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Ribollita – Peasant Soup

04/02/2014 03:30PM ● Published by Lana Granfors

April 2014

By Lana Granfors
Photo by Kara Stewart

Peasant Soup, also known as Ribollita (translated, means re-boiled), is a classic Tuscan peasant food.  It is thick and creamy and looks more like a stew than a soup.  In Italy, the soup was made from leftovers and day-old bread, and re-boiled – Ribollita.  In this recipe, I use fresh vegetables and I have omitted the day-old bread, and instead, I serve fresh focaccia on the side.  Cannellini beans and inexpensive vegetables such as carrots, cabbage, beans, greens and onions make for a delicious, satisfying meal.  Make it in large batches and freeze some for later.  This will quickly become a family favorite, as this is comfort food at its best.

Ribollita – Peasant Soup

Serves: 8-10


½ pound dried or canned cannellini beans
2 T Olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage (mild or spicy or combination of both)
1 large white onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 large celery stalk with greens, chopped
1 fennel bulb, sliced thin
1 or 2 leeks, cleaned and chopped
2 diced red potatoes
6 cloves of chopped garlic
2 tsp. salt, more to taste
1 tsp. ground black pepper
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 sprig rosemary
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 28-oz can Italian plum tomatoes in puree
½ head of savoy cabbage, sliced thin
1 head of dark kale or swiss chard, removed from stems, sliced thin
1 large zucchini, chopped
½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
6 – 8 cup of chicken or vegetable stock
Freshly grated parmesan cheese


1 | If using dried beans, use a large bowl and cover the beans with cold water by several inches.  Seal with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight. For canned beans, rinse and drain before using.

2 | For the dried beans, drain the beans and place them in a large pot with 8 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the beans are tender. Set the beans aside to cool in their liquid. Once cooled, drain and set aside.  

3 | Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large stockpot. Add the Italian sausage and onion and cook over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, until the sausage is cooked through and onions are translucent. Add the carrots, celery, fennel, leeks, potatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, rosemary and Italian seasoning.  Cook over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the tomatoes and purée, the cabbage, greens, zucchini, basil and stock.       

4 | Bring to a boil and then lower heat and let it simmer for at least 45 minutes.  Add beans and simmer a few more minutes or longer if time allows.  Flavors get even better the longer it cooks.  Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle olive oil on top along with grated cheese.  

Enjoy and buon appetito!       

Prep time (using canned beans):  veggie prep: 30 mins; cook time: 1½ - 2 hours
Total time: 2 – 2½ hours (prep time is longer using dried beans. See directions.)

Food+Dining, In Print recipe ribollita peasant soup tuscan
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