Tuscan White Bean Soup

4.84 from 6 votes

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Topped with toasted bread, this Tuscan white bean soup has kale, tomatoes and carrots. The fragrant broth simmers with a few sprigs of rosemary and has mashed beans to thicken this aromatic and satisfying vegetarian soup.

Three bowls of Italian white bean soup.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

This is a hearty, meal-worthy soup that has plenty of veggies and beans. Every year when soup season starts, I am always looking for different versions of vegetable soup and stew to take me from fall to winter. They start with a base of similar ingredients, but then they find their own way with spices, herbs and other additions.

The soup is freezer-friendly. Add this to your list of recipes that’s perfect for meal prep. Make a pot of soup and stretch it into multiple lunches and dinners.

You can easily make this soup vegan. Just leave out the Parmesan cheese and use nutritional yeast to garnish it when it finishes simmering.

What is Ribollita Soup? How is this Recipe Different?

Ribollita is from Tuscany, Italy. Traditionally it is made with vegetables, greens and day-old bread. That stale bread is actually used to thicken the broth. In Italian the word ribollita means “reboiled.” It is a peasant soup that puts everything in the kitchen to use, so there is no waste.

Rather than thickening the soup with bread, I add a half-cup of mashed beans. Since I always think ahead to leftovers, soup with mashed beans in the broth has a better consistency when you reheat it, whether it was refrigerated or frozen. I still top each bowl with croutons that I toast in the oven while the soup is on the stove.

The Ingredients

Ingredients including white beans, canned tomatoes, broth, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, olive oil, rosemary and spices.

This is what you need:

  • White beans: You can use cannellini beans or great northern beans for the soup. I prefer these bigger beans to smaller navy beans. Once you have rinsed and drained the beans from the cans, take a fork and mash a half-cup of beans.
  • Onions, carrots and celery: This trio is the starting point for lots of soups. They sauté in olive oil before the rest of the ingredients make it into the pot.
  • Tomatoes: I include a can of diced tomatoes, so chunks end up throughout the soup with the other vegetables.
  • Kale: In the last few minutes of simmering, I add chopped kale that wilts from the heat. Since this is such a robust leafy green, it still keeps some of its bite. Use lacinato kale or you can substitute with swiss chard. Remove the ribs before chopping the leaves.
  • Red pepper flakes, salt and pepper are the dried seasonings in the soup.
  • Fresh rosemary: I add a few sprigs of this fresh herb to the broth as it bubbles on the stove. You can substitute with 1/4 teaspoon of dried rosemary, but I recommend going with fresh for the best taste.
  • Garlic: The recipe calls for 2 minced cloves. If you are really into garlic, you can add more if you want.
  • Vegetable broth: To keep the soup vegetarian/vegan use low-sodium vegetable broth. You can substitute with chicken stock.
  • Parmesan: I garnish the soup with shaved Parmesan. And even before that, I like to throw a Parmesan rind into to the soup as it simmers. If you don’t do this already, you should save these rinds for sauces and soups. They add good umami flavor, and they are very appropriate for this recipe, which finds its roots in using everything.
  • Bread: For the croutons, I prefer country bread with a good crust considering it will be partially submerged in the broth.
  • Olive oil is needed for toasting the bread in the oven and for sautéing the onions, carrots and celery.
  • Parsley: I sprinkle each bowl of soup with chopped fresh parsley.

How To Make Tuscan White Bean Soup

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

1. Toss the bread with olive oil, salt and pepper on a sheet pan. Spread it out, so it is in a single layer.

2. Toast the bread until it is golden brown. You can do this while you are making the soup on the stove.

Bread on sheet pan before and after it is toasted.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.

4. Sauté the onions, carrots and celery for about 4 minutes until they start to soften.

Olive oil heating in a large saucepan. Carrots, onions and celery sauteing in pan.

5. Stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

6. Add the whole beans, mashed beans, tomatoes, vegetable broth, rosemary and Parmesan rind. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, letting the soup thicken slightly.

Garlic and spices stirred into sauteed onions, carrots and celery. Broth, tomatoes and beans simmering in pot.

7. Stir in the kale. It will wilt in 3-4 minutes. Discard the rosemary sprigs and Parmesan rind.

8. Divide the soup into bowls and top with toasted bread, Parmesan and parsley.

Kale stirred into soup. Two bowls of soup garnished with croutons, Parmesan and parsley.

Serving

Since the soup already has bread in it, I skip serving bread on the side. Instead I like to focus on fresh greens like a basic Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette, a Classic House Salad or an Italian Chopped Salad, or a Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad

Leftovers & Freezing

You can store the soup in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days. Reheat it in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stove over low heat. Keep the croutons in a separate container at room temperature. If there are croutons in the soup you are planning to store, take them out or they will be soggy.

You can freeze the soup up to 1 month. I recommend toasting a fresh batch of bread. You can skip the bread if you want, which might be better for those who want it to be gluten free.

Recipe FAQs

How do you thicken Tuscan bean soup?

Rather than putting both cans of whole beans into the soup, I mash a half-cup of beans. You can do this with a fork. Then those mashed beans thicken the broth as it simmers.

What are the different types of white beans?

Cannellini beans, also known as white kidney beans, are larger with a creamy and smooth interior. Great northern beans are medium sized and are firmer than cannellini beans. Navy beans are smaller and they also have a creamy texture on the inside.

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Tuscan White Bean Soup

4.84 from 6 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
This Tuscan white bean soup is a blend of vegetables, beans, greens and fresh rosemary. It is a filling vegetarian soup that’s topped with toasted bread.

Ingredients 

  • 3-4 slices country bread torn into pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 white onion roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks roughly chopped
  • 3 carrots trimmed, peeled & roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2-15 ounce cans cannellini beans or great northern beans rinsed and drained (Mash 1/2 cup beans with a fork and leave the rest whole)
  • 1-15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 Parmesan rind optional
  • 3 cups roughly chopped lacinato kale ribs removed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • Shaved Parmesan for serving

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Toss the bread, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper on a sheet pan and spread into a single layer. Bake for 12-15 minutes until toasted and golden brown.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté the onions, celery and carrots until they start to soften, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add the whole beans, mashed beans, tomatoes, vegetable broth, rosemary sprigs and Parmesan rind. Bring the soup to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes until the soup thickens.
  • Stir in the kale, letting it wilt, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove the rosemary sprigs and Parmesan rind before dividing the soup into bowls and topping with toasted bread, parsley and shaved Parmesan.

Notes

Fresh rosemary is best, but you can substitute with 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary.
You can use swiss chard instead of kale.
If you want the soup to be gluten-free, omit the bread or make-sure it is gluten-free.
To make the soup vegan, do not use the Parmesan rind and garnish the soup with nutritional yeast rather than Parmesan cheese.
Store soup in the refrigerator in an airtight container up to 3 days. Keep the croutons in another container at room temperature, so they stay crunchy.
You can freeze extra soup up to 1 month. Do not freeze the soup with croutons or they will be mushy. Toast more bread in the oven when you are planning to serve it again.

Nutrition

Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 0.2mg | Sodium: 1168mg | Potassium: 495mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 9496IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Did you make this recipe?Mention @lastingredient on Instagram and tag it #lastingredient!

Originally published December 4, 2017. Updated: February 27, 2023.


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Hi, I'm Paige.

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