Is there anything better than a pot of hot chunky soup when the temperatures outside fall close to freezing? I think not and so this version of ribolitta has been percolating on my stove pretty much non-stop this winter. As soon as we scrape the pot, I chop up some more veggies and stick another portion on.

The beauty of this soup is that it doesn’t require much prep or any hard-to-get ingredients either. You don’t need to make stock in advance as the stock IS the soup. There is no waste, as all the stock veggies that usually end up in the compost, get eaten with the soup itself. I love serving it with a bowl of sourdough croutons, which I make by cubing a few days old sourdough and pan frying it in a bit of olive oil with a good pinch of salt.

As I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to photos, I felt that chopping all the veggies into a really fine and uniform dice for the photoshoot would give me a better looking soup (don’t judge 😛 ) and that does take ages, but normally, I don’t bother. I go for a large dice on all the veggies, which saves a lot of time.

I also tend to vary the soup a little each time I make it. Sometimes I’ll add cooked chickpeas instead of lentils, sometimes borlotti beans. Often I swap out fresh parsely or thyme for dry Italian herbs and when I do use thyme, I will add a jarred roasted Romano pepper to the mix. Cooked potatoes, shredded savoy cabbage or wilted spinach also make nice variations. That way, we don’t get bored that easily of having the same soup on repeat.

It’s a perfect thing to have handy when you get home late from work or from a run or other type of workout outside. It hugs you like a warm blanket and provides the buckets of nourishment you need at this time of the year to build up your defenses against colds and other seasonal afflictions.

I am definitely of the opinion that prevention is better than cure, so I try to make sure that we eat as varied and healthy diet as we possibly can. Well, with the exception of some (okay, A LOT) of dark chocolate, which I don’t seem to be able to wean myself off completely…

ribollita core ingredients

ribollita making

30 min
60 min
30 min
60 min
  • 2 tbsp / 30 ml extra virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • ¼ large fennel, diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 15 g / 0.5 oz fresh parsley, finely chopped OR a few springs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes (optional), adjust to taste
  • 1¼ tsp salt, adjust to taste
  • 2 x 400 g / 28 oz tins quality peeled plum tomatoes
  • 100 g / ½ cup dry Puy (or green) lentils, rinsed
  • 115 g / ½ cup pearl barley, rinsed (swap out for brown rice or potatoes for GF version)
  • 100 g / 3.5 oz / approx. 6 leaves lacinato kale
  • black pepper, to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot.
  2. Once the oil gets hot, throw in diced onion, celery, carrot and fennel. Saute on a very low heat until soft (15 minutes), not letting the onion brown.
  3. Next, throw in garlic, bay leaves and finely chopped parsley leaves or picked thyme leaves. Saute for another 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  4. Mix in smoked paprika, chilli (if using) and salt. Adjust the amount of chilli to taste.
  5. Chop the canned tomatoes roughly and add them to the pot together with 0.5 litres / 2 cups of water. Cover and simmer for about 30-45 minutes, until the tomatoes are falling apart.
  6. Add in about 0.5 litres / 2 more cups of water, rinsed lentils and pearl barely. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for about 30 minutes, until both the lentils and pearl barely are tender but not mushy.
  7. Meanwhile, destem kale and chop into small, bite-size pieces. When lentils and pearl barely are almost there, add chopped-up kale to the pot and continue to simmer for the next 5 minutes or so.
  8. Taste, adjust the seasoning.
  9. Divide between bowls, drizzle each portion with a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.

This recipe has been adapted from this gorgeous, plant-based cookbook.

11 g
8 g
1 g
13 g
50 g
*per serving
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6 reviews, 14 comments
Hi. This soup is amazing! Do you think it would freeze well? Thanks
    Thank you, I am happy you enjoyed it. I haven't tried freezing it so I am not 100% sure but I don't anticipate any issues. Hope it works out well. Ania
Catherine Orban:
Just made this today! Another great recipe from your blog. It’s flavourful and hearty, so comforting on this cold winter evening.
I do like your recipes, precise, easy to follow and the result is always delish. Thank you.
    Thank you, Catherine. I'm so pleased to hear that! And thanks for taking time to review - much appreciated. x Ania
Mary Jurkonis:
I cook for someone who can’t have a lot of salt so...added a 1/2 teaspoon of curry...blends nicely with this soup. Adds warmth and can reduce the salt and not miss it.
    Nice idea, thanks Mary! Ania
Katrin Gruzmark:
Just made it and it came out amazing!
    Thanks Katrin, I am so happy to hear that! x Ania
Charity MacPherson:
just wondering what pickled thyme is? do you make it yourself by pickling thyme leaves?
    No, I simply misspelt 'picked'. Ania
Hi Ania! We really enjoyed this dish - it was healthy, hearty and easy to prepare. I'm looking forward to the leftovers today! Thank you.
    Delighted to hear that, Molly! And soup/stew leftovers are always best x Ania
Thanks for your reply Ania! I just made this and it's delish - will definitely be adding to the meal prep rotation! Keep up the awesome recipes :)
    That's great to hear, Josie! x Ania
Hi Ania,
On a kick of your recipes after meal prepping a load of your bolognese a few weeks ago! You may be the only foodie whose recipes I like exactly as they are! Flavourful, hearty, delish :)
I haven't eaten or made a ribollita before but this sounds so yum. Do you think this will keep well/make a good meal prepping recipe?
Thanks in advance!
    Aw, thanks so much for your kind words, Josie! I'm really chuffed! Yes, absolutely on both fronts. It's still very cold here in the UK and I've been making a big pot of this soup once a week so that I can have an easy yet healthy lunch when I'm busy - keeps for 4-5 days in the fridge, no problem. It's a life saver! x Ania
Looks like my kind of soup! Will try it soon and return to rate it 5 stars (because I already know I'll love it based on the ingredients!)
    Thanks, Emilie! I hope you will enjoy it! Ania
Hi, this looks amazing and I can't wait to make it. I have a question though, whenever I cook legumes and tomatoes together the legumes always stay crunchy and don't get tender. I think it is because of the acidity in the tomatoes seizing them up, combined with the particulars of my tap water. I was wondering if you could suggest how to modify the recipe so the raw lentils aren't added with tomatoes. Thanks!
    Hi Sharon,
    That's interesting, I don't think I have ever had that experience myself. In that case, either use canned lentils or cook them separately and add to the soup at the end, just to warm up. Ania
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