Pasta Fagioli Soup

My husband and I like to lead a simple life.  Some people strive for drama and chaos, but not us.  I generally make simple meals because I find that small ingredient lists of delicious things make the best meals.  This time however, I wanted an extra simple meal.  There is nothing complicated about a hearty pasta fagioli soup.  This version tastes nearly identical to Olive Garden’s Pasta e Fagioli, full of assorted beans, beef, pasta, and wonderful seasoning.

05Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta Fagioli Soup Recipe
(Makes about 8 servings)


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped (equivalent to 1 cup)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped (equivalent to 1 cup)
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped (equivalent to 1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (15 ounces) beef broth
  • 1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans, with liquid
  • 1 can (15 ounces) white kidney beans, with liquid
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 8 ounces ditalini pasta, precooked weight


  1. In a large pot, over Medium heat, cook the ground beef.
  2. Drain the liquid from the cooked beef (if any).  If you use ground beef with a lower fat ratio then you will have little to no liquid to drain.
  3. Stir in the chopped onions, carrots, celery, and minced garlic.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, red and white kidney beans (with the liquid).
  5. Season with the salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and thyme and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  6. When the soup has 10 minutes left to simmer, cook the ditalini pasta in boiling water for 7 minutes or until a bit firmer than al dente.  Do not over cook the pasta.
  7. Drain the pasta and stir it into the soup.  Simmer for 10 more minutes.

Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator or in the freezer.

Source: Iowa Girl Eats


This is comfort and simplicity at one of its finest moments.  Traditionally there is no meat in pasta fagioli, but it adds a lot of great flavor to the soup.  With a little work and adjusting the amounts of the ingredients I bet you can make this a vegetarian meal that is more like a classic pasta fagioli.  (Having not done that yet, I can’t tell you exactly how to tweak everything.)

01Pasta e Fagioli

I used frozen carrots because that’s what I had in the house in case you’re wondering why they have a funny frosty look to them and magical ridges that aren’t found in nature.

02Pasta e Fagioli

Cooking tip:  Chop an onion and store it in the freezer.  I don’t know about you, but I hate to chop onions.  To save time (and tears), I chop onions that I’ve just bought from the store and freeze them in a freezer friendly bag.  Once thawed, they taste just as fresh as the day I bought them.  Onions are a popular ingredient in soups and with soup season in full swing I’ll have them handy at a moment’s notice.

04Pasta e Fagioli

I used white and red kidney beans and ditalini pasta.  I love ditalini because the short little tubes are the perfect shape for a soup.  One of the reasons why I love this dish is that you can swap these main ingredients for the type of beans and pasta that you have handy and the soup will still turn out delicious.  Remember that we’re going for a no-fuss night!

The soup looks a little thin once all the ingredients are in the pot, but it will thicken up as it cooks.

03Pasta e Fagioli

This thick soup has so many textures going on, with the ground beef, veggies, beans, and pasta.  In fact, I didn’t add any garnish to the soup because it just doesn’t need it.

The seasoning is spot on.  Together with the canned tomatoes and beef stock, this soup is rich and full of fantastic flavors.

07Pasta e Fagioli

This recipe makes a big pot of soup.  If you have a large family then it’s the perfect size.  If you’re a family of two, like my me and my husband then you’ll have a lot of left overs.  You know how some meals don’t reheat to taste as good as the first time you made it?  This is NOT one them.  My husband grabbed it on the go for work lunches for almost a whole week and it reheated perfectly.     🙂

06Pasta e Fagioli

You know what else is great about this soup?  It’s a low budget wonder!

09Pasta e Fagioli

There are many lovely variations of pasta fagioli.  If you have a version, how does it differ from this one?



4 Hats


I love bread with my soup, like this Beer Bread.

07Beer Bread


Here are some other fantastic soup recipes.

