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This Olive Garden pasta e fagioli recipe is a restaurant-quality soup that’s simple to make in your own kitchen! It’s loaded with rich flavors in an irresistibly warming soup.

You may also enjoy making Zuppa Toscana, my Easy Chicken Gnocchi Soup, or this Minestrone Soup Recipe at home.

a ladle in a pot of pasta e fagioli soup

Why you’ll love it

This pasta e fagioli with ground beef was inspired by everybody’s favorite restaurant soup! I wouldn’t say it’s a straight up copycat recipe, but it’s got all the tasty flavors you crave like tender beef, hearty pasta, and plenty of beans in a perfectly seasoned tomato broth.

It’s also one of those soups that is really hands off once you get it going. Most of the cooking time is letting it simmer away and having your kitchen smell amazing. Our version of this restaurant favorite is even tastier than Olive Garden, and we hope you agree!

What does pasta e fagioli mean?

  • Pasta and beans! It started out as a dish that was inexpensive yet delicious and hearty that was created by Italian peasants. For something closer to a traditional Italian recipe with pancetta, try my Easy Pasta e Fagioli.

What you’ll need

  • Ground beef – I like 90% lean
  • Onion, celery, carrots, garlic – the foundation of a good broth
  • Tomatoes – we’re using cans of crushed and diced tomatoes for the best texture and flavor
  • Beans – red kidney beans and cannellini beans are a great duo
  • Chicken broth – to make it richer
  • Red wine vinegar – just a touch to enhance flavor
  • Sugar – it’s an old restaurant trick to take the acidity off the tomatoes
  • Italian seasoning – a flavorful blend of dried Italian herbs that’s conveniently in one jar
  • Dried oregano and basil – to infuse even more herby flavor
  • Red pepper flakes – optional, but they do add a special something-something, like a gentle warmth (not spicy)
  • Pasta – ditalini is the usual variety. They’re tiny and perfect for this soup!
ingredients for olive garden pasta e fagioli on a marble surface

Pro tip

Measuring out 4 cups of chicken broth is really simple. All you need is to open up a 32 oz carton and use the entire thing in this soup!

How to make pasta e fagioli

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

frying ground beef in a soup pot and adding onions and carrots

In a large pot or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef. Add in the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

adding broth, beans, and pasta to a soup pot

Add in the remaining ingredients apart from the pasta and salt & pepper. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer. Stir in the ditalini, and then simmer until the pasta is tender. Season with salt & pepper.

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

  • Investing in a good Dutch oven for soups is definitely worth it.
  • Using a garlic press is my favorite method for mincing garlic. There’s no need to peel the cloves beforehand.
  • If you’re adding parmesan on top, a Microplane zester with a block of fresh parmesan is a game changer for texture and taste.

Substitutions and variations

  • Macaroni or another small shape of pasta would work if you can’t find ditalini.
  • You could use tomato sauce (similar to passata) instead of the crushed tomatoes depending what you’ve got in your pantry. This soup is quite flexible!
  • Swapping the chicken broth for beef broth would be just fine.
  • Try using Italian sausage instead of the ground beef. Ground turkey would be ok too but a bit drier and not quite as flavorful.

What to serve with pasta fagioli

Leftovers and storage

  • Leftovers will last for 3-4 days in the fridge, but keep in mind the pasta will soak up the liquid and get puffy the longer you leave it.
  • You may need to add a splash of broth to revive leftovers. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave over a low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • I don’t recommend freezing the soup with the pasta in it. If you want, make the soup ahead, freeze it without the pasta, then add pasta to individual portions as needed when reheating.
a bowl of pasta e fagioli with a spoon

Let me know in the comments below if you made it! I’d love to hear from you. Or tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram to show me your creations.

