Meal In A Bowl : Thick Tuscan Bean and Kale Soup

Thick Tuscan Bean and Kale Soup

Let’s press pause from all of the holiday food chatter and talk healthy and clean.  I crave simple nourishing food after a big holiday meal.  How about you?

I made some crusty “croutons” with some left over artisan herb bread; a good beginning to Ribollita or Thick Tuscan Bean and Kale Soup.  Ribollita simply means “reboiled”.  It’s usually cooked and allowed to stand for a period of time, before being reheated.  This process softens the vegetables and allows the flavors to develop.  I added a two inch square of parmesan rind that I had been saving for such an occasion.  It’s absolutely optional.  You may opt for a bit of pancetta cooked with the beans which also adds flavor.  You can find a variety of renditions of this recipe, this is one of many and I’m cooking again from the cookbook, My Bread.

Traditionally the rustic croutons are placed on the bottom of each bowl with the soup ladled over it.  Some people like it soupy and some like it thick with the bread soaking up the tasty broth.  Once you’ve tried the recipe as is, you can adjust it to your taste. This is wonderfully adaptable to gluten and dairy free.  Try adding cooked gluten-free pasta at the end of cooking and just eliminate the bread and parmesan cheese.

Thick Tuscan Bean and Kale Soup (serves 6 – 8)

1/2 cup dried white beans

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup coarsely chopped red onion

1/2 cup coarsely chopped carrot

1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery

2 small bay leaves

2 teaspoons sea salt or to taste

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I used 1/2 teaspoon)

7 cups savoy cabbage, quartered, cored and shredded

1/2 bunch Tuscan (or dinosaur) kale, stems removed, thinly sliced (I used more)

1- 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes

5 1/2 cups water

Parmesan cheese rind (optional)

1 1/2 cups stale artisan bread, torn or cut into 1 inch cubes

olive oil for drizzling (optional)

shaved or grated parmesan for serving (optional)


The night before you want to make this soup; rinse and drain the beans. Place them in a medium bowl, cover with plenty of cool water and let soak for 8 hours.

In a 5 – 6 quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium low heat.  Add the onion, celery, carrot, bay leaves, half the salt, and the red pepper.   Stir and cook covered, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and just starting to brown on the edges, about 9 minutes.

Add the cabbage and kale, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 15 minutes.

Drain the soaked beans and add to the pot.  Add water, tomatoes and their juice, and cheese rind (if using).  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender and the vegetables are soft, 2 to 3 hours. The different shades of green lend visual appeal and depth to this soup.


(You can cool the soup and refrigerate it at this point to be served later).

Discard the cheese rind (if you used it). Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

In the meantime, if the bread is not brittle, spread it on a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 250 degrees until it crumbles at your touch.

To serve; place a few chunks of toasted bread to the bottom of each bowl.  Ladle the soup over bread.  Pass the olive oil and grated parmesan at the table.

Meal in a bowl and satisfying!

Thanks for visiting!

Have yourselves a peace-filled holiday,


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4 Comments on “Meal In A Bowl : Thick Tuscan Bean and Kale Soup”

  1. This looks and sounds perfect for my overfed tummy which is quite ready to “downsize” after its holiday feasting. This actually will be another kind of feast and a bit more healthy.

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