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The Best Pasta Fagioli Recipe

A very easy vegan version of the classic Italian soup. I have been making this recipe for years and it is by far my BEST Pasta Fagioli Recipe.


A bowl of pasta fagioli with a spoonful of the soup being held up to the camera with a jar of chili oil in the back.

Here’s a quick, simple meal that I make all the time because it’s so darn fast and easy!

Not familiar with Pasta Fagioli? It is an Italian recipe that is somewhere in-between soup and loose pasta made with beans and pasta. Versions vary depending on where you are in Italy but it is universally loved for its simplicity and soul-warming goodness.

Traditionally, Pasta e Fagioli has pancetta which you could most certainly use (just cut into small pieces and brown before the veggies). This version is meat-free, but no less rich or flavorful.

Serve with some good crusty bread for the ultimate comfort food meal.

The Best Pasta Fagioli Recipe Requires the Best Ingredients

All the ingredients to make pasta fagioli including shell pasta, onion, red chili flakes, garlic, thyme, beans, and tomato paste.

Because there are so few ingredients in this soup make sure to use the highest quality ingredients you can afford. For example, this would be the place to pull out the really good olive oil and tube of fancy tomato paste.

  • Small dried pasta. I like small shells but the small little tubes called ditalini pasta are traditional.
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning
  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Dried sage
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Tomato paste
  • Vegetable broth
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • Red pepper flakes for garnish, optional
  • Fresh herbs like basil, thyme, and/or oregano for garnish, optional

How To Make It

This recipe comes together almost instantaneously. You just need a few ingredients and about 15 minutes or so.

step one

Cook the pasta. Cook the pasta in a pot of heavily salted boiling water in a large soup pot or Dutch oven (I use my 4.5 quart Le Creuset pot) until cooked but not mushy. The pasta will cook a little bit more in the soup so don’t overcook it in this step. Drain, rinse in cold water to stop the cooking and set aside.

A red pot on a stove top filled with water and pasta cooking in the water with a wood spoon dipped in and holding pasta.

step two

Sauté the veggies. Heat oil in a large saucepan or small soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and season with salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to soften. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

A red pot on the stove with chopped onions inside being sautéed.

step three

Toast the tomato paste. Add the tomato paste and coat the onions and garlic in it, stirring it around in the oil of the pot to fry it a little.

Tomato paste being stirred into the onions cooking on the stove in a big red pot.

step four

Simmer. Add remaining ingredients (except the pasta) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the onions are tender, about 10 minutes.

A big red pot on the stove cooking pasta fagioli with broth, beans, and onions. And a wood spoon stirring it.

step five

Serve. Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper as needed. Spoon about 1/4 cup of pasta to each bowl then ladle hot soup over the top. Sprinkle with chili flakes, the torn leaves of some fresh herbs, and a nice drizzle of the best olive oil you’ve got.

A pot of pasta fagioli on a wood counter next to a bowl of shell pasta, some oregano, and red chili flakes.

Variations

A bowl of pasta fagioli on a wood table with a bottle of chili oil and some chili flakes behind it.

The beautiful thing about this recipe is its simplicity lends itself to many, many variations. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Add more veg. A lot of Pasta Fagioli recipes have onions, carrots, and celery so you could start there. But also chopped kale, spinach, and other greens would be wonderful too.
  • Not a vegan? Use chicken broth instead of the vegetable broth and garnish with a generous amount of finely grated parmesan.
  • Love your recipes thick and creamy? Cook the pasta in the broth instead of separately. This will make the soup thicker. If it is too thick add a cup of water or so at the end.

Why This Really Is The Best Pasta Fagioli Recipe

A ceramic bowl filled with pasta fagioli soup with fresh herbs scattered around on a wood table

The silkiest texture. For this recipe I use tomato paste to create the tomato sauce instead of the more commonly used diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes. Using paste not only gives a more concentrated, intense tomato flavor but also creates a super silky broth.

Incredibly easy. We take a couple of short cuts here (canned beans, very few vegetables) but without sacrificing flavor. The results? We can have a delicious bowl of pasta and beans almost instantly!

Pantry friendly. This is one of those awesome recipes that you can make at the drop of a hat because you probably have everything you need already in your pantry. If not, stock up and be ready to go the next time the urge hits.

More Cozy Soups To Love

  • Beef and Barley Soup (a winter must make)
  • Mushroom and Barley Soup ( a vegan version of the one above)
  • Homemade Egg Noodle and Spring Vegetable Soup (this will change your life)
  • Split Pea and Ham Soup (the absolute coziest)
  • Tomato and Rice Soup with Dill (only thing missing is a grilled cheese sandwich)
  • One from our sister site: An authentic and easy Sopa de Fideo recipe

Soup’s On!

Make it for yourself and see if you agree that this is the Best Pasta Fagioli Recipe! Try it and let me know how it goes by snapping a pic and tagging me on Instagram @katesbestrecipes  so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating) !

A ceramic bowl filled with pasta fagioli soup with fresh herbs scattered around on a wood table

The Best Pasta Fagioli Recipe

Vegan pasta fagioli is a classic italian soup with tamotoes, onions, garlic, and much more! It is a simple soup to feed the family and fill you up yourself!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 270kcal

Equipment

  • 1 5 quart Dutch oven

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried small shells
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion small dice
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaves
  • leaves from 1 sprig rosemary finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 15-ounce can small white beans
  • Fresh herbs and red chili flakes for garnish

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta. Bring a large soup pot or Dutch oven (I use my 4.5 quart Le Creuset pot) Add shells and cook until tender but not mushy. The pasta will cook a little bit more in the soup so don't overcook it in this step. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Drizzle with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
  • Sauté vegetables. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add garlic, sage, and rosemary and cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly until tomato paste blends into the veggies.
  • Simmer. Add broth and beans (juice and all, don't drain) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until onion is tender and flavors have melded, at least 10 minutes or up to an hour. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
  • Serve. When ready to serve, divide pasta among 4 bowls and ladle soup over the top. You can serve the soup with some grated parmesan if desired, but then it would no longer be vegan, so there you go. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and top with fresh herbs and chili flakes.

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