Italian for “pasta and beans,” Pasta Fagioli should also translate to “best soup.” A hearty combination of pantry staples, veggies, beans, and ground beef, the flavor and satisfaction level far exceed the humble ingredients.

Why You’ll Love This Hearty Pasta e Fagioli Recipe

  • Like Olive Garden, But Better. You probably know pasta fagioli from Olive Garden. Like Minestrone Soup, it’s made with pasta, beans, and vegetables, but it’s more brothy than pasta fagioli. As for the difference between this pasta fagioli recipe and what you may have had at a certain Italian chain restaurant, let me assure you that this recipe is way better than bottomless breadsticks!
  • Easy to Make. This pasta fagioli recipe is simple enough for a beginner cook, but scrumptious enough to please the discerning expert. It’s prepared in one pot, and the extra step of pureeing the soup makes for the perfect, creamy consistency.
  • Budget Friendly. Bust out the ground beef from the freezer and those canned tomatoes you’ve had stacked in the back of the pantry since 2020! This recipe yields a generous portion, and like a good pot of chili, it tastes even better reheated the next day.
  • Flexible. Feel free to channel Barefoot Contessa as you prepare this pasta fagioli using your cooking creativity; this soup is flexible and forgiving to incorporate the veggies, beans, and noodles you have on hand.
pasta fagioli recipe healthy and easy

5 Star Review

“Holy wow, this was an unbelievably delicious meal!”

— Mada —

How to Make Pasta Fagioli

The Ingredients

  • Ground Beef. Use 90% to 93% to keep this recipe leaner. Be sure to check out my other Ground Beef Dinner Ideas too!
  • Beans. Two cans of beans (no need to soak dry beans!) make this soup even more hearty and filling. I used a mix of dark or light red kidney beans and white beans, such as Great Northern, cannellini beans, or navy beans.
  • Vegetables. A base of sauteed onion and carrot builds a flavorful base. Feel free to add or subtract your favorite vegetables. You could add sweet potato, mushrooms, or celery stalk along with the carrots, and/or stir in a leafy green at the end, like spinach or kale, until wilted.
  • Herbs and Spices. Fresh minced garlic, bay leaf, and Italian seasoning add familiar Italian flavors to the soup, with crushed red pepper for a pinch of heat, and fresh herbs like parsley or basil as a final finishing touch.
  • Tomatoes. A large can of crushed tomatoes adds depth to the broth.
  • Broth. I recommend low sodium chicken broth to control the salt level, but you can also use vegetable broth.
  • Red Wine Vinegar. The pop of acidity balances all the flavors.
  • Pasta. The traditional noodle choice for pasta fagioli is ditalini pasta, but you can use any small pasta, such as small shells or elbow macaroni. I use whole wheat noodles to add more protein and fiber to the dish.
  • Parmesan. For a pro chef move, simmer a Parmesan rind in your soup, and freshly grate Parmesan over the top when serving. This is no time for the green can.

Market Swap

While this pasta fagioli recipe is made with ground beef, you can swap part Italian sausage, add bacon or pancetta, or sub ground turkey to make it even leaner.

The Directions

browning meat for pasta fagiolibrowning meat for pasta fagioli
  1. Brown. Cook the ground beef in a Dutch oven or large soup pot. Remove to a plate.
carrots and onion in a large dutch oven for pasta fagiolicarrots and onion in a large dutch oven for pasta fagioli
  1. Cook the Veggies. Sauté vegetables in olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic.
pouring broth into pasta fagiolipouring broth into pasta fagioli
  1. Simmer. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth and simmer.
simmering pasta fagioli in a large dutch ovensimmering pasta fagioli in a large dutch oven
  1. Add the Crushed Tomatoes. Increase heat to medium high. Simmer.
pasta fagioli recipe with pasta and beanspasta fagioli recipe with pasta and beans
  1. Simmer More. Add remaining broth, beans, seasoning, and Parmesan rind. Simmer for 10 minutes.
blending pasta fagioli to thickenblending pasta fagioli to thicken
  1. Puree. Blend a portion of the soup.
easy pasta fagioli recipeeasy pasta fagioli recipe
  1. Make It Thick. Stir blended portion back into the pot.
easy pasta and beans pasta fagioli recipeeasy pasta and beans pasta fagioli recipe
  1. Add the Pasta. Stir in the pasta, bring to a simmer, and cook until the pasta is al dente, or tender to your preference.
pasta fagioli with beans, pasta, and meatpasta fagioli with beans, pasta, and meat
  1. Finish. Stir in the vinegar, parsley, and cooked beef. Serve hot with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, drizzle of olive oil, and additional fresh herbs. ENJOY!
olive garden pasta fagioli recipeolive garden pasta fagioli recipe

