Pasta e Fagioli (Olive Garden Copycat)

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Pasta e Fagioli is a hearty, herb-packed soup with beans, ground beef, and pasta. This heartwarming soup is healthy, filling, and the perfect meal for a chilly day!

Try our other Olive Garden copycat recipes: this Olive Garden Salad or this Zuppa Toscana Soup.

Pasta e fagioli in a bowl with a spoon and garnished with fresh parsley.

Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli is a traditional Italian soup. Translated from Italian it means “pasta and beans” and is often called “pasta fasul” in the United States. As far as how to say it: say “pah-sta eh fazh-e-ohl-eh.” 

The version I’m sharing today is not an authentic Italian soup, but it’s a comforting and hearty soup with pasta, beans, and ground beef. It has Italian-inspired dried herbs, lots of tomatoes, and is finished with a hearty dose of Parmesan cheese.

The Difference Between Minestrone And Pasta e Fagioli

While Pasta e Fagioli is similar to Minestrone, there are a few differences.

  • Minestrone has a lot of different veggies; Pasta e Fagioli typically just has mirepoix (a combination of finely chopped onions, celery, and carrots) and tomatoes — no other veggies. 
  • Minestrone doesn’t always include beans (though it usually does) and doesn’t include meat.

Ingredients being combined and cooked in a pot for pasta e fagioli recipe.

 Ingredients In Pasta e Fagioli

  • Mirepoix (chopped carrots, celery, and onion) and garlic create a tasty, aromatic base.
  • Olive oil helps cook the mirepoix and meat.
  • Ground beef brings a rich, filling taste.
  • A mix of salt, pepper, oregano, basil, Italian seasoning, and thyme seasons the soup.
  • Fire-roasted diced tomatoes add a smoky flavor.
  • Kidney and white beans make the soup hearty with protein and fiber.
  • Tomato paste and marinara sauce give a deep tomato flavor.
  • Beef stock and a bouillon cube create a flavorful liquid.
  • A bay leaf adds a subtle background note.
  • Red wine vinegar brings a bright touch.
  • Ditalini pasta makes the soup satisfying and chewy.


Want to know my secret ingredient for this soup? I use Rao’s® marinara sauce: (not sponsored!). This sauce adds such a great rich flavor!

How To Make Pasta e Fagioli

  1. Make the Soup Base: Cook the onions, celery, and carrots on low heat to bring out their flavors.
  2. Add in the garlic.
  3. Brown the Beef: Fry the beef until it’s no longer pink and break it into pieces.
  4. Season: Add the herbs, salt, and pepper. Go easy on the salt because the bouillon, broth, and cheese add saltiness. You can always put more in later if it’s needed.
  5. Tomatoes and Beans: Now, put in the beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, and marinara sauce.
  6. Broth: Pour in the beef broth and add the bouillon cube for extra beefy flavor. Use less broth for a thicker soup or more for a soupier consistency. Let it simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. Pasta: Near the end, boil the pasta just until it’s almost fully cooked, then mix with red wine vinegar.
  8. Combine and Serve: Add the pasta to the soup, and top each bowl with herbs and Parmesan cheese when serving.

Finished soup simmering in a pot and served in a bowl ready to eat.


Switch It Up

  • Meat: Use Italian sausage in place of the ground beef.
  • Vegetarian Pasta e Fagioli: Replace the ground beef with an extra can (or two) of beans and use vegetable stock in place of beef stock. Remove the bouillon cube.
  • Swap the pasta: This recipe calls for ditalini (a tiny, tube-shaped pasta), so when substituting other macaroni, stick to a smaller shape like orzo, orecchiette, or elbow macaroni.
  • Add some greens: If you want more greens, feel free to add in some chopped spinach, kale, or Swiss chard near the end of the cooking time. Cook until the greens are wilted.

Copycat olive garden pasta e fagioli soup simmering in a pot.


