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Loaded with beans, pasta, and a thick tomato base – it’s delicious + nutritious (the perfect combo!)
Growing up, we would always have pasta fagioli. It was (and still is!) one of my favorite meals. It’s super hearty while being so good for you, and tasting amazing!
I might be biased, but I think this is the best pasta fagioli recipe! And.. let’s just set the record straight. It’s WAY better than Olive Garden, for those who are asking.
why we love pasta fagioli
- Delicious: Some of the best recipes are simple and still have a ton of flavor. Even though this recipe is made with only a few ingredients it’s loaded with flavor.
- Cheap: With grocery store costs on the rise, this is a delicious, budget friendly meal!
- Total Comfort Food: When you need something comforting, this is the ultimate recipe!
What is pasta fagioli?
Pasta fagioli is a traditional Italian soup/stew made with beans and pasta. It originated as a ‘peasant dish’ because it’s made with inexpensive ingredients.
Depending on the region of Italy you’re from, it can be thick like stew, or thinner. Some people add meat to it, while others keep it vegetarian.
No matter how you make it it’s delicious. And if you were wondering: how do you pronounce pasta fagioli soup – there are a few ways you can say it
- fah- zool (rhymes with school )
- fah- jole (rhymes with soul)
If you love healthy Italian recipes, try our Chicken Cacciatore.
Pasta Fagioli Soup Recipe Ingredients
Pasta fagioli is made with simple ingredients you probably already have in your pantry and fridge. This recipe calls for:
- olive oil
- cannellini beans
- fresh herbs
- garlic, onions, carrots
- salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
- short pasta
- broth & water
- tomato sauce
- meat: optional. You can add ground meat, pancetta or bacon. This recipe is meatless.
We used the ‘macaroni’ shape pasta from Trader Joe’s in this recipe. There are many substitutions for this recipe included below under the green substitutions box, please make sure to check them out!
How to make pasta fagioli soup:
Making healthy pasta fagioli is SUPER simple. You just need to do a little bit of work to chop your veggies, but a food processor can make this *so speedy*
- First sauté your veggies, then add your spices + broth.
- Stir in your cooked beans + raw pasta
- Bring to a boil and cook it until it’s al dente!
There are instructions for making pasta fagioli in the instant pot and in the slow cooker included in the recipe below. All are equally as simple – and the instant pot is the fastest way to make this healthy pasta fagioli.
Recipe for Pasta Fagioli Substitutions
There are so many ways to customize this healthy pasta fagioli. Here are a few:
Onion/Garlic: I haven’t tried making this recipe without onion/garlic. It adds a lot of flavor, so I wouldn’t omit them. You can sub onion powder and garlic powder if you don’t have fresh. Use 1 teaspoon of onion powder and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
Beans: I usually use canned cannellini beans to save time. You can cook your own, or sub with navy beans or great northern beans. Make sure to drain and rinse off canned beans.
Dried Beans: If you’d like to use dried beans in this recipe, cook them before adding them to the soup. You’ll need about 1.5 cups of cooked beans
Dried Herbs: Substitute 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs for 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.
Pasta: You can use any small pasta. Ditalini are my favorite. You can also use elbows or any shorter, small pasta.
Adding meat: If you’re not vegan, you can sauté bacon or pancetta when sautéing your veggies. It does add flavor, but I honestly prefer it without. Additionally – you can add cooked ground turkey or beef to this soup and it would be delicious! You could also add a parmesan cheese rind to the soup as it cooks, but that is not necessary.
Spinach or extra veggies: Chopped spinach is a great addition to this recipe, I add it right before serving!
Tips for making Crockpot Pasta Fagioli:
This Pasta Fagioli Soup is pretty easy to make, but if you’re looking for some time-saving tips – these can help you!
Use canned beans- I try to find ones that are low sodium and always rinse/drain them.
If using dried beans, make sure to cook them ahead of time. Store in a container in your refrigerator until you’re ready to cook.
What do you eat with Pasta Fagioli?
Just so you know, pasta fagioli is meant to be very thick! You should almost be able to eat it with a fork! If you prefer it soupier, just add more broth.
Pasta fagioli is best served with:
- a big piece of crusty bread
- lots of parmesan cheese! If you’re vegan, feel free to add nutritional yeast.
- Fresh basil and cracked black pepper also add a lot of flavor!
- with a salad
Storing and Freezing Vegetarian Pasta Fagioli
Refrigerator: This soup will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Freezing: You can freeze this soup, but it isn’t as good once it has been frozen. The pasta can get a little mushy – but it’s still totally edible! I love these containers for freezing soup. For all my freezing tips, check out my post on How To Freeze Soup.
