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Vintage California Cuisine: 300 Recipes from the First Cookbooks Published in the Golden State


Cranberry Beans





Italian Bean with
Vegetable Soup

This recipe shows off fresh shelled beans, such as cranberry beans, that are widely available in U.S. farmers markets, from east to west, each fall. “Ribollita” means re-boiled in Italian, and it is standard practice in Italy to prepare this soup in advance and reheat.  Proportions may be adjusted, depending on vegetables on hand. This soup is even better the second day. 


2 cups shelled cranberry beans (or white beans, such as great northern)
1 large bunch chard, shredded
1 small head Savoy cabbage, coarsely shredded
1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 leek, well washed and finely sliced
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 or 4 ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 large stalks celery, sliced into ˝ slices
1 thick slice per serving whole wheat bread, slightly stale
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Soak beans overnight. Cover with water and cook approximately 1 hour until done.

2. Strain the beans, reserving all their cooking water.  Set aside about one quarter of the beans.  Puree the rest, together with their cooking water. 

3. In a separate large pot, sauté onions, garlic, celery, carrot and leek in olive oil. Add cabbage, chard, tomato, and thyme, together with pureed beans. Cook over low heat for about one hour.  Add reserved beans, salt, and a little water if necessary, and cook for about 15 more minutes.

4. To serve, place bread slice in bottom of soup bowl, add soup, a grating of olive oil and top with a small amount of high-quality olive oil.

Copyright 2005 Seasonal Chef