Cavolo Nero Minestrone

Tuscan kale, lancinato kale, dinosaur kale, black kale. How many names for such a humble green. Tuscan, in particular, is revelatory of its origin, or perhaps of its role in the cuisine of this region. You might have heard of ribollita, a soup made with stale Tuscan bread, beans and cavolo nero. A true autumnal delight. I was so happy to find it here in Piedmont that I cooked a huge feast with it.

I made a simple soda bread to go with our meals. So, lunch consisted of buttered seedy bread, poached eggs on stir fried cavolo nero. More cavolo nero was tossed in a salad with some grated pecorino cheese, oil and garlic croutons and a simple lemon and olive oil dressing. The day before I also made some turnip and pear mash with leftover ingredients from a soup. It was a good alternative to mashed potatoes and it worked pretty well with the rest of the dishes. Back from our usual Sunday stroll, I made soup using mixed legumes, cabbage, and cavolo nero. That was dinner.

Cavolo Nero Minestrone

serves 4-6
2 cups dried mixed legumes (beans, chickpeas, garbanzos, lentils etc.)
1 big red onion, thinly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 spring of rosemary
8 cups water or vegetable stock
1 bunch cavolo nero, rinsed and chopped
4 cups thinly sliced cabbage
3 tsp kosher salt, plus more for serving
1 slice of Tuscan or other country bread per serving

olive oil, freshly ground black pepper and grated parmesan cheese for serving

The night before, soak the beans and chickpeas in cold water. The day you make the soup, drain them and rinse them a couple of times.

In a big pot, heat olive oil over medium fire, add onion and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, then add beans, chickpeas, lentils and rosemary, cover with water or stock and let cook covered for about 30 minutes. Check the cooking half way through and add more water if needed. Five minutes before it’s done, add cabbage and kale, season with salt and pepper. Tun off the heat. With an immersion blender, give a few pulses to the soup to cream a tiny part of the ingredients and make the liquid part denser. Let the soup cool a bit and, in the meantime, toast the bread slices. Serve soup hot with a drizzle of olive oil, bread, freshly ground black pepper and grated parmesan cheese.




  1. la domestique November 30, 2011

    I love love love Tuscan kale! It's fun to see you eat it for each meal of the day.

  2. Mr.Loto December 3, 2011

    Anche io amo molto il cavolo nero; peccato che nella mia zona sia molto difficile da trovare… un saluto.

  3. Sassy-Kitchen December 5, 2011

    So happy to have found your blog! Thanks for reading mine 🙂 Great images!

  4. viola December 6, 2011

    ciao Valeria vorrei tanto anch'io un giorno del cavolo nero…..proprio perchè anch'io l'adoro ma fatico a trovarlo. Una zuppa così me la sogno insomma 😀 Ma la speranza c'è sempre.
    Ti ho invitata a partecipare ad un giochino molto simpatico, se ti va di sapere cos'è passa da me ( sempre se ti va e se non hai già partecipato, s'intende 😉
    Un bacio

  5. rossella December 14, 2011

    Questo post è strepitoso.
    😉 un bacio, oh cara!

  6. Valeria December 15, 2011

    @ladomestique: it was a fun experiment for sure!
    @mr. loto: eh infatti, di solito anche qui, è stato un terno al lotto! ma se ti capita…prova l'insalata, è davvero buona!
    @Sassy-Kitchen: my pleasure! thanks a lot!
    @viola: ti dico, è stato puro caso e puro amore…tieni gli occhi aperti, sia mai che ti capita una botta di fortuna come la mia! metti a mollo i fagioli per sicurezza…:)
    @rossella: grazie mille cara! un bacio a te!


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