Easy Pasta Fagioli Recipe

Italians claim that eating pasta fagioli soup will “smooth the edges of your day.” I don’t know about you, but my days lately could certainly use some smoother edges.

While this dish is certainly enjoyable in hotter months if served cooled, this tummy-warming soup is perfect for autumn and winter. The cooler months turn this Italian dish into absolute comfort food.

A side view of a white crock filled with Pasta Fagioli.

What Is Pasta Fagioli?

Pasta Fagioli, also known as Pasta e Fagioli, is a traditional Italian dish. The name translates to “pasta and beans.” It’s a hearty, brothy soup made with pasta, beans, vegetables, and herbs.

This is meant to be a thick and hearty soup. There is even some old Italian folklore that states that if your spoon stands up in the soup, you’ll have good luck.

History Of Pasta Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli started out as a peasant dish in Italy, in the regions of Campania and Lazio. It was a popular dish with farmers and laborers thanks to its simplicity, affordability, and nutrition. The primary ingredients were easily accessible and provided sustenance and energy.

Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli

According to Google, there are 8,100 searches for “pasta fagioli olive garden” every month. While I’ve never had pasta fagioli at the Olive Garden, I can tell you that homemade always tastes best. There are few things more comforting and delicious than a bowl of homemade soup. Plus, this is easy to make. So I strongly encourage you to give it a try yourself first before you head to the Olive Garden. You’ll get more soup for your money that way, and definitely more nutritional benefits!

A white crock filled with Pasta Fagioli.

What Is The Difference Between Pasta Fagioli And Pasta Fazool?

While there may be some regional differences in the approach to making this classic Italian dish, “Pasta Fagioli” and “Pasta Fazool” are basically two different names for the same dish. “Pasta Fagioli” is a standard Italian term, while “Pasta Fazool” is an Americanized version, which comes from a Southern Italian dialect.

What Is The Difference Between Fagioli and Minestrone?

Fagioli has a heavy focus on beans and is meant to be a heavier dish.

Minestrone’s focus is on the vegetables and is meant to be a lighter dish.

Does Pasta Fagioli Contain Meat?

Pasta e Fagioli translates to “pasta and beans.” While classic Fagioli does not have meat in it, more modern adaptations do include various types of meats.

What Is The Difference Between Pasta E Fagioli And Pasta Fagioli?

The only difference between the two is dialect. They are, in fact, the same dish.

An overhead view of a white crock filled with Pasta Fagioli.

What To Eat With Pasta Fagioli

Pasta Fagioli is a hearty dish on its own. It’s great for thermos lunches for exactly that reason. But if you want to add more to your meal, here are a few suggestions for what to serve with this hearty bowl of soup.

  1. Bread or garlic bread
  2. Salad
  3. Bruschetta
  4. Grilled Vegetables as a side dish
  5. Italian Sausage
  6. Caprese Salad

Pasta Fagioli Recipe Variations

There are many variations you can make to Pasta e Fagioli. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Broth – Pasta Fagioli can either be made with a tomato base or broth base. The tomato-based version typically includes diced tomatoes or tomato paste, while the broth-based version uses vegetable or meat broth. You can try either.
  2. Beans -Traditionally, cannellini beans are used. But other beans like Borlotti beans or kidney beans can also be used, and it’s a great way to add variety to the dish.
  3. Pasta -Switch up the pasta you use by changing the pasta shape. Try ditalini, elbow macaroni, or small shells. You can use any pasta shape you like best.
  4. Other Ingredients – Some variations may include additional ingredients such as pancetta, bacon, sausage, or vegetables.
A side view of a white crock filled with Pasta Fagioli.

About The Ingredients For Pasta Fagioli Soup

Extra virgin olive oil – You can use any oil you are comfortable using, but olive oil fits this recipe perfectly.

Red onion – If you don’t have red onion, you can use yellow onion in a pinch.

Carrots – You can use large carrots or baby carrots. Whatever you have. You can also use carrots of different colors.

Celery

Garlic

Canned diced tomatoes – No sugar added.

Vegetable broth – No sugar added)

Great northern beans – Though traditionally, cannellini beans are best. Drain and rinse whatever beans you use.

Whole-grain pasta – I actually used gluten-free pasta for mine. Use whatever pasta you feel good eating.

Frozen spinach – You can use frozen kale, too. Fresh greens will work, but double up and use 4 cups.

Dried oregano

Dried basil

Salt and pepper – Add to taste.

Fresh parsley – For garnish. Italian (flatleaf) parsley works best, but curly parsley will work too.

How To Make Pasta Fagioli

Ingredients for Pasta Fagioli gathered on a work surface.

Gather and prep all your ingredients.

Oil in a large soup pot.
Raw, chopped, carrots, onions, and celery cooking in oil in a large soup pot.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and sauté until they start to soften, about 5 minutes.

Raw garlic added to sautéd veggies in a soup pot.

Add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute until fragrant.

