Vegetarian Ribollita Stew

vegetarian ribollita stew with beans and cabbageRobin first introduced me to this delicious, thick winter soup, served with a thick slice of country bread.

The actual prep time is short. I chopped the vegetables quickly, by hand. But the recipe calls for cooked white pinto beans, and if you start with dried beans, you’ll need to soak them overnight first. Or you can use a quick-soak method. Ribollita is best after it sits for a day or two.

The ingredients are tasty, healthy, and easily available. It’s also vegetarian and gluten-free, as long as you choose a gluten-free bread for the garnish. It make a complete meal, too.

The results were worth it. Even my pickiest children ate it willingly: beans, cabbage and all.



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans (see the Guide to Preparing Dried Beans from Scratch)
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste (or fresh or canned tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cabbage, sliced
  • Stale bread for garnish


  1. Heat oil in large saucepan. Add onion, celery and carrots. Saute for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add half the beans and the parsley, tomato paste and cabbage.
  3. Mash the remaining beans with a fork and add to the soup.
  4. Add water to cover. Remember that the cabbage will release some liquid, and we want a thick soup.
  5. Cook for 15 minutes until vegetables are soft.
  6. Store ribollita tightly covered in the refrigerator for a day or two. Like most bean dishes, it improves with age (to a degree!)
  7. To serve, top a bowl of ribollita with a slice of bread. Some recipes call for white bread, other for country bread. Some recipes recommend removing the crust, but I didn’t. I serve it with homemade oatmeal sourdough bread.

Like all soups and stews, the variations are endless. A wonderful addition to this recipe is a dark green vegetable like kale or spinach, but I didn’t have any at the time.

You may also enjoy:

Lentils with Onion and Garlic

Eat Less Meat and More Vegetable Protein

Egyptian Rice and Lentils




  1. It looks delicious! I love that it’s a whole meal; how convenient is that?