Pasta and fagioli is a comforting traditional Italian meal combining pasta and beans into a flavorful broth with tomato and aromatic herbs.
This recipe represents the essence of Italian home cooking: using simple ingredients to create a wholesome, tasty, and nutritious meal.
Pasta e fagioli soup is excellent as a weeknight family dinner and for meal prep and will be enjoyed by picky adults and kids alike.
Table of Contents
Dietary Note: This recipe is suitable for a vegetarian and vegan diet. For gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.
Pasta e fagioli, pronounced “pasta eh fah-joh-lee,” and sometimes known as pasta fazool, makes the coziest family dinner. You can make this Italian soup with simple and affordable ingredients; it tastes fantastic, and it’s warming and nourishing.
Pasta and beans provide plenty of wholesome plant protein and other nutrients to help you stay satiated and fulfilled for several hours.
You might know Olive Garden pasta e fagioli, an Italian restaurant in the United States, but this recipe goes back hundreds of years to mainland Italy where it
You can serve pasta e fagioli as a soup, with enough liquid to grant the use of a spoon, or thicker, more like a pasta dish.
Honestly, you are going to feel amazing after eating this dish. It’s healthy, nourishing, satiating, and delicious.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.
You can make this pasta e fagioli recipe with canned beans or with dry beans.
For a quick version, use canned beans, and you can make this recipe in about 30 minutes.
If you want to use dry beans, let them soak for 12 hours in water with a teaspoon of salt.
Then drain them, rinse them, and boil them in plenty of salted water for about 80 minutes or until tender.
You can use pinto beans, Borlotti beans, cranberry beans, great northern beans, red kidney beans, or a mix of two types of beans. Borlotti beans are the most traditional.
Most people in Italy use ditalini or ditaloni pasta for pasta e fagioli. You can find it in most supermarkets in the pasta section.
If you can’t find or don’t have ditalini in your pantry, feel free to use any other short pasta type. We particularly like conchiglie, elbow macaroni, cavatelli, and fusilli.
For making gluten-free pasta e fagioli soup, use gluten-free pasta.
We use extra virgin olive oil to make the flavor base (soffritto in Italian) with the chopped vegetables listed below.
Authenticity Note: In the traditional Italian recipe, a small amount (about 3.5 ounces or 100 grams) of fat-rich animal products (pancetta, lard, guanciale, prosciutto) are used for frying the veggies and adding flavor to this dish.
We prefer to keep the recipe vegetarian, without the meat; however, if you want to add it, do so at the beginning with the olive oil. There’s no lean ground beef, Italian sausage, or bacon in pasta and fagioli.
Carrot, celery, and onion
Those veggies are chopped and gently fried in extra virgin olive oil, adding flavor to the dish. You can use red, white, or yellow onion.
Garlic and Herbs
Garlic cloves – peeled and grated or minced – a sprig of rosemary, sage leaves, and a couple of bay leaves add that earthy Tuscan flavor to this dish.
Please don’t skimp on the herbs; they are the soul of pasta e fagioli.
You can substitute thyme and oregano for rosemary and bay leaves. As a last resort, you can use Italian seasoning.
We add canned crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes. We also add some tomato paste to boost the umami and flavor of the soup.
Vegetable broth helps us cook the pasta and create a tasty sauce. We prefer it to chicken broth and beef broth. If you are on a low-sodium diet, use reduced-sodium vegetable broth.
Salt and pepper
We recommend sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to make the soup slightly spicy.
How to make pasta e fagioli
Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add finely chopped onion, celery, and carrot, and fry them for 3 minutes.
Then, add grated garlic, chopped sage, the rosemary sprig, bay leaves, tomato paste, and fry while stirring for 2 more minutes.
Add drained and rinsed beans, vegetable broth, and canned tomatoes, and season with salt and black pepper.
Simmer on medium heat for about 15 minutes; optionally, you can blend some beans with an immersion blender for extra creaminess.
Now, stir in the pasta and simmer for another 10 to 12 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
Tip: we recommend undercooking the pasta slightly, especially if you plan to make this for meal prep.