a ladle in a pot of pasta e fagioli soup
4.92 from 24 votes

Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli

This Olive Garden pasta e fagioli recipe is a restaurant-quality soup that's simple to make in your own kitchen! It's loaded with rich flavors in an irresistibly warming soup.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 sticks celery chopped finely
  • 2 medium carrots peeled & chopped finely
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 (14 fluid ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 (14 fluid ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14 fluid ounce) can red kidney beans drained
  • 1 (14 fluid ounce) can cannellini beans or great northern beans drained
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional (or add more to taste)
  • 3/4 cup uncooked ditalini pasta
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Add the beef to a soup pot or Dutch oven. Cook over medium-high heat until just browned, breaking it up with your spoon as it cooks. I don't drain the fat.
  • Stir in the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic, and cook for another 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add in the diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, canned beans, chicken broth, red wine vinegar, sugar, Italian seasoning, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes (everything except the pasta and salt & pepper). Increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat and let the soup simmer (covered, with the lid slightly open) for 15-20 minutes.
  • Add the pasta in and continue to simmer until it's tender (about 15-20 minutes). Cover the pot again with the lid slightly ajar. Stir the soup a few times while it's cooking so the pasta doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. Note: if you're planning on lots of leftovers, I recommend cooking the pasta separately and adding it to individual portions as needed (continue simmering for another 15 minutes to build flavors then add the pasta at the end).
  • Season the soup with salt & pepper as needed.

Notes

  • The sugar isn’t strictly necessary, but it does bring out the sweetness of canned tomatoes and give this soup more of an American restaurant-style taste.

Nutrition

Calories: 382kcal, Carbohydrates: 55g, Protein: 32g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 50mg, Sodium: 991mg, Potassium: 1086mg, Fiber: 12g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 3744IU, Vitamin C: 17mg, Calcium: 153mg, Iron: 8mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

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51 Comments

  1. Joann says:

    5 stars
    It’s become a regular in our menu and for potlucks!

    1. Natasha says:

      Yay!! Thanks, Joann!

  2. Joy says:

    5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was a big hit. I made my own stock from a turkey carcass . I got about 3 cups of Turkey from the bones and used that instead of the sausage. I left out the rosemary( not a fan) and the rest I did the same. It is delicious. Great comfort food. Use freshly grated parmesan for best flavor. Yum

    1. Natasha says:

      Excellent!

  3. Cheryl says:

    5 stars
    Used hot Italian sausage and elbow noodles because that is what I had! yummo!

    1. Natasha says:

      Wonderful! 😀

  4. Maura says:

    Made this for dinner tonight, and it was absolutely delicious!! Followed the recipe to the “T” and will not change a thing! Thank you for sharing this. It is definitely been added to the cold weather dinner rotation in my house!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m thrilled to hear it! You’re very welcome.

  5. Polly Long says:

    Can this be frozen easily?

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! See “leftovers and storage” in the blog post.

  6. Nancy says:

    Can you make this in a slow cooker?

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi Nancy! I haven’t tested it, but you’d still want to do the searing steps on the stove and then transfer it to the slow cooker. Then add the pasta in during the last 30 min – 1 hour prior to serving (just a guess). Let me know if you try!

  7. Jan Doss says:

    so very delicious– my family loves your receipes!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m thrilled to hear that, Jan!! 😀 Thank you!

  8. CToth says:

    5 stars
    A+++ I recently had this soup for the first time at Olive Garden and saw NO meat in it. It was flavorless and just meh. When I saw this recipe with ground beef, I wanted to give it a try. Three things I did differently: added some Italian sausage, left out the pasta and used rich homemade bone broth. I also was very generous with the Italian seasoning.
    It was delicious. Sooo much better than what they serve at Olive Garden and perfect for a cold evening.
    Thank you for a wonderful recipe.

    1. Natasha says:

      You’re very welcome!!

  9. Trianna Shira says:

    Wondering if I can do this in a slow cooker, I’m planning on making it tomorrow. Let me know if you have any tips 🙂

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! I have only tested it as written. You’d need to do the searing steps on the stove anyway, transfer to the slow cooker, then add the pasta when it’s almost done cooking… maybe 30 min to an hour before? Let me know if you try. 🙂

  10. Leah McClain says:

    4 stars
    I followed the recipe to the T but it wasn’t soupy, more like a pasta. Tasted good but I wanted a soup. Maybe next time I’ll add more broth

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! Yes – sounds like the pasta soaked it up a lot. More broth or perhaps cook the pasta separately next time.