The Natural Cook
Laura Edwards

Ribollita is a traditional and robust Italian dish made from leftover vegetables and stale bread. It is a recipe that is a perfect example of my minimum-waste ethos. This soup is incredibly versatile; you can adapt the ingredients to the season and to whatever vegetables you have in your fridge. Later in the year, try adding beetroot, other beans, or leeks.


Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Stewed tomatoes with garlic and oregano
or 400g canned chopped tomatoes
100g celery, finely chopped
5-6 sprigs parsley, roughly chopped
250g carrots, finely chopped
250g red onions, roughly chopped
glug light olive oil
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
250g cooked beans, such as cannellini or chickpeas
3 slices stale bread, preferably sourdough
extra virgin olive oil, to taste
250g kale, stalks finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped
or 250g chard, stalks finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped


  1. Gently sauté the celery, parsley, kale or chard stalks, carrots and onions in the light olive oil for 15 minutes over a low heat. Season with a little salt and add the garlic. Add the tomatoes and bring to a gentle simmer.
  2. Add the kale or chard leaves. Next, add the beans with enough water to keep a thick consistency. Simmer for a further 15 minutes. Now tear the bread into chunks and add to the soup, seasoning generously with extra virgin oil, salt and pepper. Leave for a few minutes for the bread to absorb the flavours and soften.
  3. The ribollita should now be very thick, robust and flavourful. The bread makes this dish hearty and good for the first cool nights of late summer.


  • The soup will keep well for four days in a sealed container in the fridge, just season it again with extra virgin oil and salt and reheat to just below boiling point to serve, adding water to loosen if needed.
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