Suitable for Non-Vegans

I had thought for December a decadent suitable for non-vegan dessert would be appropriate but then perhaps there are too many dessert recipes doing the rounds at this time of year. So, lets go to the front of a menu and have a winter soup instead. Besides you can’t serve a dessert with crusty bread but you can with soup!

The Scots are great soup makers but it is perhaps not so well known that the Italians are too and this recipe is one of my favourites. Substantial, filling, tastes great and easy to make. In Italy it is known as ribolitta – literally reboiled as the soup is traditionally made a day in advance and reboiled. It is a Tuscan speciality. Not only great soup but an outstanding place to holiday!

I first came across this soup in an excellent book on Mediterranean cooking called ‘Mediterranean Harvest’ by Martha Rose Shulman but the recipe I’m using comes from The Vegetarian Society’s ‘The New Vegetarian Cookbook’.

So, here it is – ribolitta a Tuscan bean soup.


1 x can of cannellini beans or dried equivalent soaked and cooked

3 fl oz olive oil

1 x chopped each of onion & leek

2 x chopped each of carrots, celery & potato

1 x bulb fennel (essential) chopped

8 oz fresh ripe tomatoes – skinned and chopped

2 x cloves of garlic – crushed

2 pts veg stock

1 lb greens (cavolo nero is just the best for this – available from Bay Stores or direct from Robin Gray)

Seasoning to taste.


Assuming dried beans are ready or canned beans are being used.

Heat the oil in a large pan sauté the onion, leek, carrots, celery, potatoes, fennel and tomatoes or approx 10 mins. Add the garlic for 2 mins. Add the stock and drained beans. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for an hour (less if using canned beans). Stir in the greens and continue cooking til the beans are cooked. Season as desired. Allow to cool and set aside for a day. Reheat and serve with crusty bread rubbed with garlic, drizzled with olive oil and grilled. Buon appetito!