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. Kaye says:

    Can I ask as this looks delish. No-one in our home likes kidney beans at all. Would we need to substitute the with something else or would we be ok to leave them out? Would we need to add any extra liquid?


    1. Pam says:

      I was thinking the same thing – I hate kidney beans! I guess when I make it, I am going to try just adding another can of the white beans.

      1. Tina says:

        Hi Pam! I think white beans are a great substitute! If you try this, let me know how you make out. I appreciate you stopping by. 🙂

        1. Marjorie Tittle says:

          I love this soup! I asked an employee of Olive Garden what makes this soup so special? She said that they put Tabasco in it. It does give it a little kick-just 2 or 3 drops! Also, you can use a jar of spaghetti or marinara sauce for a good base. So delicious, thank you for sharing!

          1. Tina says:

            Oh that’s interesting. I appreciate you stopping by! 🙂

    2. Tina says:

      Kaye, you could definitely substitute for a bean that you do like, like chickpeas or white beans. If you leave out the beans altogether and you want it “soupy” then you will likely need to add a little bit of stock (chicken or vegetable). Otherwise without the bean liquid or stock, it will be more of a stew…and I’m sure still tasty. 🙂

    3. Kendra says:

      My family including the picky eater all loved this recipe. It was easy to make too. We added grilled cheese sandwiches to make it a hardy complete family meal.

      1. Tina says:

        Wahoo! So glad to hear that you loved this soup!! 🙂

    4. Julie says:

      I added a small dash of Cayenne pepper to give it a little bite. In addition to a cup of frozen corn, just to add more color. It turned out delicious! We also had grilled cheese sandwiches with our fagioli soup on this rainy, cold day. Thank you for sharing this easy, go to recipe.

      1. Tina says:

        Sounds great, Julie! I’m so glad that you stopped by! 🙂

  2. Heather says:

    I was looking for something different to make for Sunday night dinner and I came across this on Pinterest. It’s really delicious! I made a few substitutions – I used 1 lb. ground bison and 15 oz. of chicken stock instead of broth because I had a carton open in my fridge. I sweated the veggies first in a Tbsp of olive oil, added the garlic, sauteed for 1 minute and then added the meat. I used Great Northern beans rather than cannellini and dark red kidney beans. For those that don’t like kidney beans, small red or pink beans (in the Goya section) would be a good substitution.

    My BF loved it and so did I! Really hearty and healthy. This makes a lot of food! I’ll be freezing the leftovers for one of those nights when we’re home late from work and need something fast. This is definitely a keeper!!

    1. Tina says:

      Your version sounds amazing! I’m so happy that you and your bf loved it. 🙂

  3. kathy says:

    This soup was sooo good. I browned the beef and put into crock pot with everything else on your recipe, made ditalini pasta separate to add later. OMG thanks! Just like Olive Garden….Genius!

  4. Susan says:

    This recipe is delicious!!! I used red kidney beans and black beans.
    I only had 1 can of tomato sauce so I used a can of diced tomatoes.
    I also used turkey chop meat and I left out the beef broth

    1. Tina says:

      This soup is awesome like that! I’m glad you like the recipe with your changes. 🙂

  5. Tona says:

    Making this right now smells amazing!!!! Take good to and it just started cooking.

    1. Tina says:

      Awesomeness!! 🙂

  6. Lyndsay says:

    Has anyone used a different type of pasta? I don’t have this kind on hand. Was hoping to make it tonight for dinner!

    1. Tina says:

      Hi Lyndsay! Any similar sized pasta will work. 🙂

    2. Donna says:

      I had to use rotini. Not the same at all, but the soup was still delicious down to the last drop!

      1. Tina says:

        I’m glad you still enjoyed it. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Jenny says:

    I used 1lb ground turkey and 1/2lb sweet Italian sausage. It is amazing.

    1. Tina says:

      Mmm, that sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing, Jenny! I appreciate you stopping by. 🙂

  8. Jessica says:

    Made this last night as-is for my under-the-weather boyfriend. Used small reds and white navy beans, small shell pasta, and omitted the thyme since it’s not something I use often. Delicious! Although I’ll probably follow the advice of sweating the veggies before, as mine were still a bit crunchy. It was super thick, as well. So we’ll definitely add more stock next time. Loved it either way. Thanks!

