The BEST Pasta e Fagioli Soup! And yes, it’s even better than Olive Garden’s!
This Italian style soup is loaded with hearty ground beef, fresh vegetables, creamy beans, tender pasta and delicious herbs all in a rich and savory broth.
Homemade Pasta Fagioli Soup Recipe
This pasta fagioli recipe is a MUST that you can’t miss out on. It’s one of the ultimate comfort food and truly one of the best soups you’ll make!
Since sharing this soup 6 years ago it has become a reader favorite recipe. And of course a family favorite too – everyone in my family loves this soup!
You’ll love that it uses ingredients that are commonly kept on hand (do you store ground beef in the freezer like I do?), it has such a delicious satisfying flavor, it’s so hearty and it’s a dinner everyone agree on.
Plus this is super easy to make, nothing complicated here and it all comes together in one pot!
All around win! Try it and let me know how you like it.
What Does Pasta e Fagioli Mean?
The Italian term “pasta e fagoili” translates in English to pasta and beans. It’s a hearty soup consisting of plenty of the two.
Pasta e Fagioli Video Tutorial:
What Ingredients go into Pasta Fagioli?
- Ground beef. Use at least 80% lean ground beef. You can also try it with half Italian sausage.
- Olive oil. This is used for sauteing the veggies so you won’t need much.
- Yellow onion, carrots, celery, garlic and parsley. These fresh vegetables add layers of flavor.
- Canned tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, great northern beans, and low-sodium chicken broth. These canned ingredients make this a weeknight friendly recipe cutting way down on prep.
- Sugar. This very small amount just balances the acidity of the canned tomatoes. If preferred you can omit it.
- Dried oregano, basil, thyme, marjoram. If you don’t have all the different dried herbs then you can just use an Italian seasoning blend. Use 1 Tbsp.
- Ditalini pasta. In a pinch another small pasta will work fine here like macaroni or even orzo.
- Parmesan cheese. Shredded Romano will work great too.
How to Make Pasta Fagioli Soup:
- Cook beef in a pot, drain and transfer beef.
- Saute veggies in same pot.
- Add broth, tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, sugar, dried herbs and beef.
- Simmer until veggies are tender.
- Cook ditalini.
- Add pasta and beans to soup warm briefly then stir in parsley.
How to Make Crock Pot Pasta Fagioli:
- Saute beef then add to crock pot. Saute onion then garlic and add to crock pot.
- Add remaining ingredients up to and including salt and pepper.
- Cook on low heat 4 hours. Cook pasta separately on stovetop near the end of cooking.
- Add beans and parsley to soup and serve warm.
How to Store:
Store pasta e fagioli soup (separate from pasta) for up to 3 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. I like to store in individual microwave safe containers to I can reheat individual portions straight from the fridge.
Can I Freeze Pasta Fagioli Soup?
Yes. It freezes really well for about 3 month in an airtight container (be sure to allow about 3/4-inch for liquid to expand at top of container). I usually store the soup and cooked pasta (tossed with a little olive oil) separately in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
How to Reheat:
Reheat soup in a pot on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Can I Cook the Pasta in the Soup?
If you plan on serving all the soup right away you can just cook the pasta in the soup (otherwise with leftovers the pasta gets soggy). It will take about 10 – 15 minutes of simmering and add 1 cup of water to make up for what it will absorb.
What Sides Go Well with Pasta Fagioli Soup?
- A side salad with Italian Salad Dressing or Creamy Pesto Dressing
- Copycat Olive Garden Breadsticks
- No Knead Crusty Bread
- Cheesy Garlic Bread
Soup, salad and bread. Sounds like the perfect comfort food combination to me!
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This Pasta e Fagioli is one of my all time favorite soups and one of my most popular recipes! It's loaded with vegetables and brimming with Italian flavor. It's perfectly comforting, hearty and absolutely delicious!
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
- 1 cup diced carrots (about 2 medium)
- 1 cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbsp)
- 3 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
- 2 14.5 oz cans low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup water, then more as desired
- 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup dry ditalini pasta
- 1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 oz) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- Finely shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese , for serving
- 3 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat, crumble in ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through.
Drain fat from beef then transfer beef to a plate, set aside. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil in same pot.
Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute over medium-high heat until tender about 6 minutes, add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, water, canned tomatoes, sugar, basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram and cooked beef then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low, cover with lid and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until veggies are soft, about 15 - 20 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare ditalani pasta according to directions on package, cooking to al dente.
Add cooked and drained pasta to soup* along with kidney beans and great northern beans. Thin with a little more broth or water if desired.
Allow to cook 1 minute longer. Stir in parsley, serve warm with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese.
*If you don't plan on eating all of the soup right away I recommend adding the pasta to individual servings. Otherwise pasta gets soggy and absorbs too much broth.