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Pasta Fagioli Soup is a traditional Italian recipe that’s loaded with Italian sausage, pasta, beans, and tomatoes. The healthy, rustic and easy dinner is perfect for a busy evening — and it’s better than Olive Garden’s! Serve a warm bowl with a side of crusty bread, garlic breadsticks, or a classic Caesar salad.

Overhead image of a bowl of pasta fagioli soup with a side of bread.

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

This cozy, satisfying soup comes together in just over 30 minutes — making it a great option for crazy weeknights. Better yet, prepare a batch on the weekend and just reheat it whenever you need a bowl. The simple, hearty Italian meal will appeal to even the pickiest little eaters at your table!

What is Pasta Fagioli Soup?

Pasta Fagioli (also called “Pasta e Fagioli” or “Pasta Fasul”) is a traditional Italian soup that translates to “pasta and beans.” The two key ingredients in any pasta fagioli recipe are — you guessed it — pasta and beans!

The Pasta Fagioli Soup recipe from Olive Garden made this dish even more popular in the mainstream United States, and includes white and red beans, ground beef, fresh tomatoes, and tubetti pasta in a savory broth.

Side shot of a bowl of pasta fagioli soup with a side salad on a dinner table.

What’s the difference between Pasta Fagioli and Minestrone Soup?

These two Italian soups are actually very similar. According to this source, the main difference is in the vegetables. While minestrone features a wide variety of vegetables, pasta fagioli emphasizes the pasta and beans. The latter is often thicker and more stew-like than minestrone as well.

Does Pasta e Fagioli have meat?

Yes, it can, but the meat is not typically the featured ingredient. Many pasta e fagioli recipes use bacon or pancetta for flavoring the soup, or may contain Italian sausage or ground beef. You can also prepare a vegetarian version of the soup, omitting the meat altogether.

Browning turkey Italian sausage in a pot.

How do you pronounce Pasta Fagioli?

An important question if you plan to tell anyone what’s on the dinner menu! This recipe comes from the Italian Pasta e Fagioli (“pasta and beans”), and is pronounced “pah-sta eh fazh-e-ohl-eh.” Now you can truly enjoy an authentic meal!

Pouring chicken broth into a Dutch oven.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a pot of pasta e fagioli. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Olive oil: to cook the sausage and vegetables.
  • Italian sausage: I like Italian chicken sausage or turkey sausage to keep it lighter, but you can use any variety that you prefer. Spicy or mild — pick your favorite!
  • Onion, celery, carrot, and garlic: fresh vegetables that add so much flavor and texture to the soup.
  • Cannellini beans (white kidney beans): any beans will work here, so pick your favorites. Other good options include chickpeas, red beans, pinto beans, red kidney beans, or Great Northern beans.
  • Tomato paste and canned, petite-diced tomatoes: for great tomato flavor!
  • Chicken broth or vegetable broth: the base of the soup. Use a low-sodium broth if you’re sensitive to salt.
  • Parsley and rosemary: fresh herbs add bright flavor to the dish. Basil would also be a delicious addition!
  • Small pasta: I like ditalini pasta, but elbow macaroni will also work well.
Adding ditalini to a cast iron Dutch oven.

How to Make Pasta Fagioli Soup

This easy dinner recipe is full of flavor — and it’s ready in less than 45 minutes!

  1. Cook the sausage in olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage and set it aside on a plate. Leave the fat in the pot to use for cooking your veggies.
  2. Sauté the vegetables and garlic in the pot until tender.
  3. Add the beans, tomato paste, tomatoes, broth, and herbs; bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the pasta, and cook for about 10 minutes (or until the pasta is tender).
  5. Stir the sausage back into the pot, ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with grated Parmesan and fresh herbs.
Hands holding a bowl of pasta e fagioli on a table.

What to Serve with Pasta e Fagioli

Serve this hearty and healthy vegetable soup with any of these delicious sides:

Dipping bread in a bowl of pasta e fagioli soup.

Storage

If you’d like to prepare a batch of the soup in advance, I recommend making the soup through Step 3 (do not add the pasta). Cool the broth and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

When ready to serve, bring the soup to a simmer, add the pasta, and follow the rest of the recipe.

Leftover soup will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month; however, cooked pasta may be mushy when frozen and reheated.

How to Reheat

Warm leftovers in a covered saucepan over low heat on the stovetop, just until heated through. Do not overcook or the pasta will become mushy.

You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Overhead image of pasta e fagioli soup with a spoon in the bowl on a wooden table.

Recipe Variations

  • This is a very thick soup — almost like a stew. If you prefer more liquid in your bowl, you can add extra broth, to taste.
  • I use Italian turkey sausage, but any variety of Italian sausage will work. Try spicy or sweet!
  • We like ditalini pasta, but you can substitute with any similar short pasta (such as elbow macaroni).
  • To make this soup like the Olive Garden’s version, you can substitute 1 lb. of ground beef for the sausage.
  • To make the pasta fagioli vegetarian, omit the sausage and use an extra can of beans instead. Be sure to use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, too.
  • This soup is very mild. Make it spicy by adding crushed red pepper flakes and by using hot Italian sausage.
Square side shot of pasta e fagioli on a table with bread and salad.

