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.

Pasta e Fagioli in a white bowl with a silver spoon

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 originated.

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.

pasta fagioli in a white pot

Pasta and beans video

Ingredients & Substitutions for pasta e fagioli

Pasta fagioli ingredients

Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Beans

You can make this pasta e fagioli recipe with canned beans or with dried 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, black beans, white 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.

Here are our guides on how to cook black beans and how to cook white beans.

Pasta

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.

Olive oil

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.

Tomatoes

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

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.

Pasta e Fagioli with a silver spoon and fresh rosemary

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.

fresh herbs and tomato puree in the pot

Add drained and rinsed beans, vegetable broth, and canned tomatoes, and season with salt and black pepper.

minced tomatoes and beans

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.

ditalini pasta in the pot

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.

bean pasta after simmering

Serving suggestions

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.

Pasta e Fagioli with a silver spoon and fresh rosemary

If you want to pair it with something bready, we recommend:

Or better, serve it with a vegetable side dish, such as:

Variations

Lentil pasta

lentil pasta in a bowl

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

pasta e ceci with parmesan cheese

Another classic Italian dish, pasta, and chickpeaspasta 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.

Storage

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:

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:

Pasta e Fagioli with a silver spoon and fresh herbs

Pasta e Fagioli

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 16 votes
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.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 5 people
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

  • 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
  • cup ditalini pasta or another short pasta
  • 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • 2 twists black pepper + ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions 

  • 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.
    fresh herbs and tomato puree in the pot
  • 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.
    minced tomatoes and beans
  • 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.
    ditalini pasta in the pot
  • 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.
    bean pasta after simmering
  • 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.
    Pasta e Fagioli with a silver spoon and garlic cloves

Video

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans)

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 portion of pasta e fagioli out of 5 servings.
STORAGE
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.
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Nutrition

Calories: 396kcal, Carbohydrates: 69g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 925mg, Dietary Fiber: 13g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 2398IU, Vitamin B6: 0.5mg, Vitamin C: 13mg, Vitamin E: 3mg, Vitamin K: 17µg, Calcium: 99mg, Folate: 187µg, Iron: 4mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 93mg, Zinc: 2mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

5 from 16 votes (15 ratings without comment)

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