Reheating: You can reheat it in the crockpot, microwave, or on the stove. The pasta will absorb some of the liquid overnight so you can just add some broth when reheating or enjoy it thicker.
Can you make this Vegan Pasta Fagioli in the crockpot?
Yes, you can make pasta fagioli in the crockpot – but I would really recommend making it on the stovetop. It’s super quick! I can’t guarantee yours will cook correctly, and it might either be al dente, or mushy!
If you are making pasta fagioli in the crockpot, add your pasta during the last hour of cooking to avoid the pasta getting too mushy.
Can you make Instant Pot Pasta Fagioli?
Yes, you can! See below for instructions. Here are some tips for making pasta fagioli in your instant pot:
Be aware of the order of the ingredients. Tomato sauces tend to trigger a burn warning in the instant pot.
This was tested with regular macaroni. I would highly recommend a short cut like Ditalini or Macaroni.
Very important note on the pasta – I would warn against using pastas with lower cook times than Ditalini or Macaroni because that could result in over cooking. Similarly, a thicker one requiring more time would undercook. Stick to pastas that cook in the 7-9 minute range for this one!
Pasta Fagioli FAQ
Both pasta fagioli and minestrone are tomato-based soups with beans and pasta. Minestrone soup often has other vegetables added (spinach, zucchini) as well as other beans (kidney, white) whereas pasta fagioli is typically just beans and pasta.
Most pasta fagioli recipes are made with meat (pancetta or bacon). It is very easy to make pasta fagioli soup without meat. This is a meatless, vegetarian and vegan recipe
Pasta fazool and pasta fagioli are the same things. There are many different pronunciations of the soup that is macaroni, bean, and tomato-based.
Other Healthy Soup & Other Favorite Recipes
Other favorites from The Clean Eating Couple
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup onion minced
- 2 tablespoons garlic minced (approx 3 garlic cloves)
- 1 cup carrots minced
- 30 oz cooked cannellini beans low or no sodium (rinsed/drained if using canned)
- 15 oz canned tomato sauce low or no sodium
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional- omit if you don't like spice or add to taste at end
- 4 cups vegetable stock low or no sodium
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup ditalini pasta gluten free if necessary (about 5 oz)
Stove Top Instructions
- In a large pot on the stove, heat olive oil. Sauté onions, garlic and carrots in olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes until onions are translucent and softened.
- Add tomato sauce, spices, stock and water to the pot, bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- While the soup cooks, drain + rinse beans.
- After the soup has cooked, add raw pasta and cooked beans. Stir together and bring to a boil. Cook uncovered until pasta is al dente, about 4-6 minutes (cook time will vary depending on the pasta shape you use)
- Important: you should undercook the pasta. Once you remove the pot from the heat the pasta will continue to cook and absorb the broth. Feel free to add more broth to your liking.
- Once cooked, discard bay leaf. Serve + enjoy!
Instant Pot Instructions
- Important: This recipe is best when made on the stovetop. The pasta can easily get overcooked in the instant pot.
- Set your Instant Pot to Sauté for 5 minutes. Add olive oil. Sauté onion, carrot and garlic until onions are translucent and softened..
- While veggies cook, drain + rinse beans.
- Make sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the instant pot to avoid a burn notice. Add in the pasta, beans, seasonings, water and broth to the pot. Pour the tomatoes on top. Do not stir it.
- Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes and do a quick release once the soup has cooked.
- Once cooked, discard bay leaf. Stir + enjoy!
- Optional but recommended: You can cook your pasta on the side to avoid it being over cooked. Depending on the pasta size, this can easily over cook in the instant pot.
- Important: This recipe is best when made on the stovetop. The pasta can easily get overcooked in the crockpot.
- In a large pot on the stove, sauté onions, garlic and carrots in olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add to crockpot base.
- While veggies cook, drain + rinse beans.
- Add tomato sauce, spices, stock, water and beans to the crockpot base. Do not add pasta! Stir until combined and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
- The last hour of cooking, add your raw pasta to the crockpot. Stir to combine. Cover and cook for the remaining hour. You can also cook your pasta in a separate pot and stir it in the soup.
- Important: you should undercook the pasta. Once you remove the crockpot from the heat the pasta will continue to cook and absorb the broth. Feel free to add more broth to your liking if soup becomes too thick.
- Once cooked, discard bay leaf. Serve + enjoy!