Olive Garden Copycat Pasta Fagioli Recipe

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This Pasta Fagioli Recipe makes a rich and hearty Italian pasta soup that tastes just like the Pasta e Fagioli from Olive Garden. Though there’s plenty for the whole family, even a small bowl will warm you right up and stick to your bones when the nights are extra chilly!

titled (shown on spoon above bowl) olive garden pasta fagioli


 

With the perfect balance of ingredients and flavors, it’s no wonder that Pasta e Fagioli is an Olive Garden favorite!

Pasta Fagioli Recipe

“Pasta e fagioli” translates to “pasta and beans,” and this copycat Olive Garden pasta fagioli recipe has plenty of both!

Ground beef, veggies, white and red beans, and plenty of Italian seasonings simmer together in a rich tomato broth.

Then, freshly cooked ditalini is added right at the end to make this dish even more filling.

Craving more homemade versions of your favorite Olive Garden soups?

I’ve got stovetop and Instant Pot versions of their Zuppa Toscana, as well as a creamy chicken and gnocchi and chicken parmigiana.

Add a big bowl of salad and some breadsticks and you’ll never need takeout again!

bowls of ingredients to make homemade pasta e fagioli

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Ground beef – This pasta fagioli recipe would be equally as delicious with ground sausage, turkey, or chicken!
  • Tomatoes – San Marzano canned tomatoes are less acidic than other varieties, or you can simply stir in a teaspoon of granulated sugar if the soup is too acidic.

    For a little spice, try diced tomatoes with jalapenos or chiles.
  • Beans – Using the liquid from the cans adds plenty of flavor, but it can also add a lot of sodium!

    If you’re concerned about salt content, give the beans a rinse and increase the amount of stock and tomato sauce instead.
  • Pasta – Ditalini is a short, round noodle shaped like a tube.

    While it’s the classic choice for a traditional Italian pasta fagioli recipe, orzo or macaroni will work in a pinch.
  • Beef stock – You can substitute chicken stock or even water if you prefer. The beef stock just adds a really nice richness to the soup.
ground beef, onion, celery, and garlic in a dutch oven

How To Make Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli at Home

  • Brown the meat and vegetables first.

Start with the ground beef and drain off any excess fat — this keeps homemade Olive Garden pasta fagioli from being too greasy.

Then, add the onion, celery, and garlic. Scrape up any browned bits as they cook for extra flavor.

Once softened, stir in all of the remaining ingredients except for the noodles.

  • Cook the pasta separately.

This allows you to add just the right amount and ensures the noodles don’t become too soggy.

Follow the package directions and be sure to salt the water for flavor. Then, drain the noodles well and stir them into the soup just before serving.

  • Don’t forget the garnish!

Sprinkle some chopped herbs like parsley or basil over the top or grate a little bit of fresh Parmesan or Romano if you’d like!

stirring pasta into pot of olive garden pasta fagioli soup

Storing and Reheating Pasta Fagioli from Olive Garden

Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and reheat on the stove until warmed through.

I wouldn’t recommend freezing Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli once everything is combined.

Soups with pasta don’t tend to hold up well once they’ve been thawed and reheated.

However, you can freeze the soup base for up to 3 months and add freshly cooked ditalini just before serving.

stirring copycat olive garden pasta e fagioli in dutch oven

Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli Recipe FAQ

What’s the difference between Olive Garden pasta fagioli and minestrone?

While the two are very similar, minestrone contains a wide variety of vegetables while the pasta e fagioli at Olive Garden features more beans and noodles.

It also has a much thicker texture, almost like stew, and a stronger tomato flavor.

Does pasta fagioli contain meat?

Yes. this pasta fagioli Olive Garden recipe contains ground beef. It adds plenty of protein and flavor, plus it helps make the soup extra hearty.

Other versions may use a different variety of ground meat, and some include bacon or pancetta.

For a vegetarian version of this pasta fagioli recipe, substitute chopped mushrooms or simply omit the meat altogether.