Storage Tips

If you know you are going to have leftovers or are making freezer pasta fagioli soup for a future meal, I recommend:

  • Keeping the cooked pasta separate from the soup rather than mixing it into the pot of soup.
  • This will prevent the pasta from becoming mushy as it is stored.
  • Mix in cooked pasta while reheating the soup.

What to Serve with Pasta Fagioli

traditional pasta fagioli recipe in a bowltraditional pasta fagioli recipe in a bowl

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Swap in Dried Beans. Pasta fagioli is a great opportunity to put heirloom beans to use! You’ll need about 1 1/2 cups of cooked dried beans for every can of beans in the recipe.
  • Don’t Use an Immersion Blender. An immersion blender is definitely a handy tool for soups specifically, but for soups that you do not want totally pureed or you are specific about the elements you want to remain intact, it can be easy to accidentally go overboard and not achieve the desired texture. For this soup, I recommend scooping a portion of the soup into a blender so you don’t blend all of it.
  • Make It Meatless. This pasta fagioli soup recipe does contain ground beef, but it can be easily omitted, and additionally, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to make it vegetarian. The soup will still be plenty hearty and filling without the meat thanks to the beans.
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
  • 4 medium carrots scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 2 cups)
  • 1 small yellow onion diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth divided
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can reduced sodium light or dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can reduced sodium Great Northern, cannellini, or navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup dry whole wheat miniature pasta such dilatini, small shells or elbow macaroni (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1/2 chopped fresh basil plus additional for serving
  • Water or additional broth as needed
  • Parmesan rind optional

  • In a Dutch over or similar large soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, breaking apart the meat with a wooden spoon or spatula, until no pink remains, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to a plate.

  • Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, carrots, onion, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables soften and the onion begins to turn translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and scrape the spoon along the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck-on bits of food.

  • Add the crushed tomatoes and increase the heat to medium high. Let the tomatoes simmer for 5 minutes, stirring and scraping the spoon along the bottom of the pan often to keep them from sticking.

  • Add the remaining 3 cups broth, kidney beans, Great Northern beans, bayleaf, Italian seasoning, pepper, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan rind (if using). Bring to a gentle simmer. Let cook, stirring every few minutes, for 10 minutes.

  • Carefully transfer a few ladlefuls of the soup to a blender, filling the blender no more than halfway (be careful not to scoop up the bayleaf of Parm rind). Puree until smooth, then stir back into the soup (you also can place an immersion blender directly in the pot and blend BRIEFLY. You want to puree part of the beans to thicken the soup but still have plenty of beans intact—remove the bayleaf and Parmesan rind while you do this to make sure you don’t blend them, then add them back to the soup).

  • Stir in the pasta. Bring the soup to a constant, rapid simmer and let cook, stirring often to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot, until the pasta is al dente, about 15 minutes. Partially cover the pot to keep the soup from splattering all over your stove.

  • Stir in the red wine vinegar, parsley, and cooked beef. If the soup is thicker than you would like, add water or additional broth, until your desired consistency is reached. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired (I usually add a few pinches of salt). Serve hot, with a generous sprinkle of Parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil, and additional fresh herbs.

Adapted from the Instant Pot Pasta e Fagioli in my cookbook.

  • TO STORE: Store leftover pasta fagioli in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Warm on the stovetop or in the microwave until steaming.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze pasta fagioli for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Serving: 1of 6Calories: 297kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 25gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 47mgPotassium: 987mgFiber: 4gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 7116IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 96mgIron: 5mg

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Favorite Italian Soups

Basil,Beans,Beef,Carrot,Garlic,Onion,Parmesan,Parsley,Pasta,Stock (Vegetable/Chicken),Tomato

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