Pasta Fagioli Soup is my take on the traditional and famous Italian and Olive Garden recipe that we love to make in our family. Rich and dense tomato soup simmered with beef, healthy veggies, spices, beans, and ditalini pasta are sure to become one of the most requested recipes in your family.
And the best part is it's all made in one pot!
Pasta Fazool, Pasta, and Beans, Pasta Fasul or Pasta e Fagioli - this Italian stew is known by many names but they all mean the same. It's homey, cozy, and warm comfort food in a bowl.
If you have tried my Vegetarian Minestrone Soup, this dish comes very close. However, this Pasta Fagioli Soup is made with slightly different ingredients and spices.
There are so many of you, different readers, here at the Yummy Bowl - some of you like to get straight to the recipe ingredients and instructions, and some of you love reading the full information with tips and tricks that I provide for the recipe.
There is a skip to recipe button in the top left corner along with a clickable table of contents list (just below) that will quickly take you to the part you are more interested in. Enjoy!
My few comments on the ingredients + don't forget to read the Tips section!
The full recipe and ingredients can be found in the recipe card below this post.
- Small Pasta Shape - any small pasta will work here. Whether you are gluten-free or not, there are plenty of choices. Ditalini, orechiette, small shells, cavatelli or corn pasta. Ziti, rigatoni, and fusilli are also great choices but are larger. In this case, reduce the amount that is stated for Ditalini in this recipe.
- Vegetables - Just like in my Minestrone, a good variety of veggies is essential for this recipe to work. The best part is that you can use up any leftover veggies that are sitting in your fridge. Zucchini, carrots, celery, onion, and crushed tomatoes are more common for Pasta Fagioli Soup. But you can mix up a bunch of other vegetables like mushrooms, broccoli or cauliflower, snow peas, green beans, bell peppers.
- For the vegetarian version - omit the beef and broth. Use more beans or cooked lentils instead for added protein and vegetable broth. Pan-fried tempeh could be a great substitution to ground beef here.
- Creamy Beans - Essentially, the Pasta e Fagioli recipe is pasta and bean soup. This means that these two are the most essential ingredients in this dish and can't be substituted with anything. In theory yes you can, but it wouldn't be pasta Fagioli anymore.
- I’ve used white beans (such as cannellini beans and Great Northern beans. Butter beans can be used too) and red kidney beans (light or dark red kidney beans) in this pasta Fagioli soup. Borlotti beans and pinto beans are other our favorites. Drain and rinse them well to remove the high-sodium content. The canned beans add convenience but you can use dried beans that will need to be soaked in water overnight.
- Beef - beef, pork, ground chicken or turkey, or Italian sausage - all work great in this hearty soup. For the broth, also any meat, vegetable, or chicken broth is fine. just make sure it is low-sodium.
- Tomato sauce - I used rich tomato sauce without any add-ons and crushed tomatoes (you can use diced tomatoes too). If you don't have one of these you can substitute one of these with a good quality Italian tomato paste.
Italian soups are pretty much straightforward when it comes to cooking. Saute the meat, add veggies and pour in the broth, and cook! You'll love how easy this soup is!
In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and brown beef over medium-high heat.
Drain excess fat and transfer to a plate, set aside.
In the same pot, add 1 tablespoon oil and cook onions, carrots, and celery, over medium-high heat until tender about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds more.
After that, add Italian herbs, sugar, salt, black pepper, and beef. Cook for a couple of minutes until all are combined.
Add beef broth, tomato sauce, water, and canned tomatoes.
Simmer and bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce the heat to medium-low heat. Cook until vegetables are tender but not overly soft.
Meanwhile cook the ditalini pasta according to the packaging directions (cook until al dente).
Stir in the cooked pasta to the soup, white beans, and kidney beans. Taste for seasoning.
If the soup seems to be too thick, you can thin it out with some water or broth.
Allow cooking 1 minute longer. Stir in parsley, and serve warm with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese.
- If you plan to freeze this soup, it must be done without the cooked pasta. Cook everything as directed in the instructions but don’t add the pasta. Pasta will become thick, and large after freezing and will become mushy after reheating.