    1. Tina says:

      Jessica, I’m glad you still liked it, with your changes. I appreciate you stopping by!

  9. Kathy says:

    Jessica, Tina deserves all the credit, she has some great recipes. Hope it made boyfriend feel better.

    1. Tina says:


  10. Vera says:

    I grew up in Italy. The soup is done as the name pasta con fagioli. It consists of a good marinara sauce, cannellini beans and ditalini. Never any meat

    1. Tina says:

      My Italian grandma never made it with meat either. Thanks for stopping by!

      1. Donna says:

        My mom flavored the broth with a smoked ham hock and she started off with dry navy beans. She always used what she had on hand.

        1. Tina says:

          This recipe is definitely versatile! 🙂

  11. this recipe reminds me of a dish I had when I was a little girl. We called it goulash, and then when I started cooking it, we called it ‘Yankee Doddle Stew’ because my parents were from Independence Iowa. It’s cooking on the stove right now. I used Turkey meat instead of the hamburger and didn’t have the white kidneys, so I used navy. You really can’t go wrong with this dish. I wouldn’t advise adding anything weird like sardines or something like it.

  12. Cindy says:

    I made this last night and let me just say…it was delicious!!! My husband who is not a soup fan LOVED it and had two bowls. Thank you so much for share. I didn’t add the red kidney beans but followed the recipe and it was amazing!

    1. Tina says:

      I love hearing that! Thanks so much, Cindy. 🙂

      1. Dolly says:

        If slow cooking 4 how long

        1. Tina says:

          I have not tried this recipe in a slow cooker.

  13. Rich in New Jersey says:

    I have made this pasta fagoili soup twice in the last month. It has come out perfectly delicious both times. You couldn’t find a better pasta fagoili in an Italian restaurant as good as this.
    Sprinkle some grated parmesan on top and you’re in italian soup heaven.
    Great Recipe!!!

    1. Tina says:

      Thank you so much! I’m so glad to hear how much you love this recipe. 🙂

  14. Mary says:

    I’ve made this soup many times…it’s one of my family’s favorites. It’s a hearty comfort soup.

    1. Tina says:

      Mary, you’ve made my day! Thank you so much for letting me. 🙂 I hope you and your family have a lovely holiday season!

    2. Tina says:

      I’m so happy to hear it! 🙂

  15. Regin Hilgart says:

    I followed your recipe exactly as its written. However, I had to use mini bow ties due to my small town grocery not having the ditalini. It still turned out amazing! Best thing; it only cost me $13.00 to make and there is so much of it I have enough for another night. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe.

    1. Tina says:

      Thank you so much for letting me know! I’m glad you love it and I’m also glad you shared how budget friendly it is too. 🙂

  16. Donna says:

    My husband doesn’t like chunks of tomatoes so I have to blend them to a purée. I know, just isn’t the same. The soup was soupier, but I love soup so I didn’t care, and he said this was the best soup I had ever made! Wow! A keeper recipe! Thanks!

    1. Tina says:

      I can relate to your husband because I don’t like big chunks of tomatoes either. I find the “petite diced” canned tomatoes to work great for my liking. But to each their own. 😉 I’m still glad that he loves the soup the way you make it and that’s all that matters. 🙂

  17. Sd says:

    Carrots and celery were a bit hard any advice to make them softer? I’ll make this again!! Thanks

    1. Tina says:

      Hmm, maybe try to cut the veggies into small pieces. Let me know if that works.

  18. Maria says:

    Very good, I would like a little more broth, any suggestions?

    1. Tina says:

      I think you can add additional beef broth, than what the recipe calls for, to whatever is your liking.

    2. Joyce says:

      You could add red wine; I can’t drink alcohol in any form, but I can cook with it, and I’ve found that it adds a wonderful richness to soups and tomato-based pasta sauces. Just add however much you think would thin the soup a bit more, but probably no more than a cup and a half. Let it cook for the hour or so that the recipe calls for, and it’ll be delicious! At least, it comes out that way for me 🙂

  19. Debbie says:

    Ditalini absorbs a lot of the broth. Next time I will add fully cooked pasta to individual bowls, when serving. Excellent flavor.

