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

September 13, 2018  ·  Published October 16, 2016

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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.

Pasta e Fagioli Soup in a large white pot.

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:

 

Image showing ingredients that go into pasta fagioli soup.

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.

Ladle full of copycat olive garden pasta fagioli soup.

How to Make Pasta Fagioli Soup:

  1. Cook beef in a pot, drain and transfer beef.
  2. Saute veggies in same pot.
  3. Add broth, tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, sugar, dried herbs and beef.
  4. Simmer until veggies are tender.
  5. Cook ditalini.
  6. Add pasta and beans to soup warm briefly then stir in parsley.

Image showing steps of how to cook pasta fagioli in a pot.

How to Make Crock Pot Pasta Fagioli:

  1. Saute beef then add to crock pot. Saute onion then garlic and add to crock pot.
  2. Add remaining ingredients up to and including salt and pepper.
  3. Cook on low heat 4 hours. Cook pasta separately on stovetop near the end of cooking.
  4. Add beans and parsley to soup and serve warm.

Overhead image of pasta fagioli soup in a pot.

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.

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 Sids go well with Pasta Fagioli Soup?

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

Pasta e Fagioli Soup {Olive Garden Copycat Recipe}

4.98 from 170 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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat, crumble in ground beef 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
Recipe first published October 5, 2012, last updated January 17, 2020.

 

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523 Comments

  • Dawn Riche’

    Very easy recipe to follow, I substitute with an Italian Herb seasoning blend since I didn’t have all the seasoning ingredients. It came out delicious thanks for sharing this recipe.

  • ALEA HAKEEM

    BEST DAMN PASTA E FAGIOLI I HAVE EVER EATEN! MY HUSBAND AND KIDS FEEL THE SAME WAY! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING!!! SO EASY!

  • Greg B

    I’m always looking for new (easy) recipes to make for my family, so we tried this. I followed the exact instructions, and I’ve now made it several different times. It’s a family favorite.

    I have found that some of my family likes a thinner “soup”, and some like things a little thicker, so I’ve adjusted the chicken stock accordingly.
    Thanks for a great recipe!

  • Laura Taranto

    Fantastic! Best I’ve ever made!
    Made a few adjustments-
    1tsp McCormick Italian herb grinder Instead of seasoning spices.
    3/4 of 24oz Publix premium pasta sauce jar sauce. prefer the Basil & Tomato instead of plain can of tomato sauce

  • nondee jones

    This one IS just like the one -almost better – than Olive Garden. My husband usually is nOT thrilled with soup – but he was with this one. I was a soux chef intern in the 1970’s and I can cook – so this was a relief that it was a good one and i didn’t have to think.

  • Robert Henry

    I made it and it was delicious. I added 2 tspn red cayenne pepper for a little zip and got it. Fra diavolo?

  • sue kubecka

    Can ground turkey be used as half ground beef? Some recipes specify pancetta; would the addition of Italian sausage in place of 1/2 ground beef be acceptable? Might interfere tho with the seasonings you specify?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I’ve also made it with Italian sausage and it is delicious, I just like the beef flavor here the best. And yes ground turkey will work too.

  • Denise

    This is so good! It was easy to prepare and the kitchen smelled amazing while it simmered on the stove. I will certainly make this again. My one question is that it says six servings, what is a serving? Is it one cup, two?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Sorry I forgot to measure total volume. It would be that divided by 6.