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Pasta Fagioli Soup is a classic Italian soup recipe with a 5-star rating! It’s savory broth, hearty beans and beef, tender pasta, pasta sauce, and dried seasonings make this the best soup for Fall, or anytime! You’ll love the savory broth that has tons of flavor thanks to a jar of marinara sauce!
For another similar copycat Italian soup recipe try my Chicken Gnocchi Soup – I’ve made it even easier with a few ‘easy pantry’ ingredients!
Pasta Fagioli Soup Recipe
You may know this Pasta Fagioli Soup (pronounced ‘pasta fah-jolie) from a popular chain restaurant, the famous Olive Garden’s Pasta e Fagioli soup. I have never had it so I can’t say if it’s a copycat or not but I do know that this soup is AMAZING. It’s the perfect meal for cold days!
The “secret” ingredient is a jar of spaghetti sauce and trust me when I say that it totally makes this soup crazy delicious. It’s a shortcut way to provide rich tomato flavor and seasoning. This pasta fagioli recipe tastes so similar to Classic Minestrone Soup – but slightly different and more of a hearty soup with it’s traditional Italian soup ingredients.
Ingredients Needed To Make This Hearty Italian Soup
- Ground Beef – I use 93/7 or 96/4 lean ground beef. I prefer a leaner, less greasy ground beef so I always grab the lower fat one. Use any percentage of fat ground beef that you prefer. The excess grease gets drained off anyways so it probably won’t matter a whole lot.
- Yellow Onion – Finely dice a yellow onion. It’s important that you cut all the veggies really small to ensure that they soften correctly and so everything is uniform in size.
- Kosher Salt – Salt gets added into the soup at two different stages. This will help build tons of flavor in the soup.
- Beef Broth – I prefer using full salted beef broth but you can use a reduced-sodium broth if that’s what you prefer or if there are dietary restrictions.
- Petite Diced Tomatoes
- Spaghetti Sauce – The “secret ingredient” in my version is what makes it stand out from the rest. One jar of marinara sauce/pasta sauce is what you will need – it’s best to pick a general flavor like tomato & basil or traditional sauce.
- Baby Carrots – I recommend using baby carrots because they’re already small, no need to peel them, and all you have to do is slice them thinly into rounds.
- Light Red Kidney Beans
- Cannellini Beans – Any white beans will work in this recipe like navy beans or great northern beans are all great options.
- Oregano, Basil, Black Pepper – These are the dried Italian seasonings needed.
- Small Shell Pasta – This is the small pasta shape that I prefer but you can also use ditalini pasta as a good substitute.
How To Make Pasta e Fagioli Recipe (Full Recipe Card Below)
In a large stock pot, cook and crumble the ground beef, onion, and ½ teaspoon salt over medium-high heat. When the beef is no longer pink drain the excess grease from the pot.
Add beef broth, diced tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, celery, carrots, beans, oregano, basil, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover pot with lid and reduce to medium-low heat.
Simmer for 30-40 minutes. Vegetables should be tender and you may have to lift the lid and check on it a few times to stir it and make sure it’s not burning or too hot. Reduce heat to low, if needed.
Add pasta and cover with lid. Let simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked to al dente or to your preferred preference.
Serve with parmesan cheese (freshly grated from a wedge is best) and chopped fresh parsley if wanted.
Changes & Variation Ideas
- Fresh Herbs While Simmering : Add a couple bay leaves, fresh sprigs of basil or rosemary while the soup is simmering. Remember to remove them before serving!
- Ground Meat : Use some ground Italian sausage (mild or spicy) or ground turkey instead of the ground beef. If using ground turkey make sure and add some olive oil into the pot before cooking and crumbling the ground turkey with the onion. The leaner meat needs some fat while cooking.
- Parmesan Cheese Rind : Adding just the rind of a parmesan cheese wedge is always a great idea when making this soup. It adds so much briny flavor to the soup and really enhances all those Italian flavors and seasonings.
- Add Fresh Garlic Cloves : Add some chopped or pressed garlic into the ground beef and onion mixture for 30 seconds, once the meat is no longer pink. Proceed with the recipe and drain the excess grease from the pan.
