Create THE BEST Pasta Fagioli Soup with this flavorful Olive Garden copycat recipe! Pasta e Fagioli is a traditional Italian dish, which translates to pasta and beans. It’s easy to make on the stove, in a Crock Pot or Instant Pot, and guaranteed to become a new family favorite!

pasta fagioli soup in bowl with spoon

When I was a kid, I used to love going to Olive Garden. I would always order their endless soup, salad and breadstick combo. Because what kid (or adult) doesn’t love endless food?!

For the soup, I would always order their pasta fagioli soup. It was my absolute favorite!

As an adult, I started making the soup at home and since 2014, this recipe has been a staple on the blog. Over the last 8 years, I’ve made the soup on the stove, in an Instant Pot and in a Crock Pot. I’ve also made it gluten free, simply by swapping out the noodles for gluten free pasta.

Every which way I’ve made it, I’ve loved it every time. This soup is so simple to make, yet incredibly flavorful.

If you want a “set it and forget it” meal, then throw the soup in a Crock Pot. If you’re looking for something quick for dinner, toss the soup in the Instant Pot. And if you’re looking for something right in the middle, simply make this soup on the stovetop.

The results are scrumptious, no matter the method you choose, so whether you’re looking for something fast or slow, you now have options. This soup also reheats incredibly well, so don’t be afraid to make a double batch and eat it throughout the week!

ingredients for pasta fagioli soup

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Vegetables – for this soup, you’ll want a combination of diced onions, carrots and celery.
  • Ground beef – loose Italian sausage can also be used in place of the ground beef, if you prefer pork over beef. Or to make the recipe vegetarian, you can substitute in meatless crumbles, like Beyond Meat or Impossible Meat.
  • Herbs and spices – to flavor the soup, you’ll use a combination of salt, black pepper, dried oregano, dried basil and dried rosemary.
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Red kidney beans – for this recipe, I used canned beans to make it quick and easy.
  • Great northern beans – if you can’t find these beans, cannellini beans or white kidney beans can be used instead.
  • Tomato sauce
  • Beef broth
  • White vinegar
  • Ditalini pasta – this is a small tubular pasta that looks like beads. It’s often called “soup pasta”, because it is mainly used to make Italian soup recipes. If you can’t find ditalini pasta, feel free to use elbow or macaroni noodles, or another small pasta in it’s place. If you’re making the recipe gluten free, substitute in gluten free macaroni or penne pasta.
collage of images showing how to make pasta fagioli

Step by step instructions

  1. Saute the veggies. Heat a large pot, or dutch oven, on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and cook the diced onions, celery and carrots in the oil for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the ground beef to the pot and cook until the beef is browned, about 5-6 minutes, then drain any grease from the pot.
  3. Season the meat. Add the salt, oregano, basil, black pepper and rosemary to the pot and stir to combine the herbs and spices with the ground beef and veggies.
  4. Add the tomatoes and beans. Drain and rinse the great northern beans and red kidney beans, then add them to the pot, along with the tomato sauce and entire can of diced tomatoes. Do NOT drain the can of diced tomatoes before adding it to the pot.
  5. Add the beef broth and white vinegar to the pot and stir to combine all of the ingredients. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the pasta to the pot.
  7. Stir to combine all of the ingredients, making sure that all of the pasta is covered in liquid. Place a lid on the pot and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 25 minutes, or until all of the noodles are tender.
  8. Remove the lid and serve the soup topped with fresh grated parmesan cheese and fresh chopped basil or parsley. For a little spice, feel free to add crushed red pepper flakes.
pasta fagioli soup in pot with serving spoon

How to make it in a Crock Pot

  1. Follow steps 1 and 2 above, cooking the veggies and ground beef in a skillet on the stove, then draining any grease from the skillet.
  2. Transfer the cooked beef and veggies to a Crock Pot.
  3. Add the seasonings, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and beans, along with the beef broth and vinegar.
  4. Cook the soup in the Crock Pot for 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.
  5. Thirty minutes before serving the soup, add the pasta to the slow cooker, stirring to combine all of the ingredients and making sure the pasta is covered in liquid. Turn the Crock Pot up to high and let the pasta cook in the soup for 30 minutes.