- It's a type of dish that tastes better than a restaurant! Add elements of pretty presentation and you have the perfect dish for a date night. We like to serve this with fresh herbs, grated parmesan cheese, gluten-free baguette, or ciabatta.
It goes without saying, but don't overcook your pasta. it should be cooked al dente and after boiling it, rinsed under cold water to prevent further cooking. Basically, if you undercook the pasta, you're good!
- Make it hot - add a drizzle of hot sauce or red pepper flakes towards the end of cooking or when serving individual bowls. This adds a smoky element and intensifies all the rest of the ingredients and spices! So much flavor!
- Also, bay leaves add great extra flavor to any soup or stew dish.
This hearty soup is a meal on its own. Served with parmesan cheese, fresh herbs, and crusty bread on the side - is the number one comfort food on a gloomy cold day!
And here I don't recommend adding more unless you have time to make a quick chopped Italian salad that would be the ideal combo here.
Serve it on the side or as an appetizer before the soup.
My best recommendation for serving Pasta e Fagioli Soup:
Freezing And Storing Instructions
Once the soup is cooked, let it cool completely before transferring it into airtight containers and refrigerating for up to 3 days.
I've always said, that we get the best flavor and nutritional value from any dish when it is served right away. For reheating, use the stovetop and take it to a gentle boil.
If you plan to freeze this soup, it must be done without the cooked pasta.
Cook everything as directed in the instructions but don’t add the pasta. Pasta will become thick, and large after freezing and will become mushy after reheating.
More Olive Garden Copycat Recipes
If you love this recipe, be sure to try these copycat recipes next and let me know what you think.
Healthy Olive Garden's Baked Ziti - Layers of penne pasta and ground meat smothered in ultra-rich marinara sauce topped with plenty of cheeses.
One Pot Zuppa Toscana- You gonna love this, as the entire recipe is made in one pot and requires less than 30 minutes of your time.
Vegetarian Minestrone Soup - This soup is wholesome, extremely flavorful, and appropriate for various dietary needs.
Essentially these two are the same thing. In the US this soup is often referred to as pasta fazool (beans) and Pasta Fagioli is an Italian name.
In Minestrone Soup the highlight of the dish is the veggies used in the soup. There are plenty, don't miss my Minestrone Soup to see for yourself. However, Pasta Fagioli is more focused on pasta and beans.It is usually thicker and stew-like rather than being an actual soup like Minestrone.
Once the soup is cooked, let it cool completely before transferring it into an airtight container and refrigerating for up to 3 days. I always say, that we get the best flavor and nutritional value from any dish when it is served right away. For reheating, use the stovetop and take it to a gentle boil.
More Gluten Free Soup Recipes
ALL DINNER recipes.
I hope you'll enjoy this pasta fagioli soup recipe, please leave a rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo of your food and tag me on Instagram @theyummy_bowl. I love seeing your creations!
Thank you for reading,
Pasta Fagioli Soup (Better Than Olive Garden’s)
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 ½ cups chopped yellow onion
- 1 cup carrots diced
- 1 cup celery about 3 stalks, sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic cloves
- 2 ½ cup tomato sauce or passata
- 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
- ½ cup water then more as desired
- 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoon Italian seasoning Herbs and spices
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon olive oil divided
- 1 cup uncooked gluten free small pasta ditalini, elbows, shells
- 1 15 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz can cannellini beans (white beans), drained and rinsed
- finely shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese for serving
- Chopped fresh parsley for serving
- In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and brown beef over medium high heat.
- Drain excess fat and transfer to a plate, set aside.
- In the same pot, add 1 tablespoon oil and cook onions, carrots, and celery, over medium high heat until tender about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 30 second more. After that, add in Italian herbs, sugar, salt, black pepper and beef. Cook for a couple of minutes until all combined.
- Add beef broth, tomato sauce, water, canned tomatoes. Simmer and bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce the heat to medium-low heat. Cook until vegetables are tender but not overly soft.
- Meanwhile cook the ditalani pasta according packaging directions (cook until al dente)..
- Stir in the cooked pasta to the soup, white beans, and kidney beans.Taste for seasoning. If the soup seems to be too thick, you can thin it out with some water or broth.
- Allow to cook 1 minute longer. Stir in parsley, serve warm with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese.