Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli is a rich and hearty Italian pasta soup that makes 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!
With the perfect balance of ingredients and flavors, it’s no wonder that this is one of the most popular Olive Garden soups!
Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli
“Pasta e fagioli” translates to “pasta and beans,” and this traditional Italian 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.
Add a big bowl of salad and some breadsticks and you’ll never need takeout again!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Ground beef – This Italian pasta soup 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 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.
Whatever you choose, cook the pasta separately! It allows you to add just the right amount and ensures the noodles don’t become too soggy.
- 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.
How To Make Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli Soup
Start by browning the meat. Add in the base of vegetables and saute until softened.
Drain off any excess fat, then stir in all of the remaining ingredients except for the noodles.
While that simmers, boil the ditalini in salted water according to package directions. Then, drain and stir into the soup just before serving.
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!
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.
FAQ – Common Recipe Questions
While the two are very similar, minestrone contains a wide variety of vegetables while Olive Garden pasta fagioli soup features more beans and noodles.
It also has a much thicker texture, almost like stew, and a stronger tomato flavor.
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, substitute chopped mushrooms or simply omit the meat altogether.
Sure! The steps are the same, but you’ll combine everything in the slow cooker instead of on the stove.
I still recommended 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.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Easy Olive Garden Copycat Recipes
Olive Garden Pasta Fagiolo
- 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
- 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.
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.
Originally published December 2021, updated and republished January 2023
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