If there was ever a dish perfectly pitched for our veg boxes in the late autumn, it’s the Tuscan ribollita. I’ve long been a fan of this thick, rustic, ultra-nutritious soup of beans and veg, so was curious to see Felicity Cloake’s take on it for her regular column in The Guardian.

This is a good recipe for batch-cooking too – double the size if you wish. Or just boil up more beans than you need and freeze the rest for next time.

Also, our Regather Farm organic flat-leaf parsley is excellent chopped and strewn over this soup.  


  • 200g dried cannellini beans (or other beans e.g. borlotti) OR 400g cooked tinned beans (net weight)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and squashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped (OR 1 small brown onion and 1 small red onion)
  • 2 carrots, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, trimmed and finely chopped
  • Salt and black pepper
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 large leek, washed and thickly sliced
  • 200g winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into rough 1cm chunks
  • 250g cavolo nero, or cabbage or other greens, shredded
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 parmesan rind (or similar hard cheese rind; optional)
  • 200g stale bread, torn into chunks
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
  • Grated cheese, to serve
  • Chopped parsley, to serve - optional


  1. **If you’re using dried beans, soak them overnight**
  2. Put the soaked beans in a large pan, cover generously with cold water and add the garlic and bay. Bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour or so until soft. Turn off the heat. Scoop out half the beans and set aside.
  3. Use a stick blender to puree the remaining beans and enough of their cooking liquid to make a thin puree, adding more liquid if necessary. (If using tinned beans, scoop out half, then puree the rest with the liquid from the can.)
  4. Put the oil in a large pan on a medium heat. Saute the onions, stirring, for 6-7 mins until they soften. Add the carrot, celery, a pinch of salt, and cook for 5 mins more, until soft. If you’re using tinned beans, finely chop the garlic and stir it into the pan.
  5. Stir in the fennel seeds and chilli flakes, cook for a minute. Add the leek, squash and cavolo nero, stir well. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until limp.
  6. Tip in the tomatoes, pureed beans and cheese rind, adding 150-250ml water or stock, if necessary, depending on how liquid the puree is and how soupy you want your ribollita. Cover and leave to bubble for about 40 mins, or until the veg are cooked to your taste.
  7. Stir in the remaining cooked beans and the bread. Cook until bread is soft, then season soup to taste.
  8. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and pop under a hot grill until crisp on top, or serve just as it is. Top with grated cheese and/or chopped parsley.