Italian Bread Soup

In her years of extensive research into our family history, I don’t think my mother has found a single Italian ancestor for me (nor does Mark have any, despite his father’s spurious claim that he had “hot Italian blood coursing through [his] veins.”) Nonetheless, I believe I’d make a good honorary Italian for this recipe. Essentially, I had about a third of a loaf of bread leftover from last week’s bake, the crust of which was rock hard, but the inside of which (thanks to my latest invention the “long life” bread bag, and yes, I’ll be making a second one soon for your benefit and doing a tutorial) was still soft. So basically I could get a knife through it, but the crust would have broken your teeth. Like many Italians, I didn’t want it to go to waste, though, so I decided to make bread soup. In fact, practically this entire soup was made from leftovers of one sort of another. I am thrifty!

Italian Bread Soup

1/2 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
6 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
4 cups vegan broth (I used the broth leftover from making Smoked Seitan Butt last night)
1 14.5 oz can Roman or white beans
1 cup diced or crushed tomatoes (I used leftover homemade tomato sauce from Friday night’s dinner)
3 cups baby spinach (I had some that was a bit past its prime and thought it would be great for soup)
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
stale white bread, like sourdough, cut or torn into medium-large pieces (you’ll often see “day-old” bread called for, but mine was a full week old)

Heat some olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, then add the onions, celery, and carrots. When the onions are translucent, add the garlic and cook for a minute or two, then add the broth, beans, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the spinach and cook for another minute or two, then add the bread and let it become soaked through.

It’s a beautiful day here in Northern Virginia! I’m about to go run some errands, with the top down on my car, it’s so nice! The only downside is the kittens are starting to once again think maybe they should be going outside.


  1. Josiane Said,

    February 27, 2011 @ 9:26 pm

    Yet one more thing we have in common: thriftiness! 🙂
    This soup recipe makes me want to bake a big batch of bread so that at least some of it would have the time to go stale… It looks delicious!
    I’m looking forward to your post about the bread bag. I have been given one several years ago that is baguette-shaped, and I’d like to make one that would fit bigger loaves. Mine is made of cotton and lined with plastic; I’m curious to see what material you’ve used for yours.

  2. radioactivegan Said,

    February 28, 2011 @ 1:03 am

    That’s lucky! We had insane amounts of rain (then fog) in east TN. I hope your errands went well 🙂 That cat looks like he’s not going to take much in the way of excuses.

  3. Sarah Said,

    February 28, 2011 @ 7:51 am

    That soup sounds delicious. I often let bread soak in my soup (stale or not!) and in my family we call it ‘pobbies’. I just googled that to check it’s not rude (!) and apparently its a Yorkshire thing. I never thought Yorkshire had anything in common with Italy before…

    My 6 month old kittens are desperate to get out of the house here too, every time I open the door they try to make a run for it. I’ve resorted to entering the house on my hands and knees to stop them getting in, something needs to change!

  4. Sarah Said,

    February 28, 2011 @ 7:51 am

    sorry, that shold say ‘getting out’ in the last sentence…

  5. Jes Said,

    March 1, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

    That soup looks amazing! I’ve been meaning to make a bread soup for ages, but often just end up throwing croutons or stale bread in any soup I make as a garnish. Hope you’ve got the beautiful weather we have!

  6. susan Said,

    March 2, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

    I love Gomez looking all sexy and relaxed in the sun!

    This comment is not about food or cats though so all non Sir Nick admirers please disregard. I bought the Live at Royal Hall cd from a different vendor but from Amazon and paid a lot less. I don’t know why I received the recommendation 3 years after it was released though. I had most of the singles even before the rarities cds came out so I am a little obsessed. That being said it is a nice cd. I have so many bootlegs but the recordings are not always fantastic. The piano on this recording is amazing. Blixa is also on the cd and does his Where the Wild Roses Grow duet with Nick. There are also great versions of Red Right Hand and I Let Love In. Thumbs up from me even if it is only eleven songs.

    Sorry everyone!

  7. renae Said,

    March 4, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

    Susan, thanks for the review! Now I’m going to have to get it…

  8. Deleilan Said,

    March 4, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

    Gorgeous, glorious soup! Soup and bread, the perfect combination! Add a cat or two, and you’ve surely got a failproof recipe for happiness.

    I’ve been looking into buying a bread bag recently, so I’m very interested in your upcoming tutorial!

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