Tips for the Best Pasta Fagioli Soup Recipe

  • Simmer the soup with a Parmesan rind for even more flavor in the pot. Remove the rind before serving.
  • Include extra fresh herbs, such as basil or oregano, for even more fresh Italian flavor.
  • Don’t overcook the noodles or they will become mushy in your soup. Add them to the pot just before you’re ready to serve.
  • The total cooking time for the pasta will depend on the size and shape that you choose. Ditalini typically needs about 10-15 minutes in the simmering broth, but keep an eye on it and turn off the heat when the pasta is just barely tender. It will continue to soften and plump up as it sits in the hot soup.
  • Taste and season as you go. The total amount of salt necessary will vary depending on the saltiness of your broth, and on personal preference. Add extra salt for more flavor, and feel free to increase the other herbs and seasonings as well.
  • Garnish each bowl with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese for the best flavor. Extra fresh parsley or other herbs are also a delicious finishing touch.
  • Is pasta fagioli soup healthy? Yes! This dish combines filling vegetables and protein in one bowl. Each cup of the soup has about 245 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 16 grams of protein.
Overhead shot of hands eating a bowl of pasta fagioli with a spoon.

More Soup Recipes to Try

Overhead image of a bowl of pasta fagioli soup with a side of bread.

Pasta Fagioli Soup

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings 8 cups
Calories 244.7 kcal
Pasta Fagioli Soup is a traditional Italian recipe that's loaded with Italian sausage, pasta, beans, and tomatoes!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground Italian sausage (I use Italian turkey sausage, but any variety will work)
  • 1 small onion, diced (about ½ cup)
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or ½ teaspoon dried parsley flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (or ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary)
  • 1 ½ cups dry ditalini pasta (about 7 ounces)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • For garnish: freshly grated Parmesan cheese; additional chopped parsley or rosemary

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the sausage. Cook until no longer pink, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat (about 5-7 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage and place it on a plate (leave the fat in the pot).
  • Add the onion, celery, and carrot to the remaining fat in the pot. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until tender (about 7-8 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  • Season with salt and pepper; add beans, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, broth, parsley and rosemary.
  • Bring to a boil, then stir in the pasta. Reduce heat to medium; continue cooking for about 10-11 more minutes (or until the pasta is tender). Stir the pasta regularly as it’s cooking so that it doesn’t stick to the pot.
  • Stir in the cooked sausage, and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Ladle into bowls and garnish with additional herbs and freshly grated Parmesan.

Notes

  • Simmer the soup with a Parmesan rind for even more flavor in the pot. Remove the rind before serving.
  • Include extra fresh herbs, such as basil or oregano, for even more fresh Italian flavor.
  • Don’t overcook the noodles or they will become mushy in your soup. Add them to the pot just before you’re ready to serve.
  • The total cooking time for the pasta will depend on the size and shape that you choose. Ditalini typically needs about 10-15 minutes in the simmering broth, but keep an eye on it and turn off the heat when the pasta is just barely tender. It will continue to soften and plump up as it sits in the hot soup.
  • Taste and season as you go. The total amount of salt necessary will vary depending on the saltiness of your broth, and on personal preference. Add extra salt for more flavor, and feel free to increase the other herbs and seasonings as well.
  • Garnish each bowl with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese for the best flavor. Extra fresh parsley or other herbs are also a delicious finishing touch.
  • Is pasta fagioli soup healthy? Yes! This dish combines filling vegetables and protein in one bowl. Each cup of the soup has about 245 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 16 grams of protein.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 244.7kcalCarbohydrates: 31.5gProtein: 15.8gFat: 7.2gSaturated Fat: 1.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1.3gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 809.4mgPotassium: 194.9mgFiber: 4.9gSugar: 3.4g
Keyword: pasta e fagioli, pasta fagioli soup, pasta fazool
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in December, 2019. The photos were updated in January, 2022.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

    1. Hi, Holly! I haven’t tested it in the Crock Pot, so I can’t give you any specific timing. If you want to cook it in the slow cooker, I would brown the sausage and cook the veggies in a skillet first (exactly as explained in Steps 1 and 2), and then transfer everything to the slow cooker. Cook on low for maybe 4-6 hours, and then put the slow cooker on high. Add the pasta to the Crock Pot on high for just long enough for the pasta to become tender (this might take anywhere from 10-30 minutes)? Let me know if you give it a try!

  1. 5 stars
    Made this last weekend – easy, healthy and delicious! We’ll make this again soon. Thank you for the recipe Blair!

      1. 5 stars
        This was absolutely delicious. I had to make a couple of changes, and I.cooked the pasta separately so.we could put the soup over it as we served ourselves (just a personal preference), but the flavors are wonderful. Will make again.

  2. Hi I just had to add a comment, to clarify…my grandmother was a northern Italian immigrant who lived to 105 years old; the last few years of her life she lived with me. While she lived with me, she taught me to cook all the wonderful recipes, which I ate while growing up. Each one had a special event she would prepare it. Her Pasta Fazoul and Minestrone were my very favorites, and totally authentic.the story. behind Pasta Fazoul is it was a no meat meal for Catholics on no meat Fridays. It was very soupy and only took 30 min to cook. I loaf of crusty fresh bread completed the meal. Minestrone was her “7 bean soup” which was delicious and took half the day to make. It was typically eaten on Easter and the broth was not tomato based. It was flavored with cubed pork and veal, sautéed and then simmered with the broth created with lots of different beans and fresh herbs and water. Both of these soups were amazing, and my biggest compliment when I first prepared them for my father was him saying it tasted just like his mother’s! So those were the traditional ingredients for these 2 delicious soups in my world, and I’ve carried the tradition forward 2 more generations, when I taught them. To my own granddaughter…