    1. Tina says:

      Sounds good! Appreciate you stopping by. 🙂

  20. Kathy D says:

    Made this today. It was very good! I will definitely make this recipe again.
    Topped it with a little freshly grated Parmesan. Yummy!

    1. Tina says:

      I’m so glad to hear that! Thank you for stopping by and letting me know. 🙂

  21. Danette Lavelle says:

    Wonderful! Added a poblano with the veggies and finished with a little pecorino on top. Thanks for an easy, delicious recipe.

    1. Tina says:

      Awesome! I’m so glad you love it. 🙂

  22. Melissa says:

    Just made this amazing recipe for the first time and it’s delicious!! Super easy to made and we definitely have leftovers for a couple days. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

    1. Tina says:

      I’m so glad to hear it! Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂

  23. Sandra J Roberts says:

    Absolutely delicious. Since it makes more than my hubby and I can eat, I used elbow macaroni, put it separate into bowls, and spooned the soup over. That way I can save the soup without pasta because I was afraid the pasta would get soggy. Thank you so much for this recipe! Even my picky husband liked it.

    1. Tina says:

      Great tip, Sandra! Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂

  24. Kristine says:

    Just wondering if this soup can be frozen for later? I’ll have a lot of leftovers.

    1. Tina says:

      Absolutely you can freeze leftovers. I’ve done it many times & I think it reheats well. However I will also say that a few readers have told me that it’s better to freeze it without the pasta. It’s about preference of course.

  25. Pam Bruce says:

    Can this be made in a crockpot?

    1. Tina says:

      I don’t see why not, however, I have never tried this recipe in a crockpot so unfortunately I cannot suggest timing and temperature. If you try it in the crockpot, let me know how you make out!

  26. Janet says:

    This is my second time of making this soup we love it. I️ used chili beans and navy beans in it this time. Yummy with a slice or two of chewy artisan garlic bread warmed up, gonna eat good tonight❄️?

    1. Tina says:

      Janet, I’m so glad you love this soup! 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!

  27. Angie says:

    I’m trying this today. As is. I am always a bit amused by people who say they love a recipe and then describe how they changed by adding this and that, or omitting something, the very first time they make it. It’s no longer the recipe! ?

    1. Tina says:

      I hope you enjoy it, Angie!

    2. Mike says:

      Any suggestions on how to do this in a instant pot?

      1. Tina says:

        I have not tried this recipe in an instant pot.

  28. Joyce says:

    I made it with French onion soup because I dislike the taste of plain beef broth, and I REALLY like cooked onions in my soups, so wanted to amp up that flavor. Other than that, followed the recipe as written, and it’s fabulous! Since there’s only me to eat it this time, I did leave the pasta out so I could freeze it–pasta will be added individually each time–but when I make it for my minister and his large family (seven children, with number eight due in just a few days), I’ll include the pasta (as well as red wine–just a cup–in place of one can of soup) because there won’t be any leftovers, even though I’ll triple the recipe 😀

    1. Tina says:

      Joyce, your version sounds delicious!

  29. Shannkn says:

    This was wonderful! I added corn and more pasta. We will definitely make again!

    1. Tina says:

      Oh the corn sounds like a delightful addition! Thank you so much for stopping by!

  30. Melania says:

    I am the cook in the family and just had knee surgery a day ago. When I came across this recipe on pinterest I also book marked it on my computer thinking this would be a easy recipe for my husband to make. I chopped the veggies for him and gave moral support as he went through the process. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t just to pick up something or make (boxed/processed) mac n cheese. (My stomach is still saying no just typing it.) It turned out delicious even with the minor changes we made. Hopefully this will boost his confidence so he will want to help in the kitchen even after I recuperate. Thank you for the recipe and the easy layout. Cheers!

    1. Tina says:

      I’m so happy that your husband had success making this soup! I appreciate you taking the time to share with others that this recipe is very easy. I think the more your husband cooks, the more confident he will be. I used to be the same way with baking pies. I thought that was something only the baking experts made because it looked so difficult. One day my husband encouraged me to make a pie. It wasn’t the best, but it was edible. And now I make them a few times a year. 🙂
      I hope you feel better soon!