Add more broth if you like a thinner, soupy pasta e fagioli. Consistency is a matter of preference for this dish. You can have it as thin or as thick as you like.
Serve pasta e fagioli soup as a main dish in a bowl with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
A sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese on top is optional.
If you want to pair it with something bready, we recommend:
Or better, serve it with a vegetable side dish, such as:
- Roasted broccoli with a refreshing lemon-garlic sauce.
- Baked zucchini with breadcrumbs and fresh Italian herbs.
- Tomato salad: an easy 15-minute salad with fresh tomatoes and basil.
- Roasted eggplant brushed with garlic and fresh herbs.
Like pasta e fagioli, lentil pasta or pasta with lentils is a nutritious, tasty, and wholesome Italian recipe (pasta e lenticchie) where the lentils and the pasta are cooked together in one pot.
Check out our lentil pasta recipe.
Pasta and chickpeas
Another classic Italian dish, pasta, and chickpeas – pasta e ceci in Italian – is an earthy and super tasty recipe to get through cold autumn and winter.
It’s easy to make with the same ingredients in our pasta e fagioli. Substitute canned or cooked chickpeas for the beans.
Check out our pasta with chickpea recipe.
Make ahead: you can make this recipe for meal prep and keep it for 3 to 4 days. If you do so, we recommend undercooking the pasta slightly so it won’t get mushy as you reheat it.
Refrigerator: store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for four days. Warm up in a pot with a dash of water or microwave for 2 minutes.
Freezer: this recipe is not suitable for freezing as pasta doesn’t thaw well.
More bean recipes
If you like cooking with beans, get fresh inspiration from these wholesome recipes with beans:
- Italian bean stew with canned pinto beans and authentic Italian flavor.
- 5-minute white bean dip with cannellini beans and tahini.
- Tuscan bean soup with leafy greens and white beans.
- Black bean salad: a Mexican-inspired salad with roasted sweet potatoes.
- Black bean soup: for an earthy, wholesome, and delicious meal.
More pasta recipes
Don’t know what to cook for dinner? Try one of these pasta recipes; they’re easy to make and packed with flavor:
- Mushroom pasta with chewy mushrooms, tomatoes, and tagliatelle pasta.
- Garlic and oil pasta: garlic, oil, and parsley make an irresistible pasta sauce.
- Tomato and basil pasta: ready in 20 minutes with ingredients you already have at home.
- Easy pasta bake with rich tomato sauce and rigatoni pasta.
- Lentil pasta: easy to make with staple ingredients and authentic Italian flavor.
- Chickpea pasta salad: a quick lunch idea for the office or lunchbox.
- Broccoli pasta: ready in just 20 minutes!
- Cauliflower pasta with parmesan cheese and roasted pine nuts.
Pasta e Fagioli
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 large carrot finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 3 leaves sage chopped
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) beans kidney, pinto, or borlotti beans (or 3 cups cooked beans)
- 5 cups vegetable broth or more for a thinner soup
- 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 1½ cup ditalini pasta or another short pasta
- 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
- 2 twists black pepper + ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add 1 medium onion, 1 large carrot, 1 stalk celery (all chopped), and fry them for 3 minutes.Add 2 cloves garlic (grated), 3 leaves sage (chopped), 1 sprig rosemary, 2 bay leaves, 3 tablespoons tomato paste, and fry while stirring for 2 more minutes.
- Add 2 cans (15 ounces each) beans (drained and rinsed), 5 cups vegetable broth, 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes, and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 2 twists black pepper.
- Simmer on medium heat for about 15 minutes; optionally, you can blend some beans with an immersion blender for extra creaminess.Now, stir in 1½ cup ditalini pasta and simmer for another 10 to 12 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
- Add more broth if you like a thinner, soupy pasta e fagioli. Consistency is a matter of preference; you can have it as thin or as thick as you like.
- Serve pasta e fagioli soup as a main dish in a bowl with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. A sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese on top is optional.
If you liked this pasta with beans, you might also like: