You’ve got to love a bowl of soup on a cold winter’s day. And when it comes to soup, there’s few that are as comforting as a hearty Ribollita. If you’ve never heard of Ribollita before, it’s an Italian soup that means ‘reboiled’. It’s traditionally made by reheating leftover minestrone and tossing leftover bread into it – essentially a “use it up” meal. But you can make Ribollita fresh and it’s just as good, as I’ve done here with this gorgeous Low FODMAP Ribollita.
Let’s talk FODMAPs
The main problem with a traditional Ribollita is that it’s got lots of high FODMAP ingredients in it.
Firstly, the beans – traditionally cannellini beans, and a decent amount of them – are very high FODMAP. But by changing them to canned chickpeas that have been well rinsed, and limiting the amount added, it’s quite easy to fix this.
Secondly, the onion and garlic – but onion and garlic are easy to change for low FODMAP recipes. Here I’ve used green onion tops and garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil.
Thirdly, the bread – which would normally be a wheat-based bread. This is easy to fix by using a spelt sourdough bread or a suitable low FODMAP gluten-free bread. The only catch is making sure that the bread is sturdy enough not to disintegrate in the hot soup. This can be dealt with by lightly toasting the bread before adding to the soup, which is especially useful for breads that are crumblier in texture.
Lastly, the stock. Actually this isn’t a problem at all because Ribollita is made with water, not stock. But because of the diverse vegetable flavours, plus the extended cooking time, the water becomes as flavoursome as a stock. Which is excellent because then you don’t have to worry about finding a low FODMAP stock.
But does it matter if ribollita is ‘traditional’?
There’s no one right way to make Ribollita. The only thing that people agree on is that it’s meant to contain lots of cheap vegetables, beans, and leftover bread. You can also make it from leftovers or make it fresh on the day.
Aside from adjusting for FODMAPs, there are two ways that this Ribollita recipe has strayed from the traditional method:
- By making it in a slow cooker, it never truly boils, not even once. So it’s definitely not ‘reboiled’, defying the name Ribollita. But, with a slow cooker you can put the soup on to cook, walk away, then come back after a long day and have the most delicious and hearty soup ready for you. And I’m okay with that.
- The bread is normally added during the ‘reboling’ phase of the cooking, but I’ve adjusted the recipe to add the bread during the serving up phase. This strategy means you can store leftovers (and even freeze them), without the bread becoming complete mush.
Regardless of how traditional or otherwise this Ribollita is, there’s one thing for certain… it’s absolutely delicious and it is comfort food in the truest sense. It will warm you up, fill you up, and provide incredible nourishment to your body. And since it won’t upset your tummy either, it’s the perfect option for a cold winter’s day (or any day for that matter). So how about making some Low FODMAP Ribollita today?
A hearty and warming soup, this low FODMAP Ribollita is made using a slow cooker so it’s ready for you at the end of a long day. Comfort food at its best.
- 300g carrot, chopped finely
- 200g fennel bulb, halved and then sliced thinly across
- 2 cups (80g) green onion tops, sliced
- 400g can diced tomatoes
- 3 tsp garlic-infused olive oil (see notes)
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
- 2 litres water
- 1 ham hock, about 1kg
- 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed very well
- 330g cavolo nero (Tuscan kale), stems removed and thickly sliced (you’ll need 1 bunch)
- 1/2 cup of fresh basil, roughly chopped (you’ll need about 1/2 a bunch)
- Per serving: 1-2 slices of sourdough spelt bread (or gluten-free bread if you’re unable to tolerate gluten)
- Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle at the end
- Put the carrot, fennel, green onion tops, diced tomatoes, garlic-infused oil, rosemary, chilli flakes (if using), and water in the slow cooker and mix with a spoon. Then add the ham hock and push it down so it’s covered by the water. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for about 8 hours.
- Remove the ham hock and put on a plate to cool. Remove and discard the rosemary. Add the chickpeas and cavolo nero to the slow cooker, cover with the lid and cook on low for 30 minutes.
- When the ham hock is cool enough to handle, shred the ham from the bone.
- Add the shredded ham and basil to the soup and cook covered for another 10 minutes on low.
- Meanwhile, prepare the bread for serving. Toast the bread lightly until just slightly brown so it doesn’t disintegrate in the soup.
- Divide the soup between the bowls, break a piece of bread into each bowl of soup, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
Adjustments for leftovers
- If you’re planning on using some of the soup as leftovers, don’t add the bread or olive oil to the soup. Instead, divide up the soup after step 4 and then refrigerate or freeze the soup. Then just before serving, perform steps 5 and 6.
- This soup freezes surprisingly well if you only complete up to step 4 before freezing. It can then be defrosted and reheated in the microwave before proceeding to steps 5 and 6.
- This recipe is suitable for a low FODMAP diet, provided that the recommended serving size for this recipe is not exceeded.
- This recipe is naturally gluten-free (if you use gluten-free bread), dairy-free and nut-free. However, if you have an allergy to any of these items, or have coeliac disease, please check the labels on any purchased ingredients to ensure they are safe for your requirements.
- You’ll need a slow cooker (crock pot) that holds about 5 litres.
- Garlic-infused olive oil is a low FODMAP ingredient because FODMAPs are not soluble in oil. It is safest to use a commercially-prepared garlic-infused olive oil. I like to use the Cobram Estate Garlic Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which you can find in supermarkets.
- Make sure that you only use the green tops of the spring onions (scallions), since the white bits are high in fructans.
- Chickpeas are low FODMAP at a serving size of 1/4 cup. It’s best to use canned chickpeas and ensure that you rinse them thoroughly before using.
- With the bread, sourdough spelt bread that’s made using traditional sourdough techniques will be low FODMAP. But if you can’t tolerate gluten, you can use a gluten-free bread instead – but try to choose one with some substance so it doesn’t disintegrate in the soup.
- If you can eat dairy and would like to add some cheese, try adding shaved parmesan just before serving.
- If you can’t find cavolo nero, use silverbeet (swiss chard) leaves instead.
Low FODMAP Portion
- Serving Size: About 2 cups (500ml) of soup, plus bread
Discover more delicious low FODMAP recipes that will keep your tummy happy and make your taste buds smile
This recipe is part of the Recipe ReDux and the theme for this month is Beat the Heat with the Slow Cooker/Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker. The goal is to show you a way to keep the kitchen cool by not turning on the oven and instead using another appliance that helps to keep the heat limited.
Given that it’s the middle of winter here, keeping the house cool is not my goal. In fact, in Australia, now is an excellent time to be turning on the oven simply to cut down on heating bills. It’s also an excellent time for eating big bowls of soup. But since I’d never made a soup in the slow cooker before, I decided to give it a go and was super happy with the result. A piping hot bowl of soup ready for you at the end of the day.
In terms of making this recipe healthier, to be perfectly honest there was no need to. I adapted this recipe from the one in the Women’s Weekly Slow Cooker Recipes book, but it was already a stunningly healthy soup. So all I did was switch up the ingredients to make it low FODMAP and change a few ingredients to make it more convenient and cheaper to make. And that means that now anyone can enjoy it, whether they have a sensitive tummy or not.
You can see more recipes using appliances other than the oven by clicking on the link below. Note that most of those recipes won’t be low FODMAP, but you can use them for inspiration and substitute high FODMAP ingredients for low FODMAP ones so that they won’t upset your tummy.