Broth and diced tomatoes added to veggies in a soup pot.
Spices added to the broth and veggies in a soup pot.

Stir in the diced tomatoes (with their juices), vegetable broth and spices. Bring the mixture to a simmer.

Raw pasta added to broth and veggies in a soup pot.

Add the pasta to the pot. Stir well and continue to simmer for about 6-8 minutes or until the pasta is cooked al dente. Stir frequently to avoid anything burning on the bottom of the pot.

Beans and frozen spinach added to a soup pot of Pasta Fagioli.

Stir in the spinach or kale and canned beans, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until warmed through

An overhead view of a white crock filled with Pasta Fagioli.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the Pasta e Fagioli hot, garnished with fresh parsley and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Instant Pot Pasta Fagioli

  1. Set the Instant Pot to “Saute” mode. Add olive oil and sauté onions, carrots, and celery until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute.
  2. Stir in diced tomatoes (with their juices), broth, spices, salt, and pepper.
  3. Close the Instant Pot lid and set the valve to the sealing position. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
  4. Once the cooking time is complete, allow for a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then carefully quick-release any remaining pressure.
  5. Open the lid and stir in the beans and pasta. Set the Instant Pot to “Saute” mode again and cook the pasta until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 6-8 minutes.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve hot, garnished with chopped parsley and grated Parmesan cheese.

Crockpot Pasta Fagioli

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions, carrots, and celery until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute.
  2. Transfer the sautéed vegetables to the slow cooker. Add diced tomatoes (with their juices), broth, spices, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  3. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 3-4 hours.
  4. About 30 minutes before serving, stir in the pasta and beans. Cover and continue cooking until the pasta is al dente.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve hot, garnished with chopped parsley and grated Parmesan cheese.
A side view of a white crock filled with Pasta Fagioli.

Storage

Store leftover pasta fagioli in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.

Can You Freeze Pasta Fagioli?

While cooked pasta isn’t necessarily the best at freezing, you can actually get away with it here. But you have to follow a few directions to do it correctly.

  1. Allow your Pasta e Fagioli to cool completely before freezing.
  2. Portion the cooled Pasta e Fagioli into individual serving sizes for easier use. You can use airtight containers or freezer-safe bags.
  3. If using freezer bags, remove as much air as possible before sealing to prevent freezer burn.
  4. If using containers, leave some space at the top to allow for expansion as the soup freezes.
  5. Label each container or bag with the date of freezing to keep track of freshness.
  6. Place the containers or bags flat in the freezer to allow them to freeze evenly and save space.
  7. Pasta e Fagioli can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months for the best quality. While it may still be safe to eat beyond this time, the texture and flavor can deteriorate over time.
  8. When you’re ready to eat, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator or reheat it directly from frozen on the stovetop or in the microwave, stirring occasionally until heated through. Keep in mind that the pasta will be slightly softer than it was before freezing.

Reheating

Reheating in a microwave seems to provide the best results. But you can certainly reheat on a stovetop as well.

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A side view of a white crock filled with Pasta Fagioli.

Easy Pasta Fagioli Recipe

Delicious Italian soup the whole family will love.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 9 servings
Calories: 190kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Large soup pot

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • cups diced red onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots (2 carrots)
  • 1 cup diced celery (2 stalks)
  • 3 large garlic cloves (pressed)
  • 14 oz. canned, diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 15 oz. canned cannallini beans (drained and rinsed)
  • ½ lb. pasta (shells or elbows)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach (or 1 cup frozen)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Fresh, chopped parsley (for garnish)

Instructions

  • Gather and prep all your ingredients.
    Ingredients for Pasta Fagioli gathered on a work surface.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and sauté until they start to soften, about 5 minutes.
    Raw, chopped, carrots, onions, and celery cooking in oil in a large soup pot.
  • Add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute until fragrant.
    Raw garlic added to sautéd veggies in a soup pot.
  • Stir in the diced tomatoes (with their juices), vegetable broth and spices. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
    Spices added to the broth and veggies in a soup pot.
  • Add the pasta to the pot. Stir well and continue to simmer for about 6-8 minutes or until the pasta is cooked al dente. Stir frequently to avoid anything burning on the bottom of the pot.
    Raw pasta added to broth and veggies in a soup pot.
  • Stir in the spinach or kale and canned beans, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until warmed through
    Beans and frozen spinach added to a soup pot of Pasta Fagioli.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the Pasta e Fagioli hot, garnished with fresh parsley and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
    An overhead view of a white crock filled with Pasta Fagioli.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 190kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 609mg | Potassium: 300mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3331IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 2mg

Author: Tiffany McCauley

Title: Food and Travel Journalist

Expertise: Food, cooking, travel

Bio:

Tiffany McCauley is a nationally syndicated journalist and an award-winning cookbook author and food blogger. She has been featured on MSN, Huffington Post, Country Living Magazine, HealthLine, Redbook, and many more. Her food specialty is healthy comfort food recipes.

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