Chicken Chili Soup

04Chicken Chili Soup


Vegetable Barley Soup



  1. Nancy says:

    I just made the soup. Followed the recipe but it is so thick! I haven’t even added the pasta yet. Is there more liquid, I might have missed? Thanks

  2. Nancy says:

    My mistake, I didn’t copy the recipe correct. Sorry about that. I need to add the broth. Thank you!

    1. Tina says:

      No worries! I’m glad you were able to fix it. 🙂

      1. Karen says:

        It turned out amazing, we have plenty of leftovers for a couple of days. I plan on freezing part of the soup in two smaller amounts for soup and sandwich nights. The worse part of this soup recipe is waiting for the carrots to be cooked, because the smell is awesome. Thanks again for such a great recipe.

  3. Amy Romagnuolo says:

    OMG this was the best. The whole family loved it. It is a keeper.

    1. Tina says:

      Wahoo! I’m so thrilled to hear that!! Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂

  4. Karen says:

    I’m making this today, its cold and foggy here in northern California sounds like the perfect soup for that kind of day. I don’t have the same veggies but plan on using cabbage, carrots, celery, tomatoes and Italian sausage. Can’t wait to have a steaming bowl with some crusty french bread. Thanks for sharing this great soup!

    1. Tina says:

      Awesome! I bet with those veggies it turned out great. I really appreciate you stopping by. 🙂

  5. Kim says:

    I have a recipe almost identical to this…. One of our favorites! I use HOT jimmy dean sausage in place of ground beef. The little extra heat does this recipe well.

    1. Tina says:

      Ooh, that sounds fabulous! Thanks for stopping by, Kim. 🙂

  6. Linda O'Leary says:

    I didn’t read the narrative with this recipe and decided that reading the recipe it did not sound like it would make enough for my family so I doubled it. that being said I now have a 6 qt crock pot full to the top without any noodles in it. lol…but I have already been in and sneaked 2 bowls of the soup again without noodles because it is so so so good!!!! Hopefully come supper time when I cook up the noodles and serve it to my family I am not too full to try it with the noodles. Great addition to my soup rotation is definitely something I will continue to make over and over.

    1. Tina says:

      There is always room for more of this soup! 😉 It’s good to know that it still tastes good carb free for anyone who wants to go that route. I always include the pasta because I love my carbs. 🙂

  7. Laura says:

    This recipe sounds awesome. I am so glad to see Linda doubled the recipe. I am making this for a meeting tomorrow night of about 16 women. I will definitely need to double. I will include this recipe to take home because I feel confident everyone will love it.

    1. Tina says:

      I love hearing that! 🙂

    2. Laura Sasser says:

      So I took this to the meeting and just as I thought, it was a huge hit. Everyone asked about the recipe. Thanks again.

      1. Tina says:

        Awesome! I love hearing that. 🙂

  8. Danielle says:

    I featured you today on Blissful and Domestic! Check it out! 🙂

    1. Tina says:

      Thank you, Danielle!! 🙂

  9. Cindy says:

    I’m eager to make this but I can’t bring myself to put the bean liquid in. Do you think it would be ok without??

    1. Tina says:

      Trust me… I had the same hesitation at first but it’s great. You could do without, but it will likely be very thick and not soup like. You might want to try to substitute with water instead of the bean liquid but I wouldn’t know how much to suggest because I always use the bean liquid.

      1. Cindy says:

        Thank you 🙂

        1. Tina says:

          Glad you stopped by! 🙂

  10. Lindsey says:

    I am making this right now and, like lots of your other readers, it smells and looks delicious. Can’t wait to have a taste and enjoy it for lunches all week. Keep the comfort food recipes coming — only way to get through a long Canadian winter!

    1. Tina says:

      You got it! 🙂 I can sympathize because it feels like it’s been a long cold and snowy winter here in Connecticut. I’m anxious for the warmer weather.

  11. Nina says:

    Just made this recipe it was awesome, my family loved it. Would definitely recommend it to all my friends and family.

