Ribollita is a traditional Italian soup that originated in Tuscany. The name “ribollita” means “reboiled” in Italian, reflecting the soup’s preparation method of being cooked, left to cool, and then reheated.

Ribollita is a hearty, vegetable-based soup that typically includes ingredients like cannellini beans, seasonal vegetables, and stale bread. (Those frugal Mediterraneans let nothing go to waste! Not for nothing is this type of cooking referred to as “cucina dei poveri” or “cucina povera” — the cooking of the poor). !) The soup is flavored with olive oil, garlic, and various herbs and spices, and drizzled with olive oil infused with more herbs, garlic, and lemon zest

As with so many Mediterranean dishes, ribollita boasts many nutritional benefits:

  • Vegetables: It’s loaded with a variety of vegetables, such as kale, cabbage, carrots, and tomatoes. I often add squash (acorn, red kuri or delicata are my favorites as you don’t have to peel them) and root vegetables like celeriac or parsnip. Vegetables provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Kale, for example, is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as fiber and various phytonutrients.
  • Beans: Cannellini beans are a common ingredient in ribollita. Beans provide plant-based protein, fiber, and various nutrients, contributing to feelings of fullness and supporting digestive health. I like to use dry beans that I soak for 12-24 hours in cold water with a splash or kefir or plain yogurt (soaking beans with probiotics can reduce their gassiness) before adding them to this stew, but canned beans work, too.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil is often used to sauté the vegetables and add flavor to ribollita. It is a key component of the Mediterranean diet and is known for its heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidant properties.
  • Whole Grains: Ribollita typically includes stale bread (ideally sourdough), which is added to the soup and helps to thicken it. While not as nutritious as intact grains, the bread does provide some carbohydrates and can add to the overall satiety of the dish. If you’re following a low-carb or gluten-free diet, you can leave this out or use your favorite low-carb or gluten-free bread.
  • Rich in Fiber: The combination of vegetables and beans results in a high fiber content. Fiber is important for digestive health, helps regulate blood sugar levels, and contributes to a feeling of fullness.
  • Herbs & spices: Garlic, onions, Italian seasoning (typically basil, oregano, rosemary, marjoram, and thyme with their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant effects.

As you’ll see from the nutrition panel below the recipe, the basic ribollita is relatively low in energy (calories) and protein, meaning that you may not feel sated for long after eating it. You can increase satiety by adding 3-4 chicken meatballs (you can make your own — Mediterranean chicken meatball recipe here — or buy them ready-made; I like Trader Joe’s chicken meatballs), or your favorite brand of chicken sausage (I like Sprouts’ or Trader Joe’s fresh chicken sausage (sweet or hot Italian work well here), Trader Joe’s cooked chicken sausage (7 different flavors!) or Bilinski’s organic chicken sausages (11 flavors!). Vegetarians can increase the protein content in this dish by adding one or two eggs — poached (as pictured here) or fried in olive oil.

Finally, you can boost the energy content and flavor of this dish by drizzling it with a teaspoon or three of herb-and-lemon infused olive oil (see recipe below). This is particularly useful for anyone eating a high-fat/keto diet.


Keyword: Dairy-Free (or can be), Gluten-Free (or can be), Instant Pot, Keto (or can be), Legumes, Low-Carb, Lunch, Meat & Chicken, Soups & Stews, Vegan (or can be), Vegetarian (or can be)
Servings: 6 servings
A frugal and filling cold-weather stew
Print Recipe


  • 1 Instant Pot or pressure cooker optional but speedy! This dish can also be cooked on the stovetop but will take 3-4 times longer, reducing the nutritional value of the vegetables in the process.



  • 8 oz dry cannellini beans soaked in water for 12-24 hours, then drained and rinsed. I buy my beans from Rancho Gordo (not a sponsor); they have a huge variety of delicious heirloom legumes. You can use canned beans, too, but add them later in the recipe.
  • ¼ cup olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh garlic equivalent to 4-6 cloves
  • 1 fat leek white and light green parts only, sliced and cleaned. To clean, add the leek slices to the cold water, swish around a few times, and let them sit in the water for 2-3 minutes so the grit can fall to the bottom, Lif of the bowl. Lift out the clean leeks with a slotted spoon and use right away.
  • 2 medium-large carrots quartered lengthwise and diced
  • 2 stalks celery halved lengthwise and diced
  • 2 cups cubed winter squash I like delicata, acorn, or red kuri squash as you don't need to peel them; butternut works, too, and is easy to peel
  • 1 small turnip peeled and diced
  • 1 small parsnip peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 5 cups chicken bone broth I prefer bone broth to regular broth or stock as it contains 8-10 g protein per cup
  • 14 oz can of chopped/diced tomatoes 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale about 8 oz; strip leaves from stems and chop coarsely
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • ½ cup fresh parsley coarsely chopped
  • 6 small slices sourdough bread stale or toasted, preferably whole wheat. This is optional. Low-carb and gluten-free bread works, too.
  • ¾ cup Parmesan shavings

Herb & Lemon-Infused Olive Oil

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves fresh garlic chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • thinly pared peel of ½ lemon (organic, untreated) use a vegetable peeler to get the zest but leave the bitter pith



  • Set the Instant Pot to SAUTE, HIGH, and heat the olive oil. Add onion, garlic leek, carrots, squash, turnip, parsnip, and celery and saute, stirring, until slightly softened but not browned -- about 5 minutes.
  • Add the bone broth along with the tomatoes, soaked & drained beans, herbs, salt, and pepper; stir to combine. Lock the lid, switch the pot to PRESSURE, HIGH, and set the timer for 10 minutes of pressure-cooking time. (If you are cooking this on the stovetop and are using pre-cooked or canned beans, add the beans to the vegetables & broth and bring everything to a simmer over medium-high heat; then reduce the heat to maintain a slight simmer, and cook until the vegetables are very tender -- about 25 minutes.)
  • After the timer of the Instant Pot rings, cover the pressure valve with a towel and quick-release the pressure. Remove the lid and add the chopped kale. On the SAUTE, HIGH setting, simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until the kale has softened. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the chopped parsley.
  • If you want your soup to have a thicker consistency, mashing it with a potato masher or 2-3 pulses with an immersion blender will do the trick.
  • Place a slice of bread (if using) in each soup bowl and ladle the hot soup over it. Top with meatballs, sausage, or eggs if using. Scatter with Parmesan shavings and drizzle with the fragrant oil.

Herb & Lemon-Infused Olive Oil

  • In a small saucepan, combine olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and lemon peel. Warm the oil over low-medium heat. -- don't let it come to a simmer or boil and lower the temperature as needed.
  • Leave oil and flavorings to warm for 10-15 minutes, then remove from heat. Allow the oil and lemon peels to cool thoroughly before removing the lemon.
  • For a mild-tasting oil, strain it through a fine mesh strainer to remove the flavorings. For a stronger flavor, leave the flavorings in the oil. Transfer the oil to a glass jar or bottle or jar and store it in the fridge for about two weeks. Bring back to room temperature before using (olive oil becomes semi-solid when it's cold).