Nikki’s Pasta e Fagioli Soup

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Serve Nikki’s Pasta e Fagioli Soup — or Italian pasta and bean soup — with a loaf of warm, crusty bread or Italian bread sticks in order to soak up every last drop of the delicious, savory broth.

This easy Italian soup starts with ground beef cooked with diced onions, carrots, and celery which add a very pleasing depth of flavor. Two kinds of beans, tomatoes, and small ditalini pasta (or small elbow or shell macaroni noodles) make this delicious dinner soup hearty and filling. T

he recipe also includes instructions for making this dish either on the stove or in a slow cooker.

A bowl of Pasta e Fagioli Soup with tomatoes and beans garnished with parsley
Table of Contents


    Today is FREAKY FRIDAY, y’all! That may not mean a thing to you, but it’s pretty exciting for me. Freaky Friday is a fun blog project (the brainchild of Michaela from An Affair From the Heart) where a group of food bloggers secretly cook or bake a recipe from another blog they were assigned and then reveal the recipes at the same time on one Freaky Friday morning — that’s TODAY!

    Fall scene with pumpkins, apples, wheat, and nuts

    Meet Nikki Lee from Soulfully Made

    I’ve been busting at the seams for this big reveal because I was assigned Soulfully Made, an awesome blog created by my awesome friend, Nikki Lee! I met Nikki in 2017 at a food blog conference in Florida (her home state) and we immediately became fast friends. Nikki loves Jesus, her family, Southern food, and Southern hospitality — she’s a girl after my own heart.

    Not only that, Nikki is an amazing cook. At Soulfully Made, Nikki features lots of delicious family recipes for the Instant Pot like her Southern Style Green Beans and Bacon, hearty Keto Low Carb Beef Chili (which can also be made in a slow cooker), and old-fashioned Apple Butter. YUM!

    It was really difficult to choose which recipe to feature today because so many sounded so good. I finally decided on Pasta Fagioli Soup, a traditional Italian soup that my family absolutely loved! Although Nikki is a Southern food blogger, many of her recipes are influenced by the diverse culture in the Tampa Bay area where she lives. Please be a dear and hurry on over to Soulfully Made and check out Nikki’s other delicious recipes. But first, let’s chat more about this Pasta Fagioli Soup.

    a ladle lifting Pasta e Fagioli Soup out of a  a Dutch oven

    When the stars make you drool, just like pasta fazool, that’s amore.

    Lyric from That’s Amore by Warren and Brooks, a song made popular by Dean Martin

    Pasta e Fagioli FAQs

    What does Pasta e Fagioli mean?

    Literally translated, “pasta e fagioli” means “pasta and beans”. Like pizza, this Italian soup became a popular peasant dish due to the fact that it was quite filling and was made with inexpensive ingredients.

    What’s the difference between Minestrone and Pasta e Fagioli?

    Minestrone is usually prepared with more vegetables than Pasta e Fagioli. Besides beans, Pasta e Fagioli may include sofrito (caramelized onion, celery, and carrots) for flavoring, while Minestrone may include peas, green beans, potatoes and even zucchini.

    What do you serve with Pasta e Fagioli?

    This is a hearty soup that is a meal in itself. You can serve a green side salad if you like, but definitely plan to have Italian breadsticks or a crusty loaf for dipping into the delicious broth. Also, serve the soup garnished with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top.

    What is Pasta Fazool?

    The Neopolitan name for Pasta e Fagioli is Pasta e Fasule which became known as Pasta Fazool in America in the 1920s.

    What kind of pasta is in Pasta e Fagioli?

    Small pasta is preferred in this soup, like the ditalini pasta pictured below. However, small elbow macaroni may be substituted as well.

    a mason jar of ditalini pasta

    Making Pasta e Fagioli Soup is as EASY as 1-2-3!

    1. Start by browning ground beef in a large Dutch oven or soup pot.
    2. Add chopped onion, celery, carrots, and garlic and cook until tender.
    3. Stir in beans, tomatoes, V8 juice, and spices, then simmer on the stove (or in the slow cooker) to allow flavors to meld. Soup’s on!
    browning ground beef in a dutch oven

    Soup Making Secrets

    There are several tried and true “secrets” to making a soup that is extra flavorful and delicious. These “secrets” are included in the recipe instructions for Nikki’s Pasta e Fagioli Soup, but I’m spelling them out here as well since they will make a difference when you’re cooking other soup recipes.

    1. Cook soup in layers. For example, brown or sear the meat first. Add vegetables in order based on which ones will require more time for cooking so that you don’t over cook vegetables that are more delicate, like spinach or zucchini.
    2. Sauté aromatics. Slowly cook onions or garlic in olive oil or butter until very tender and caramelized to release their best flavor. PRO TIP: Some chefs make sofrito — a mixture of slow-cooked, caramelized onions, carrots, and celery — and store it in the refrigerator or freezer to use as a jump start when making soups or stews.
    3. Add a splash of vinegar. The acidity of vinegar gives soups a punch of flavor and brightness, but don’t do this with cream-based soups.
    4. Simmer, simmer, simmer. It’s best to let soups simmer at least an hour on the stove (or two to four hours in a slow cooker) to allow the flavors of all the ingredients to meld together for richness in the broth.
    5. Use salt sparingly. Many canned beans or vegetables already have been salted, so be careful when adding more to your soup.
    6. Add freshness. It’s a little thing, but garnishing a warm bowl of soup with fresh herbs definitely ups the ante. Imagine raising that first spoonful toward your mouth and getting a whiff of freshly chopped herbs along with the soup’s savory aroma. JUST. YUM.
    lifting a spoonful of Pasta e Fagioli Soup out of a bowl of soup

    More delicious soup recipes!

