Although this vegetarian recipe is considered a basic one, there’s absolutely nothing basic about the flavour profile in a comforting bowl of tomato bread soup.
A lot of variations exist around the world on how to make it, especially in Italy, but this recipe—once considered a “peasant” dish—is my own take, and one my family truly loves. It starts with stale bread; a bunch of hearty greens, and some quintessential Italian ingredients: garlic, tomatoes and beans.
This is a vegetarian recipe that makes Meatless Monday something you want to repeat all week long! Here’s how to make it:
- 1 medium white onion
- 3 medium-sized carrots, peeled
- 1 lb savoy cabbage or kale
- 4 medium-sized potatoes (white or purple work)
- 7 oz Swiss chard
- 3 medium zucchini
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 cup of peeled San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
- 14 oz cannellini beans, cooked (you can use canned as well, just make sure to drain them)
- 4-6 slices of Tuscan-style bread (like a ciabatta) but make sure it’s 2-3 days old. You want it to be stale!
- Grated parmesan, to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
In a large pan, heat a teaspoon of cayenne pepper with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. (You can use more cayenne if you want more heat.)
Once the oil heats up, add in the onion, carrots and celery. Fry until golden.
Add in your chopped cabbage or kale; stir until wilted, then add in zucchini and cut potatoes.
Stir all ingredients together, cook until potatoes are fork-tender. Then add in the Swiss chard, your crushed tomatoes and the cannellini beans.
Add in enough hot water to completely cover the vegetables and turn this dish into a soup.
Salt and pepper to taste and leave it to cook (covered) for 1.5 hours on low heat. Stir occasionally.
When ready to serve, layer each bowl with soup, a layer of your Tuscan bread (so the liquid can absorb into the bread and soften it) and then finish with a generous handful of grated parmesan. Top with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a turn of freshly ground black pepper.
Although this can be served immediately after making, it tastes even better the next day! Enjoy your tomato bread soup.