Pasta e Fagioli Soup {Better than Olive Garden’s}

September 13, 2018

Pasta e Fagioli is one of my favorite soups! It’s on heavy rotation at my house (especially during those colder months) because we all love it so much! It has incredible flavor and it’s jam packed with goodness making it a soup that’s fit to be the main dish.

Pasta e Fagioli Soup in a large white pot.

Pasta e Fagioli Recipe

This recipe is a MUST that you can’t miss out on! It’s one of the best comfort foods if you ask me. Hence why this is actually my third time sharing it (I don’t think I’ve ever done that with a recipe, I just really want to make sure you try this one).

I love that it has lots of veggies and a good amount of protein from the beef and the beans, and of course I can’t get enough of that delicious Italian flavor.

Another great thing about this soup is the addition of pasta (along with the beef and beans) it makes this soup extra filling.

After one bite I have the feeling this will be your go-to Pasta e Fagoli soup. And yes, it is actually even better than Olive Garden’s!

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 we can all agree on. Plus this is easy to make, nothing complicated here.

All around win! Try it and let me know how you like it.

Want to see how easy it is? Watch the Pasta e Fagioli Video:


Pasta e Fagioli Soup in pot with wooden ladle.

What Ingredients go into Pasta Fagioli?

  • Ground beef
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh veggies – onion, carrots, celery, garlic and parsley
  • Tomato sauce
  • Canned ingredients – tomatoes, low-sodium chicken broth
  • Sugar (omit if you want)
  • Dried herbs – oregano, basil, thyme, marjoram
  • Ditalini pasta
  • Canned beans – kidney & great northern beans
  • Parmesan

I Don’t Have All Those Herbs, is There a Substitute?

If you don’t have all the different dried herbs then you could just try using an Italian seasoning herb blend, it usually has the same herbs as those listed here. If going that route use 1 Tbsp.

Ladle full of copycat olive garden pasta fagioli soup.

How to Make Pasta e Fagioli Soup

  • Cook beef, drain and transfer beef.
  • Saute veggies.
  • 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.

Two servings of Pasta e Fagioli Soup in white serving bowls set over white plates. Served with french bread on the side.

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 Should I Serve with Pasta e Fagioli?

Soup, salad and bread. Sounds like the perfect comfort food combination to me!

Pasta e Fagioli Soup {Olive Garden Copycat Recipe}

4.97 from 142 votes

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!

Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 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


  1. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat, crumble in ground beef or sausage and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through. 

  2. Drain fat from beef then transfer beef to a plate, set aside. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil in same pot. 

  3. Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute over medium-high heat until tender about 6 minutes, add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. 

  4. Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, water, canned tomatoes, sugar, basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram and cooked beef then season with salt and pepper to taste. 

  5. 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. 

  6. Meanwhile prepare ditalani pasta according to directions on package, cooking to al dente.

  7. 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. 

  8. Allow to cook 1 minute longer. Stir in parsley, serve warm with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Notes

*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.

Nutrition Facts
Pasta e Fagioli Soup {Olive Garden Copycat Recipe}
Amount Per Serving
Calories 540 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 49mg16%
Sodium 718mg31%
Potassium 1616mg46%
Carbohydrates 70g23%
Fiber 13g54%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 35g70%
Vitamin A 4375IU88%
Vitamin C 24mg29%
Calcium 150mg15%
Iron 8mg44%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pasta Fagioli
Author: Jaclyn


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  • Caroline

    Made this soup for my family!! They all loved it, and it’s so healthy too!! Next time I would only add the pasta to the soup I am eating as had lots of left overs but the pasta went all mushy!

  • Debbie

    Was just at Olive Garden which is why I was looking for a recipe!
    This is fabulous!!!!!! And yes, better than theirs! Made it as written, awesome!! Thank you, will be making this often this winter!
    Thank you.

  • Pauline

    Just made this and it’s AWESOME !!! I made simple meatballs, meat, egg and italian breadcrumbs, instead of just ground beef, and I also added a parmesean rind. There’s so many yummy sounding add-ins suggested in other recipes for this very versatile soup, but this was the first one I read, and it’s just incredible !!! I don’t have any leftovers, and this is the first time in my life that I’ve ever left a comment on anything. Thanks so much for this recipe.

  • Jackie J

    Made this exactly as written just without fresh parsley, I did use dried parsley. It was delicious! My six year old ate almost a whole bowl full so that makes it an automatic winner!

  • Lynn Tucker

    I purchased some organic dried beans that are supposed to work well in soups. They are called Yellow Indian Woman beans. If I soak the dried beans to prepare for soup, could they be used in this recipe?

  • Marlene

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! I’ve never had Olive Garden’s but it couldn’t be as good as this!

    • I’ve made this several times and it’s a great hit,everyone loves it
      I double the recipe,give to my kids & their family ,they love it !!
      I plan on freezing the rest but we end up eating the whole double receipee,that’s how good it is
      I’ve told my friends about it too,spreading the good word !!

  • Carol Baird

    It was perfect! My picky eaters loved it! So excited that I can make a soup that everyone in my family will eat.