How to make it in an Instant Pot

  1. Press the “saute” button on the Instant Pot, use the adjust button to set it on the “normal” setting.
  2. Add olive oil to the Instant Pot, when the display says “hot”, add the carrots, onions and celery, saute 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the ground beef to the Instant Pot and cook until it’s browned, about 5-6 minutes. Press the “stop/cancel” button to turn the Instant Pot off, then drain any grease from the pot.
  4. Add the seasonings to the Instant Pot, with the ground beef, along with the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, beef broth and white vineger.
  5. Add the pasta and stir to combine all of the ingredients, making sure the pasta is covered in liquid.
  6. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the steam release is set to “sealing”.
  7. Press the “manual” button and use the +/- buttons to set the Instant Pot to 3 minutes.
  8. The instant pot will display “on” as it comes up to temperature and then will count down from 3 minutes on the display once it comes up to temperature.
  9. Once it has pressure cooked for 3 minutes, the Instant Pot will beep 3 times. Wait 10 minutes for the pressure to naturally release, then slide the steam release handle to the “venting” position to let out any remaining steam, before removing the lid and serving the soup.
pasta fagioli soup in two bowls with spoons

Tips and tricks

  • To make the recipe gluten free, substitute in gluten free macaroni noodles or penne pasta. You may need to add 5-10 minutes to the cooking time to make sure that the pasta is completely cooked in the soup. I recommend checking a noodle after 25 minutes, then adding 5 minutes at a time until the pasta is cooked al dente in the soup.
  • To make the recipe vegetarian, substitute meatless crumbles, like Beyond meat or Impossible meat, for the ground beef. You can also double up on the beans. Instead of adding meatless crumbles, add two cans of red kidney beans and two cans of great northern beans. You’ll also want to substitute vegetable broth for the beef broth to make the soup vegetarian.
  • If you like a soup with more liquid, feel free to add an additional cup of beef broth.
  • Leftover pasta fagioli soup will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, sealed in an airtight container.
  • You can reheat leftover soup in the microwave or on the stove. To reheat it in the microwave, place one serving of soup in a bowl and microwave for 3 minutes, stirring the soup halfway through the cooking time. To reheat it on the stove, add as much soup as you’d like to a pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Reheat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the difference between pasta fagioli and minestrone? Both are hearty Italian soups, but minestrone is a vegetable soup, made with zucchini and green beans, that sometimes contains white or kidney beans. While pasta fagioli always contains white and kidney beans and usually contains a ground meat, like beef or Italian sausage.
  • Can you freeze the soup? Yes, this soup can be frozen. To do so, make sure the soup is cooled first, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or zipper bag. Store in the freezer for up to 6 months. To defrost, place the soup in the refrigerator overnight (preferably for 24 hours), then transfer the soup to a pot on the stove to reheat. Depending on if the soup is fully defrosted, it will take 15-20 minutes to reheat the soup in a pot on the stove over medium heat.
  • Is this recipe healthy? Pasta fagioli soup is loaded with vitamins, iron, fiber and protein, which will help you stay full longer. If you’d like to cut down on calories and fat in the recipe, feel free to use ground turkey, instead of ground beef. You can also use low sodium beef broth, to reduce the sodium content in the recipe.
overhead image of pasta fagioli soup in bowls with copper spoon

What to serve with the soup

Every time I serve this soup, I go back to my childhood at Olive Garden and pair it with salad and breadsticks. Try any of these delicious salads or bread recipes to pair with the soup!

More soup recipes

Looking for more great soup recipes? You have to try these blog favorites!

pasta fagioli soup in white bowl with copper spoon
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Pasta Fagioli Soup

Create THE BEST Pasta Fagioli Soup with this flavorful Olive Garden copycat recipe! It's easy to make on the stove, in a Crock Pot or Instant Pot, and guaranteed to become a new family favorite.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 2 pounds ground beef, or loose Italian sausage
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes, do NOT drain
  • 15 ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounce can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 32 ounces tomato sauce
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup ditalini pasta, or other small pasta noodles

Optional toppings

  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, fresh grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley or basil, chopped

