Ribollita Soup

Ribollita soup is an Italian classic. I first learn how to make this in Panzano, Italy and when we finished preparing the meal, neighbors came from all over to enjoy. Originally developed as a peasant soup for the field workers, your guests will feel special when you serve them this elevated version of ribollita.

Ribollita Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 8 servings
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 sweet yellow onions, chopped
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 4 carrots peeled chopped in 1 inch chunks
  • 2-3 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb diced, including the fennel fronds
  • ½ head of green cabbage chopped
  • 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon of red chili flakes (to taste – this is not a spicy dish)
  • 1 teaspoon pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 - 28 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
  • 8-12 cups of chicken or vegetable broth, more if necessary
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • 2 loaves of day-old Italian bread – or thick bread crumbs
  1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot
  2. Add garlic and onions and a pinch of salt
  3. Sauté garlic and onions for several minutes, until onions are soft, be careful not to brown the garlic (low heat)
  4. Add carrots, celery, fennel and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally
  5. Add cabbage, sprigs of thyme, chili flakes, salt and pepper – this will fill the pan and will reduce as it cooks
  6. Stir and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, until the cabbage begins to get soft
  7. Add tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes until the flavors start to mix together
  8. Add chicken broth to cover all of the veggies and simmer for 30 minutes, until all of the veggies are tender, continue to add chicken broth as necessary to keep the veggies covered
  9. Once the veggies are very soft, take off the stove and either use an immersion blender, food processor or blender to blend the soup into a coarse puree – this will be the final texture – so puree to your taste
  10. When the soup is pureed to your liking, add the half and half for a rich and creamy taste or use the remaining broth, your soup is complete and ready to serve
  11. Serves 15 – 20

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Mama’s Notes:


To serve ribollita soup:

Use Italian bread and toast thick slices in the oven ahead of time, gently rub a peeled clove of garlic over the bread after it comes out of the oven

Garnish with a thick slice of bread at the bottom of the bowl, ladle the soup on top of the bread, sprinkle freshly grated parmesan cheese on top and a little dab of olive oil.

One serving is 1 ½ cups of soup, one slice of Italian bread and shredded parmesan cheese on top:  255 calories; 14 grams of fat; 9.5 grams of protein; 24.5 grams of carbohydrates.

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