    1. Tina says:

      Awesome! Thank you so much for stopping by and letting me know. 🙂

  12. joan says:

    Hi. Did u cover soup when it simmered

    1. Tina says:

      Joan, yes, I covered the pot with the lid partially on while it simmered. However, it is not required.

  13. Bella says:

    I followed the recipe, it it normal for it to be a really thick consistency? Or should I add more beef broth?

    1. Tina says:

      It is a thicker soup. Did it look like my photos?

  14. Kelli says:

    I have a pot going now!! All I have are black beans and it’s snowing so I’d really rather not make a store run. How do you think black beans would be in this soup? Thanks so Much!

    1. Tina says:

      I think black beans would be great! Let me know how you make out if you end up trying them.

  15. linda says:

    I made this tonight and it was awesome. All I had were black beans and they were just perfect. The only pasta I had was bowtie, and that worked great too. I did add a splash of the Merlot that we would drink later with the soup and after it cooked down it added a very rich flavor. Definitely will make this one again. Thanks

    1. Tina says:

      I love how you used what you had on hand and still turned an awesome soup!! I appreciate you stopping by. 🙂

  16. Paula says:

    Our new “MOST FAV” soup! We even used the recipe for our time on the Daniel Fast – minus the beef and broth (veggie broth instead.) If you like add-ins, I put a 1/2 bad of shredded cole slaw mix – we loved the cabbage in this soup!!!

    1. Tina says:

      I love the sound of your vegetarian version! Sounds so delicious. 🙂

  17. Darlene says:

    Made this tonight for dinner, added ,16 oz of beef broth, all liquid from beans, and it came out very thick, nothing like Olive Garden, so I added more broth and extra seasoning it was extremely thick like a chili. It looks more like the soup now and smells good. Can’t wait to try it. Wanted to make the Beer bread but I gave away all my loaf pans to my daughter 🙁 so I had nothing to make it in.

    1. Tina says:

      I’m glad you adjusted the soup to your liking! If you end up making the beer bread (after buying new loaf pans!) let me know how you make out. 🙂

  18. This looks awesome. Going to make a double batch this weekend and send some of it back with my daughter. Talked to her last night and she said she hadn’t grocery shopped in weeks. She was putting together a very sad dinner. She’s coming home for the weekend and I’ll send this back with her to stock her freezer! Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Tina says:

      I hope you love this as much as we do! 🙂

  19. Noreen says:

    I made this soup today and it is delicious! But, I think a lot of the liquid cooked off. 🙁 Can I add more beef broth to make it “soupy” again?

    1. Tina says:

      Absolutely, you can add more broth. My suggestion is to add how ever much you like, a little at a time, until it’s to your liking. 🙂

  20. Susan says:

    I made this for supper tonight – it was delicious!! Thank you for sharing the recipe!

    1. Tina says:

      Wahoo! So happy to hear that! Thank YOU so much for stopping by. 🙂

  21. Kacey says:

    I made this the other night and followed the recipe exactly, I found there wasn’t enough liquid and it turned out like more of a chili or stew. Otherwise it tastes great!

    1. Tina says:

      Kacey, thanks for letting me know. I’m glad you liked the way it tastes. 🙂

  22. Debbie says:

    Made this for dinner last night and LOVED it!! Even better at lunch today. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Tina says:

      Awesome! Thanks so much for stopping by and for letting me know. 🙂

  23. Mindi says:

    Can this all be placed in the crock pot, minus the pasta, on low for the day?

    1. Tina says:

      Mindi, I’ve never cooked this recipe in a crock pot so I’m not sure what temperature and time to suggest. Let me know if you end up trying it that way!

  24. Cynthia says:

    this is my 2nd time this winter and it smells as good as the first time. Just delicious!

    1. Tina says:

      I’m so happy to hear that! Thanks so much for stopping by and letting me know. 🙂

  25. Libby M says:

    I made this today with mild Italian sausage. This was so delicious. My husband also loved it. I will be making it again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *