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If you love cozy, delicious meals – you’ll definitely enjoy this Pasta Fagioli. It’s the ultimate comfort food!
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.
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)
Ingredients for Healthy Pasta Fagioli
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
- 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 substitutions, 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. Both are equally as simple – and the instant pot is the fastest way to make this healthy pasta fagioli.
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!
Cut your veggies ahead of time -You can keep in the fridge for 24 hours so all you need to do is cook! I also use my food processor to make chopping carrots, onions + garlic SO quick.
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
Substitutions for pasta fagioli:
There are so many ways to customize this healthy pasta fagioli. Here are a few.
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.
For pasta: You can use any small pasta. Elbows or ‘macaroni’ are my favorite, but ditalini also work, and I’ve even seen people use broken spaghetti!
For beans: I usually use canned cannellini beans to save time. You can cook your own, or sub with navy beans or great northern beans
For broth: If not vegan, you can use chicken stock or bone broth for the liquid in this recipe!
WW Freestyle Note: Save 1.5SP per serving by spraying olive oil instead of pouring it into the pan
Dried Herbs: Substitute 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs for 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.
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 cooked beans
Spinach – Chopped spinach is a great addition to this recipe, I add it right before serving!
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 more soupy, just add more broth.
Pasta fagioli is best served with a big piece of crusty bread, and 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!
Storing 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!
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! Unless you use the pasta I linked below, I can’t guarantee yours will cook correctly, and it might either be al dente, or 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 those two 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) where as 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 thing. There are many different pronunciations of the soup that is macaroni, bean and tomato based.
Other healthy soup recipes:
- Paleo Butternut Squash Soup
- Lentil Soup Recipe
- Easy Minestrone Soup (Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Vegan)
- Healthy Lemon Chicken Soup
- Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Taco Soup
- Whole30 Italian Wedding Soup
- Healthy Beef Barley Soup
- 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
- 1 large bay leaf
- 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
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley minced
- 4 cups vegetable stock low or no sodium
- 2 cups water
- 6 oz elbow pasta gluten free if necessary
Stove Top Instructions
- In a large pot, sauté onions, garlic and carrots in olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes until translucent.
- Add tomato sauce, spices, stock and water to the pot, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Drain + rinse beans.
- Add raw pasta and beans. Bring to a boil. Cook uncovered until pasta is al dente, about 10-15 minutes (depending on pasta directions)
- Serve + enjoy!
Instant Pot Instructions
- Sauté onion, carrot and garlic on regular sauté for about 2 minutes.
- Drain + rinse beans.
- Add in the pasta, beans , seasonings , water and broth. Pour the tomatoes on top. Do not stir it.
- Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes and do a quick release. Stir and serve!
- In a large pot, sauté onions, garlic and carrots in olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add to crockpot base.
- Drain + rinse beans.
- Add tomato sauce, spices, stock, water, raw pasta and beans. Stir and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
- 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.
- For pasta: You can use any small pasta. Elbows or ‘macaroni’ are my favorite, but ditalini also work, and I’ve even seen people use broken spaghetti!
- For beans: I usually use canned cannellini beans to save time. You can cook your own, or sub with navy beans or great northern beans
- For broth: If not vegan, you can use chicken stock or bone broth for the liquid in this recipe!
- WW Freestyle Note: Save 1.5SP per serving by spraying instead of pouring it into the pan
- Dried Herbs: Substitute 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs for 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.
- 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 cooked beans
- Spinach – Chopped spinach is a great addition to this recipe, I add it right before serving!