If you’ve ever had pasta fagioli soup from Olive Garden, you would agree that this italian soup is incredibly flavorful and delicious. Our copy-cat recipe allows you to indulge in this tasty soup right from the comfort of your home, and comes together in just 30-minutes and takes little prep time!
Recreating restaurant favorites allows you to transport your kitchen and dinner experience, always such a treat! Some of our favorites include zuppa toscana, and our p.f. chang’s copycat mongolian beef!
This pasta fagioli recipe offers a wonderful soup full of pasta, tender ground beef, and beans in a hearty broth, creating the perfect comforting bowl. It’s incredibly filling on its own, but would also be a great starter to your favorite dinner entree.
Why You’ll Love This Soup Recipe
- Inexpensive. The ingredients for this soup are simple and you may already have most of them in your home!
- Kid-friendly. Pasta fagioli soup is a hit with kids and adults alike.
- Diverse. This soup may be served with a wide range of side dishes and appetizers. As a result, this dish is incredibly easy to incorporate into your dinner.
- Customizable. You can easily switch up the veggies to personalize the soup to your family’s liking.
Ingredients for Pasta Fagioli
Simple ingredients that meld together to make the perfect comfort meal.
- Ground beef – a great protein for this soup. You’ll want to use lean beef.
- Vegetables – we like the combination of yellow onion, carrots, and celery, along with some garlic cloves for aromatics.
- Chicken broth – a high-quality broth is key for getting a great depth of flavor in the soup!
- Diced tomatoes – canned diced tomatoes are great for an easy addition of tomatoes and juice.
- Pasta – we use ditalini pasta but you can use your favorite shape of small pasta. Other great pasta options are orzo, fusilli, elbow macaroni, and cavatelli.
- Red kidney beans – drained and rinsed. You can also substitute with navy beans.
- Spinach – fresh spinach adds some greens to the soup as well as flavor. You can also use kale like in our classic zuppa toscana.
For a full list of ingredients and quantities, see the recipe card below.
Substitutions and Variations
With simple ingredients come tons of variations to create the meal that’s right for you!
- Protein: If you’d like to use an alternative to ground beef, we suggest italian sausage. It adds loads of flavor as well as a little bit of spice. Other great options are ground turkey, bacon, ground chicken, or even shredded chicken.
- Gluten-Free: If you are gluten sensitive you can still enjoy this delicious soup by using gluten-free pasta in substitution for the regular kind.
- Spice: Add heat to the soup with the addition of red pepper flakes or diced jalapeno.
- Vegetables: If you love veggies, the possibilities are endless to customize this soup. Add red bell pepper or mushrooms to increase the flavor of your pasta e fagioli soup.
- Herbs: Throw in your favorite fresh herbs, like parsley or dill for extra flavor.
- Cheese: Level the soup up by topping it with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
How to Make Pasta Fagioli
Step-by-step instructions to make this soup, the easy way:
1 – Cook meat: Add olive oil to a dutch oven and once the oil is hot, add the ground beef.
2 – Add onion: Sautee breaking up the ground meat until it’s cook then add the onion and saute until tender.
3 – Vegetables : Add in the cubed carrots and celery and stir to combine. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then allow to cook for about 6-8 minutes.
4 – Broth: Proceed to add in the diced tomatoes, broth, ketchup, garlic, seasonings, bay leaf and pasta. Cook for 15 minutes at a light boil, or until pasta is cooked.
5 – Simmer: Finally add the spinach and beans, bring to a simmer and cook another 2 minutes on medium-high heat! Adjust seasoning to taste.
6 – Serve and enjoy, friends.
More Ways to Cook Pasta Fagioli
- Brown the meat in a skillet and transfer it to a crock pot.
- Add all the ingredients aside from the pasta, beans, and spinach.
- Proceed to cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4.
- Afterwards, turn the heat to high, and add the pasta, beans, and spinach. Then, finish cooking for about 30-45 minutes or until pasta is cooked.
- Start off by sautéing the meat in the instant pot.
- Add in the remaining ingredients besides pasta, beans, and spinach.
- Cook on the soup setting, with high pressure for about 20-30 minutes.
- Add in pasta, beans, as well as spinach and cook for the remaining 10 minutes, until the pasta is cooked.
Expert Tips for the BEST Soup:
- Tomatoes: If you aren’t the biggest fan of chunks of tomato, you can blend the diced tomato with the juice for an easy tomato puree. You can use fresh tomatoes in lieu of canned tomatoes.
- Broth: A high-quality broth is key for getting great flavor all throughout the soup. You can use chicken broth, beef broth or even vegetable broth with great results.
- Texture: This soup can be made thick, similar to our easy chili, or more liquidy. To get thick soup, cook it on high for a bit longer, letting the liquid reduce.
- Time: If you aren’t on a time crunch, let your soup simmer longer before adding in the pasta. This will only benefit the flavor of the soup.
- Soup and salad: Serve up the soup in combination with a classic caesar salad for a well-balanced meal.
- Olive Garden style: Transport your family to where italian meets american cuisine by serving up our Olive Garden favorites. Pair the restaurant’s classic soup with buttery breadsticks and a light chicken scampi!
- Bread: Soup is best complemented with crispy italian bread, or some garlic bread!
Yes, you can use 80% ground beef, but make sure to drain excess fat, as it will make your soup cloudy.
Chicken broth adds an undeniable depth of flavor, but if you must omit it, you may use water. Be sure to add extra seasoning to make up for the loss of flavor.
Pasta fagioli is simply pasta and beans together.
Store & Reheat
- Storage. Refrigerate soup in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Reheat. Warm the soup over medium heat until at a light simmer.
- Freeze. If you would like to freeze this soup, store it in freezer-safe containers, before you add the pasta. Reheat: Let soup thaw in the fridge, and warm over medium heat until lightly simmering. Add uncooked pasta and cook until pasta is tender.
More Soup Recipes
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Pasta Fagioli Soup (Olive Garden Copycat Recipe)
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 celery stalks finely cubed
- 2 large carrots finely cubed
- 2 tsp salt divided
- ½ tsp ground pepper divided
- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 8 cups of chicken broth
- 3 Tbsp ketchup
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ¾ cup uncooked Ditalini pasta
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp italian seasoning
- 1 cup kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 2 cups fresh spinach chopped
- In a dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Once hot, add the beef and brown, breaking up the meat as it’s cooked.
- Add chopped onion to the ground beef, and cook until tender.
- Add the celery and carrots along with 1 tsp of salt and ¼ tsp of pepper. Cook for 6-8 minutes until vegetables are tender, stirring as needed.
- Proceed to add the diced tomatoes, broth, ketchup, garlic, remaining salt, pepper, italian seasoning, bay leaf and pasta. Cook for 15 minutes or until the pasta is tender.
- Finally, add the spinach, beans and bring to a simmer and cook another 2 minutes.
- Serve, and enjoy friends!
- If you don’t like chunks of tomatoes, blend them in with the juice for an easy tomato puree.
- Simmer the soup longer for a thicker consistency.
- Store in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.