Storage Tips

  • Cool before storing.
  • Refrigerate in airtight containers for 4-5 days.
  • For freezing, omit pasta and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat on the stove, add broth if you’d like it thicker.
  • If frozen without pasta, cook pasta separately and add when reheating.

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Pasta e Fagioli {Olive Garden Copycat}

4.94 from 16 votes
Pasta e Fagioli is a hearty, herb-packed soup with beans, ground beef, and pasta. This heartwarming soup is healthy, filling, and the perfect meal for a chilly day!
Pasta e fagioli in a bowl with a spoon and garnished with fresh parsley.
Print Recipe

Pasta e Fagioli {Olive Garden Copycat}

Pasta e fagioli in a bowl with a spoon and garnished with fresh parsley.
4.94 from 16 votes
Pasta e Fagioli is a hearty, herb-packed soup with beans, ground beef, and pasta. This heartwarming soup is healthy, filling, and the perfect meal for a chilly day!
Course Dinner, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword pasta e fagioli
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Chelsea Lords
Calories 312kcal
Cost $9.23


  • 3/4 cup EACH: diced carrots, diced celery, diced yellow onion (~2-3 carrots, ~2-3 stalks celery, ~1/2 of 1 onion)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (~2 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: dried oregano, dried basil, Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces EACH) fire-roasted diced tomatoes,undrained (I love Muir Glen)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) white beans (cannellini beans or great northern beans), drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Rao's marinara sauce (or tomato sauce)
  • 2-4 cups reduced sodium beef stock (Note 1)
  • 1 large beef bouillon cube (Note 2)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar, divided
  • 3/4 cup ditalini pasta (measured when uncooked)
  • Optional: freshly parsley, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes if you like some heat


  • PREP: Dice the carrots, celery, onion, and mince the garlic.
  • VEGGIES AND BEEF: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Once hot, add in the 3/4 cup diced carrots, 3/4 cup diced celery, and 3/4 cup onion. Cook, stirring often until veggies are beginning to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add in the 2 teaspoons minced garlic and cook, stirring often, for another minute. Push veggies to the sides, increase the heat to high, and add in the 1 pound of lean ground beef. Allow to cook without touching for about 30 seconds. Then crumble the beef and cook until no longer pink, about 6-8 minutes. Incorporate the veggies into the beef as you crumble and cook it.
  • SEASONINGS AND TOMATOES: Add the seasonings to the beef: start with 1/2 teaspoon salt (or even less; add to preference), 3/4 teaspoon cracked pepper (or to preference), 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Stir for 30 seconds. Add in the 2 cans of undrained fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed can of white beans, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, and 1 and 1/2 cup marinara sauce. Stir to combine. Add in the beef stock; start with 2 cups and add in the 3rd (or even a 4th) cup if you'd like it slightly thinner. (We usually stick to 2 cups for a thicker soup.) Stir and then reduce the heat to low. Crumble in the beef bouillon cube and add in the bay leaf. Stir. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. After it's simmered for 30 minutes, stir in the 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings and salt to taste. Remove the bay leaf.
  • PASTA: About 20 minutes before the soup is done, bring a pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add some salt to the water and add in the 3/4 cup uncooked pasta. Cook until 1 minute short of package instructions for al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Toss with the remaining 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar and set aside until soup is ready.
  • FINISH: If eating all of the soup at this meal, stir in the pasta. If you want leftovers, I like to serve the pasta separately so it doesn't bloat. If doing it this way, add pasta to individual serving bowls. Garnish individual bowls with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly chopped parsley if desired. Enjoy hot.
  • SLOW COOKER DIRECTIONS: In a medium-sized skillet over medium high heat, brown the ground beef with the onions, carrots, and celery. Drain off any grease. Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add in the tomatoes, kidney beans, white beans, tomato paste, marinara sauce, and 2 cups beef stock. Add in all the seasonings, beef bouillon cube, and bay leaf. Cover and cook on high for 3-5 hours or low for 5-7 hours or until the vegetables are tender. When finished, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the red wine vinegar. Add in pasta that has been cooked, drained, and tossed with the 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley if desired.