- Pasta : I prefer using the small shell pasta but you can use another similar sized pasta like ditalini pasta. I recommend not using a larger shaped pasta as it will be too big and soak up too much of the broth.
- Dried Seasonings : Add some additional dried seasonings depending on preference. Some great options are Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, or dried rosemary. Sometimes I like to use 1 teaspoon dried basil + 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (instead of the oregano) when I make this easy recipe.
How To Store Leftover Soup
Fridge : Allow the soup to cool to room temperature before storing leftovers. Remove the soup to individual airtight containers, or one large airtight container, and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. When reheating leftovers you will need to add a bit of broth because the pasta will soak up most of the liquid as it sits in the fridge. Heat the soup until warmed through in the microwave or in a pot on the stove top.
Freezer : I don’t recommend freezing this soup because of the pasta. But if you want to, you can freeze any leftovers to help them last longer. Simply remove the room temperature cooled soup to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag or container and freeze for up to 2 months. The pasta will be much softer once frozen and then thawed. Add some broth to moisten the soup back up when reheating from frozen or from thawed.
What Do I Serve With Pasta Fagioli Soup?
I love serving this soup with some crusty bread, either from the bakery or you can try some homemade crusty bread. It’s also really good with some of my buttery One Hour Rolls, Cornbread, or some easy Parmesan Garlic Knots.
Top the soup with some oyster soup crackers, freshly grated parmesan, and some chopped fresh parsley.
Soup Recipe Tips
- Broth : I like to use 2 cans of regular salted beef broth + 1 can of 50% reduced-sodium beef broth. You can use any combination you want, but you may want to check the soup when it’s done and add more salt if needed. If you use all reduced-sodium broth then you will want to probably add some additional kosher salt to the soup before serving. Other great substitutes are chicken broth or vegetable broth.
- Simmer Time Tips : Remove the lid a few times during the simmer time and give the soup a good stir. This will ensure that none of the pasta is sticking to the bottom of the pot while it’s covered. It also helps ensure that all the pasta gets cooked properly and does not stick together.
- Small Chopped Veggies : Ensure that the celery, carrots, and onion are all cut really small. I aim to cut everything about the size of the beans. This ensures that they will soften in the cook time given and it makes it easier to eat the soup because you’ll get everything in each bite!
More Favorite Soups
- Cream Cheese Chicken Soup
- Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup
- 7 Can Chicken Taco Soup
- Easy Vegetable Beef Soup
- Italian Meatball Soup
- Hamburger Soup
- Hashbrown Potato Soup
- Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
- Green Enchilada Chicken Soup
The Best Pasta Fagioli Soup
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 yellow onion finely diced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cans (14.5 oz each) beef broth
- 1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes do not drain
- 1 jar (24 oz) pasta sauce
- 1 cup thinly sliced celery
- 1 cup thinly sliced baby carrots
- 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans drained & rinsed
- 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans drained & rinsed
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 8 oz uncooked small shell pasta (about 1½ cups dried)
- In a large stock pot/soup pot, cook and crumble the ground beef, onion, and ½ teaspoon salt over medium-high heat. When beef is no longer pink drain the excess grease from the pot.1 pound ground beef, 1 yellow onion, ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Add beef broth, diced tomatoes, jarred pasta sauce, celery, carrots, beans, oregano, basil, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.3 cans (14.5 oz each) beef broth, 1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes, 1 jar (24 oz) pasta sauce, 1 cup thinly sliced celery, 1 cup thinly sliced baby carrots, 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon dried basil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Once boiling, cover the soup pot with a lid and reduce to medium-low heat.
- Simmer for 30-40 minutes. Remove the lid and give the soup a good stir a few times during the simmer time. * Make sure the vegetables are tender and softened to your preference before proceeding with the recipe. Reduce the heat to low if the soup is getting too hot and sticking to the pot.
- Add the uncooked small shell pasta and cover the pot with the lid. Let simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked to al dente or to your preference.8 oz uncooked small shell pasta
- Serve with chopped fresh parsley and/or freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional).