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!
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.
Add a big bowl of salad and some breadsticks and you’ll never need takeout again!
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.
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!
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.
Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli Recipe FAQ
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.
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.
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.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Easy Olive Garden Copycat Recipes
Olive Garden Copycat Pasta Fagioli Recipe
- 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 2024
Disclosure: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link your price will remain the same and The Slow Roasted Italian will automatically receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting us, it helps us keep creating new recipes.