Recipe Notes

Note 1: Consistency: This soup is thick and hearty -- more of a stew-like consistency. We love it this way, but if you prefer a more broth-y soup, add 1 or 2 extra cups of beef broth. 

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 6servings | Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 48.3g | Protein: 23.9g | Fat: 6.5g | Cholesterol: 46.1mg | Sodium: 310.9mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 7.1g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.


I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.


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4.94 from 16 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe! I am trying it out tonight. Unsure how I feel about the red wine vinegar but I trust you . . . Havent tasted it yet so will report back!

    1. You don’t have to put it in, but I like tossing it with the pasta 🙂 Please let me know how you liked this! 🙂

  2. Thank you for listing your delicious recipes, I’m going to be making several for my parents after my dad has back surgery. Thanks again!

    1. You are so welcome!! I hope you enjoy whatever you try! And good luck for your dad and his recovery, so kind of you to make them meals 🙂

  3. The instructions mention adding thyme, but I don’t see it in the ingredient list nor in the instructional video. Should it be added and if so how much?

    1. I’m so sorry about that Tonya! Thanks for pointing out the error, I’ve updated the ingredient list to include 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 🙂 Enjoy!

    1. Thank you Sharon! It’s not; seasoned salt is a blend of table salt, herbs, spices, other flavorings. You can use table salt in a pinch, but I definitely prefer seasoned salt. Enjoy!

  4. I plan on cooking this soup and then freezing it before eating it. If I do this, what is your recommendation on how to cook the pasta? Thanks!

  5. Excellent made twice alreary and again today,get get enough of it .myparents usedto make it when I was a kid but didn’t like it that much but now c ant get enough of it.bestrecipe thanks you

  6. 5 stars
    This is a terrific recipe!! Well worth the prep work. I did use a 14 oz can of beef broth, was glad I did! Three thumbs up!!!

    1. I haven’t tried any substitutes for the tomatoes so I really couldn’t say what would or wouldn’t work without trying myself (sorry!). If you’re okay with tomato flavor and just don’t like the chunks, I’d try crushed tomatoes.

  7. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe many times and each time it has been a hit. I have doubled and tripled the recipe for larger groups and the ingredient proportions work out great each time. I actually prefer this recipe over Olive Garden’s. Thank you.

  8. 5 stars
    Thank you for your recipes we have tried three and enjoyed each! We used a stainless stock pot on glass stove top and found that we needed to lower the heat settings some but other than that was great. We love carbs and brothy soup so will be adding more pasta and maybe even 5 cups stock and removing the added salt next time (personal preferences though). Thanks again and we look forward to trying more of your recipes!

    1. I am seriously so happy to hear this! Thank you so much! 🙂 And those are great tips! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  9. 5 stars
    Another amazing recipe, love the soup. I did add the extra beef stock as you suggested for a more soup Consistency, because I am serving shredded pork sandwiches with your soup. Thank you!!

  10. 5 stars
    I’ve made this 4 times in the last month and a half, and it really is just as good every single time! I usually use a full box of beef broth and could probably stand to add a can of it too because I like mine on the soupier side, but otherwise I usually follow the recipe to a T. Such a great recipe – I’ve sent it to friends and family!

  11. 5 stars
    This was excellent! I used Rao’s Arrabbiata Spicy Marinara and it gave the flavor a delicious boost. I didn’t find it to be overly spicy. Can’t go wrong with this one. Thanks Chelsea!

  12. 5 stars
    This is one of my most favorite recipes – I’ve made it so many times I’ve lost count! I don’t add the pasta in because my husband avoids pasta, so I cook it separately and add it to my bowl. This will usually last the two of us a few days so it’s great to make when I want to plan for leftovers. The flavors are so great and better than Olive Garden!

  13. Sounds so good, can’t wait to make it! Please describe in detail the boullion cubes that you use, the link takes me to Walmartwebsite but does not show boullion of any kind. Thank you!

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