Warm up this holiday season with this hearty and healthy Tuscan vegetable soup. The cold, damp winter weather is the perfect time to hunker down and make a big ol’ pot of soup. Ribollita is an easy soup to make, with hunks of stale or toasted bread and lots of vegetables. Feel free to use a variety of veggies, although traditionally this soup is made with inexpensive vegetables, white beans, kale and cabbage. I love to finish soup with a little bit of acid, either a splash of vinegar or fresh citrus juice. It helps brighten the soup and balance the flavors. This soup tastes even better 2-3 days after cooking, but wait to add the bread until just before serving. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.
- 1/4 cup extra-vrigin olive oil, plus extra for serving
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1-2 large garlic cloves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans (or another white bean), rinsed and drained
- 1 large Yukon gold potato, washed and diced
- 1 15-ounce container chopped tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2-3 springs fresh thyme
- 2 cups fresh baby kale leaves
- 4 large slices of your favorite bread (regular or gluten-free, toasted or at least two days old)
- Optional: sherry vinegar (1-2 teaspoons), drizzle of olive oil
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, zucchini and celery. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic clove(s) and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the beans, the potato, chopped tomatoes in their juices, and the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, stir and then reduce the heat to low. Add the fresh herbs, cover the pot and let it simmer for about 20 minutes or so.
Remove the stems of the rosemary and thyme when the soup is done. Add the fresh kale, and add in the bread in large chunks and let it soak into the soup. Let it simmer for another 5-8 minutes. Adjust seasonings and add a splash of sherry vinegar. Divide among bowls to serve. Garnish with olive oil. Serves 4.