set aside until cool and then refrigerate the mixture for 2 hours or overnight to serve the next day.
  22. When ready to serve, remove from the fridge, stir through well and reheat on the stove top.
  23. The soup should be thick with the bread through it.
  24. Serve and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil to each serving bowl
Thick and hearty Tuscan Ribollita soup

Growing your ingredients:


Growing Kale



Carrots 1


Growing Carrots


IMG_20151114_084547-Cabbage C


Growing Cabbages


organic-14525_640-onion harvest

Growing Onions



garlic-545223_1920-garlic picture


Growing Garlic




Growing Beans


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