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Pasta E Fagioli (Olive Garden Copycat Recipe)

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Even better than Olive Garden’s infamous recipe, this Pasta E Fagioli is an Italian-inspired soup loaded with hearty beef, plenty of veggies, beans, and orzo. Comforting and delicious, it’s perfect for easy meal prep and cold winter nights! 

a bowl of pasta e fagioli with a spoon dipped in and bread on the side

What Is Pasta E Fagioli? 

A traditional Italian soup, pasta e fagioli is translated to mean “beans and soup” Commonly known as pasta fazool, it started as a peasant dish comprised of filling, budget-friendly ingredients. It exists in endless variations. However, every version contains some combination of pasta and beans. 

What’s the Difference Between Pasta e Fagioli and Minestrone? 

Similar in taste and ingredients used, both dishes are Italian soups that contain beans and a variety of vegetables. However, the primary difference between the two is the texture of the beans. You see, in pasta e fagioli, the beans are commonly mashed or blended. As a result, it’s much thicker in consistency than minestrone which is a thinner, broth-based soup. We don’t mash the beans in our recipe, but you definitely can if you prefer the texture! 

uncooked orzo on top of tomato-based soup

Key Ingredients You’ll Need

This pasta e fagioli recipe features a wide variety of ingredients that create a bold taste and lots of texture for a budget-friendly soup that’s loaded with flavor and good for you, too! Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Beef – We prefer to use lean ground beef, but any percentage would work as long as you drain the excess fat. Or, feel free to swap it out with ground turkey instead! 
  • Olive Oil – This is used to help sauté the veggies, creating extra flavor and adding a boost of healthy fats. 
  • Seasonings – Salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, basil, and bay leaves combine to create a bold, herbaceous taste.
  • Vegetables – Carrots, onions, celery, and garlic add texture and nutrients to the soup. Then, crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce form the base of the broth. 
  • Beef Broth – Used to thin out the soup without diluting its taste. 
  • Beans – Cannellini beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans combine to add lots of texture, fiber, and plant-based protein. 
  • Orzo – Cooked to al dente, this thickens the soup, making it extra hearty and irresistible.
close up image of pasta e fagioli soup

How to Make Homemade Pasta E Fagioli

We love to make a big batch of soup for weeknight dinners that leave you feeling full and satisfied! Luckily, this recipe comes together in a single pot with minimal prep work needed. Here’s what to do: 

  1. Cook the Meat. Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Then, add the beef, and cook, breaking it into cubes. Drain any excess fat.  
  2. Add the Vegetables. Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pot, and cook until they are tender. Then, sauté the garlic with the rest of the ingredients until it is fragrant and golden. 
  3. Form the Broth. Pour the broth, tomato sauce, beans, herbs, and crushed tomatoes to the pot, stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring the ingredients to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the soup, and let it simmer until the vegetables are fork-tender. 
  4. Cook the Pasta. Stir the uncooked orzo into the soup, and cook until the pasta is al dente. 
  5. Garnish. Adjust the consistency of the soup with more broth, if desired. Sprinkle extra Parmesan and parsley on top, and serve warm!
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a large pot of pasta e fagioli

Make Ahead and Storage Options

If you plan on making this recipe ahead of time, we highly recommend storing the pasta separately to prevent it from becoming soggy. Leftovers can be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Or, for a longer-lasting option, store the soup and pasta separately in airtight containers in the freezer for up to 3 months

When you’re ready to eat, let the ingredients thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, combine them, and warm them up in a saucepan over medium heat. Or, pop them in the microwave until your desired temperature has been reached. If needed, add an extra splash of broth to thin out the soup and freshen it back up. 

bean and orzo soup being lifted from a pot with a spoon

Serving Suggestions

This pasta e fagioli is incredibly filling on its own and makes for a great complete meal. However, it also pairs well with all your favorite sides and appetizers for a well-rounded dinner. For instance, some of our favorite pairings include: 

close up image of a bowl of soup

More Comfort Food Recipes

Looking for more filling soup recipes the whole family will love? Take a look at more of our favorites below! 

a pot full of pasta e fagioli

Pasta E Fagioli (Olive Garden Copycat Recipe)

Food Dolls
Even better than Olive Garden’s infamous recipe, this Pasta E Fagioli is an Italian-inspired soup loaded with hearty beef, plenty of veggies, beans, and orzo. Comforting and delicious, it’s perfect for easy meal prep and cold winter nights!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4
Calories 316 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 3 whole carrots (diced)
  • 3 celery stalks (diced)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 6-8 cups low-sodium beef broth*
  • 1 can cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
  • 1 teaspoons thyme
  • 2 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup dried orzo pasta

Instructions
 

  • In a large soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef, and cook until browned, breaking into crumbles. Drain excess fat.
  • Stir in the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook 3-4 minutes or until tender. Add the garlic to the pot, and sauté for 1 minute or until fragrant.
  • Add the broth, tomato sauce, broth, beans, seasonings, tomato sauce, and crushed tomatoes to the pot. Stir to combine, and adjust seasonings to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot with a lid, and simmer 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables are fork-tender.
  • Add the uncooked orzo pasta, and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
  • Garnish with Parmesan cheese and parsley, if desired.
  • Store pasta and orzo separately in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Notes

For a thinner soup, add an additional 1-2 cups broth. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 316kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 1042mg | Potassium: 1524mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 7949IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 4mg
Keyword easy soup recipe, fagioli, italian soup recipe, orzo pasta, orzo soup, soup
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