Can I make this pasta fagioli Olive Garden recipe in the crockpot?

Sure! The steps are the same, but you’ll combine everything in the slow cooker instead of on the stove.

I still recommend browning the meat and veggies first. You can do this ahead of time, so all you have to do is set it and forget it!

Cook on High for 3-4 hours or on Low for 6-7 hours, and stir in the cooked ditalini just before serving.

lifting ladle from pot of pasta e fagioli

Enjoy!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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spoonful of pasta and bean soup over bowl

Other Easy Olive Garden Copycat Recipes

spoonful of italian soup

Olive Garden Copycat Pasta Fagioli Recipe

Donna Elick
This Pasta Fagioli Recipe makes a rich and hearty meal with plenty for the whole family. Warm yourself up with a bowl of this soup tonight!
5 stars from 3 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine Italian
Method Stovetop
Servings 10 cups

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, optional
  • 1 cup matchstick carrots
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced or 1- 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes (including the juices)
  • 15 ounce can white beans, undrained
  • 15 ounce can red kidney beans, undrained
  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup ditalini pasta, cooked (cook and drain separately)
  • Parsley, basil, oregano, and/or thyme for garnish, if desired

Instructions
 

  • In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef until no pink remains.
  • Add onion, celery, and minced garlic to the pot and continue cooking over medium heat until onions are soft. (If there is not enough fat in the pan from cooking the ground beef, add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to aid in sauteeing the vegetables.)
  • Drain the meat and vegetables of any excess fat.
  • Add the carrots, beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, and Italian seasoning to the mixture and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pot of salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • Once the soup has simmered at least 15 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the cooked pasta.
  • Serve with fresh herbs for garnish.

Donna’s Notes

Use diced tomatoes with jalapenos or chiles for a little spice in the soup.
You can substitute chicken broth or even water for the beef broth, but I like the richness from the beef broth.
If the soup is too acidic, add a teaspoon of granulated sugar.
Add salt and pepper as needed to season.
This is a nice, thick soup – almost chili consistency. You can add more broth if you’d like a runnier soup, but it’s really great as a thick, hearty soup.
Try ground sausage, ground turkey, or ground chicken instead of the ground beef!
Cooking the pasta separately allows you to adjust how much much pasta you’re adding without losing any of the liquid content and it also prevents the noodles from becoming soggy in the soup.
Store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 302cal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 542mg | Sugar: 5g | Fiber: 7g | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 4mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled image (and shown): olive garden pasta fagioli

Originally published December 2021, updated and republished January 2024

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14 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This soup was simple and easy, but SO tasty! I love Olive Garden’s Pasta Fagioli and this was such a great remake of that soup. Hearty, delicious, but not too heavy. Yum!

  2. With all the other Christmas Eve goodies, my pasta fagiolo soup was the favorite by far! I had to let you know that now my whole family has the recipe and it will be a holiday staple. Thank you, and thanks to Olive Garden!

  3. 5 stars
    This is the best homemade soup recipe we have.
    so flavorful and rich, without a lot of fat and calories.
    Highly recommend

  4. I’m anxious to try this! Looks yummy & filling.
    Could I use some browned crumbled Italian sausage along with the ground beef?
    Thanks!

  5. We had the soup tonight for dinner. It was great!! One of the tips was to skip the juice from the beans because of high sodium content. I would recommend using low sodium Cannellini beans and red kidney beans. Also use no salt diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. I think it also allows the full flavor of the tomatoes to come through.

  6. 5 stars
    Easy recipe to follow. I got adventurous and added extra seasonings and some leftover cooked Chayote squash. Definitely a yummy comfort food for those cold winter nights.

  7. Was just wondering what kind of white beans you used for the recipe, there are so many to choose from.

  8. Delicious!! I used ground chicken and small amount of past to keep it lower carb, fabulous!! Thank you, better than OG for sure!

    1. Hi Donna!
      It should be added, mixed then served, no additional cooking. I Hope this helps!
      TSRI Team Member,
      Devlyn

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