Instructions

  • Heat a large pot, or dutch oven, on the stove over medium-high heat.
  • Add the olive oil and cook the diced onions, celery and carrots in the oil for 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the ground beef to the pot and cook until the beef is browned, about 5-6 minutes, then drain any grease from the pot.
  • Add the salt, oregano, basil, rosemary and black pepper to the pot and stir to combine the herbs and spices with the ground beef and veggies.
  • Drain and rinse the great northern beans and red kidney beans, then add them to the pot, along with the tomato sauce and entire can of diced tomatoes.
  • Add the beef broth and white vinegar to the pot and stir to combine all of the ingredients.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the pasta to the pot and stir to combine all of the ingredients, making sure that all of the pasta is covered in liquid.
  • Place a lid on the pot and reduce the heat to low.
  • Cook for 25 minutes, or until all of the noodles are tender.
  • Remove the lid and serve the soup topped with fresh grated parmesan cheese and fresh chopped basil or parsley, if you'd like.

Notes

  • How to make it in a Crock Pot:
    • Follow steps 1-3 above, cooking the veggies and ground beef in a skillet on the stove, then draining any grease from the skillet.
    • Transfer the cooked beef and veggies to a Crock Pot.
    • Add the seasonings, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and beans, along with the beef broth and vinegar.
    • Cook the soup in the Crock Pot for 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.
    • Thirty minutes before serving the soup, add the pasta to the slow cooker, stirring to combine all of the ingredients and making sure the pasta is covered in liquid. Turn the Crock Pot up to high and let the pasta cook in the soup for 30 minutes.
  • How to make it in an Instant Pot:
    • Press the “saute” button on the Instant Pot, use the adjust button to set it on the “normal” setting.
    • Add olive oil to the Instant Pot, when the display says “hot”, add the carrots, onions and celery, saute 4-5 minutes.
    • Add the ground beef to the Instant Pot and cook until it’s browned, about 5-6 minutes. Press the “stop/cancel” button to turn the Instant Pot off, then drain any grease from the pot.
    • Add the seasonings to the Instant Pot, with the ground beef, along with the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, beef broth and white vineger.
    • Add the pasta and stir to combine all of the ingredients, making sure the pasta is covered in liquid.
    • Place the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the steam release is set to “sealing”.
    • Press the “manual” button and use the +/- buttons to set the Instant Pot to 3 minutes.
    • The instant pot will display “on” as it comes up to temperature and then will count down from 3 minutes on the display once it comes up to temperature.
    • Once it has pressure cooked for 3 minutes, the Instant Pot will beep 3 times. Wait 10 minutes for the pressure to naturally release, then slide the steam release handle to the “venting” position to let out any remaining steam, before removing the lid and serving the soup.
  • To make the recipe gluten free, substitute in gluten free macaroni noodles or penne pasta. You may need to add 5-10 minutes to the cooking time to make sure that the pasta is completely cooked in the soup. I recommend checking a noodle after 25 minutes, then adding 5 minutes at a time until the pasta is cooked al dente in the soup.
  • To make the recipe vegetarian, substitute meatless crumbles, like Beyond meat or Impossible meat, for the ground beef. You can also double up on the beans. Instead of adding meatless crumbles, add two cans of red kidney beans and two cans of great northern beans. You’ll also want to substitute vegetable broth for the beef broth to make the soup vegetarian.
  • Leftover pasta fagioli soup will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, sealed in an airtight container.
  • You can reheat leftover soup in the microwave or on the stove. To reheat it in the microwave, place one serving of soup in a bowl and microwave for 3 minutes, stirring the soup halfway through the cooking time. To reheat it on the stove, add as much soup as you’d like to a pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Reheat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

Serving 8gCalories 554kcal (28%)Carbohydrates 49g (16%)Protein 33g (66%)Fat 26g (40%)Saturated Fat 9g (45%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 1gCholesterol 81mg (27%)Sodium 1613mg (67%)Potassium 1410mg (40%)Fiber 10g (40%)Sugar 11g (12%)Vitamin A 3343mg (67%)Vitamin C 21mg (25%)Calcium 142mg (14%)Iron 7mg (39%)
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