Americanized Ribollita — healthy can too taste good!

I first fell in love with ribollita in Tuscany. When Giada de Laurentiis demonstrated her recipe I was thrilled. It’s not traditional as it has bacon in it and there’s usually no meat, but I appreciate that this is easier than a lot of the recipes. I’ve tweaked it a bit more, so I’m providing  her recipe as I’ve changed it. I just made a pot but I was in a hurry, so didn’t stop to take pictures. The original recipe can be seen on the Food Network.


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling on bread
  • 1 onion, grated or sliced in food processor
  • approx. 1 c. shredded carrots
  • 4 ounces pancetta or bacon (turkey, soy or regular), chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, 1 minced and 1 whole
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 12-16 oz. fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped if you like
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (I use two cans to make it heartier)
  • 2 tablespoons herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (3-inch) piece Parmesan rind (I use pecorino romano to avoid cow); if you don’t have a rind, add 1/4 cup grated
  • 4 to 6 ciabatta rolls, halved lengthwise or 1 loaf, sliced or whatever bread you have on hand.
  • Grated Parmesan or pecorino romano, for serving


Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. First brown the pancetta or bacon.  While it is browning I run the onion through the grater plate on my food processor. Remove the bacon from the pan, if there’s a lot of grease, pour most of it off but leave a little and the brown bits. Add the onion, carrot, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until the onion is golden brown.

While the onion is sauteing I run the spinach through the slicer plate on my food processor.  Add the fresh spinach and let it cook down. Add tomato paste and stir until dissolved. Add tomatoes and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the brown bits. Add beans, herbs, stock, bay leaf, cooked bacon or pancetta and Parmesan or pecorino romano rind. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Makes 4-5 servings.  It’s easy to double this one if you want to freeze some.  I put it in individual containers so it’s easy to pull out however many servings I need.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

If I add the bread — often I don’t — I usually just lightly toast a piece of regular bread (which for me is non-wheat–there are, btw, now gluten free ciabatta rolls available if $3/roll works for you), rub with a little garlic and put it in the bottom of the bowl. But if you want to be more traditional, drizzle the ciabatta halves with olive oil and toast until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and rub the top of the toasts with the whole garlic clove. Place the toasts in the serving bowls and ladle the soup over the toasts. Sprinkle with Parmesan or peciorino romano and serve immediately.

This is incredibly hearty and so delicious! For vegetarian friends I’ve made it without the pancetta/bacon and replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock; while there’s a trace of flavor missing, it’s still really amazing.