  31. Karla says:

    I made this soup yesterday. While the flavor was there, it wasn’t a soup – it was way too thick and got even thicker when I added the pasta. Should have added more beef broth or no pasta at all. Probably will not make it again.

  32. Rachel says:

    Nope. It’s just beans some canned tomatoes and be oh I said beans and beans tomatoes and what was your thing oh yeah pasta and broth. Seasonings. Simple and delicious.

  33. Diane Coates says:

    I made this soup a couple of weeks ago and followed the recipe as written. Oh, sorry, I had to omit the garlic because I am allergic. I found the soup a perfect consistency and wonderfully delicious. My husband wants me to make it again when we go on vacation to Ontario next week. (Instead of chili!). Our daughter loved it also and wants the recipe!!

  34. becky partain says:

    Tried your soup. It’s still cooking but it has really smelled this house up. Can’t wait to eat it.

    1. Tina says:

      Yay! I hope you love it as much as I do!

  35. Tracy says:

    I made this today and it is wonderful! Perfect for a cold day. My entire family loved it! Thank you for a great, easy recipe

    1. Tina says:

      I am so happy to hear you love this!

  36. Cindy Hodge says:

    Omgoodness! This has been my very favorite soup for years!!! I cannot count how many times I’ve eaten it, studied it, thought how simple it looked. Never to get it right. Until TODAY!!! It turned out magnificent! As I come to the evening of my day 1 home quarantine, this was just what I needed! Thank you so much for sharing! It has given me such joy under a cloud of feeling terrible!
    Respectfully, Cindy.

  37. Wendy says:

    is it better with beef broth or chicken broth?…why only 8 oz of pasta if it makes a lot?

  38. Bonnie says:

    Hi, this soup sounds great and I can’t wait to make it. I make a lot of soups and freeze them. It’s just so much easier to take one out and simmer it on the stove for my dinner. I always leave the pasta out and add it in when I heat up to eat it because the pasta tends to soak up all the broth if I store it with the pasta in it. I see you don’t recommend this. Do you find that this soup is okay to make and freeze or keep in the fridge with the pasta in it?

    1. Tina says:

      Hi Bonnie. I have froze the soup both ways and both works. Some people prefer to keep the pasta separate because the texture changes in the freezer, however, I don’t find that an issue. I think it comes down to personal preference.

      1. Bonnie says:

        Thank you so much. I will try an experiment and freeze both ways. Some with pasta and some without.

  39. Wendy says:

    I need more soup…when I make your recipe it’s delish just want more soup very chunky..what can I do?

    1. Tina says:

      Hi Wendy, you could add more liquid to get the consistency you prefer.

  40. Cathy says:

    What would you suggest if I wanted to cook this in the crockpot?

  41. Betty says:

    I made this yesterday, and my husband and I loved it! I didn’t have white kidney beans so substituted with a can of corn. Thank you for a great recipe!

    1. Tina says:

      Betty, I’m so glad you love this soup! I love that this soup is versatile and you can swap certain ingredients to still get a tasty dish. 🙂

  42. Gaye says:

    We have snow and sleet and ice on the way here in Western Kentucky … home bound with a pot of this soup simmering in the background as I type. My house smells lovely, I have books downloaded and flashlights and candles at the ready if needed. My favorite Chianti is airing and ciabatta ready for a bake. Thanks for the recipe, you have helped me make a cozy time of it.

  43. CAROL WAIGHT says:

    I’m making it right now. I was thinking of putting it in the crockpot on high for one hour but over the stove is just as good. I added a little chile paste to give it a kick. Delicious!

    1. Tina says:

      I love that you added a little heat to the soup. Thanks for stopping by!

  44. Darcie says:

    Hi there! I made the soup today exactly as directed. Upon tasting I decided to add about a teaspoon of Italian seasoning and another half teaspoon of salt. I also added a cup of the pasta water to thin it down just a smidge. Just my personal preference is with these additions. The soup is fantastic and makes a lot! Thanks so much for this easy recipe! It’s described perfectly upon how to make it and I sure appreciate that! Great job I will be making this again! Thank you!

    1. Tina says:

      Wonderful! Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂

  45. john w ruddick says:

    i like using store bought vegetable soup mix it has just added to the Mirepoix is turnips,parsnips, and leeks could i use this mixture

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