    There’s nothing better than a bowl of hearty soup on a chilly day to fill your tummy and warm your soul. Here are just a few of my favorite that I hope you enjoy:

    • Rustic Sausage Tortellini Soup – Another Italian soup made with a delicious blend of vegetables with your choice of either spicy or mild Italian sausage and cheese tortellini.
    • Old-Fashioned Potato Soup – This lightened up version of Grandma’s recipe is creamy and delicious.
    • Pork Meatball and Wild Rice Soup – Tender pork meatballs simmered in seasoned beef broth with wild rice.
    • Cheesy Chicken Corn Chowder – This soup with potatoes, baby Bella mushrooms, and chicken is a meal in itself and can be on your family’s table in around 30 minutes. 
    • Creamy Chicken Florentine – Cook this rich, creamy soup in the slow cooker with chicken, fresh spinach, and mushrooms then top it off with Parmesan croutons for extra flavor.
    • Zuppa Toscana Soup – Another recipe by Nikki at Soulfully Made, Zuppa Toscana Soup is a warm bowl of comfort filled with tender potatoes, bacon, spicy sausage, fresh kale, and a delicious creamy broth.

    Pasta e Fagioli Soup Recipe

    One genius tip Nikki gives for making this soup is to cook the pasta separately and then stir in a handful into each bowl as you serve the soup. This ensures the pasta is a nice al dente and that it doesn’t bulk up by absorbing all that broth. However, if you prefer you may cook the pasta with the soup — just add it during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

    Garnish Pasta e Fagioli Soup with chopped Italian parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese and Italian breadsticks or a warm and crusty loaf of bread. Delizioso!

    Love this recipe? Bookmark it for the future!

    Simply tap the heart symbol located in the lower right corner of your screen, and the recipe will be securely stored in your own recipe box.

    earthenware bowl of Pasta e Fagioli Soup on a dinner table with paisley napkin and crusty loaf of bread

    Pasta e Fagioli Soup

    Hearty and filling, this pasta and bean soup is delicious served with Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped Italian parsley on top.
    4.93 from 13 votes
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 1 hour
    Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
    Course Soups & Stews
    Cuisine Italian
    Servings 8 servings
    Calories 372 kcal


    • 1 lb. ground beef
    • 1 small onion diced
    • 1 large carrot julienned
    • 3 stalks celery chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
    • 1 15 oz. can red kidney beans with liquid
    • 1 15 oz. can great northern beans with liquid
    • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
    • 1 12 oz. can V-8 juice
    • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon oregano
    • 1 teaspoon basil
    • ½ teaspoon pepper
    • ½ teaspoon thyme
    • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
    • 1 8 oz. pkg. ditalini pasta
    • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese optional
    • ½ cup freshly chopped Italian parsley for garnish (optional)


    • Crumble ground beef into a large Dutch oven and cook over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain off most of the fat.
    • Add the diced vegetables — onion, carrot, celery, and garlic — to the Dutch oven and sauté for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
    • To the meat mixture, add the red kidney beans, northern beans, tomato sauce, V8 juice, and spices — do not add the vinegar or pasta. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
    • About 15 minutes before serving, stir the vinegar into the soup. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil and cook the pasta for 9-10 minutes or just until pasta is al dente. Drain and rinse the pasta, then stir in a handful of pasta into each serving as you ladle soup into bowls.
    • Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped Italian parsley and serve.
    • *See slow cooker instructions in the notes section.



    Original recipe by Soulfully Made
    If you prefer, you may cook the pasta in the soup. To do so, just add it to the soup during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
    To store the leftovers, allow the soup to cool completely before refrigerating. Once chilled, portion the soup into resealable freezer bags and lay flat in the freezer. Soup may be frozen for up to two months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight.
    FOR THE SLOW COOKER: Follow the instructions through step 3. Add soup to a slow cooker and cook for 2 to 4 hours on HIGH, or for for 4 to 8 hours on LOW.


    Serving: 1gCalories: 372kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 28gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 885mgFiber: 11gSugar: 6g

    Life Love and Good Food does not claim to be a registered dietician or nutritionist. Nutritional information shared on this site is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

    Keyword beans, beef, Italian soup
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.

    Take a look at all of our Fall 2019 Freaky Friday Recipes:

    1. An Affair from the Heart – Instant Pot Vegetable Beef Soup
    2. Aunt Bee’s Recipes –  Three Cheese Roast Beef Sliders
    3. Bowl Me Over –  Crock Pot Pumpkin Butter Recipe
    4. Healing Tomato –  Stuffed Acorn Squash
    5. Hostess at Heart – Caramel Apple Pie Snack Mix
    6. House of Nash Eats – Slow Cooker Applesauce Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
    7. LeMoine Family Kitchen –  White Cheddar Broccoli Stuffed Baked Potatoes
    8. Lemon Blossoms – Maple Oven Roasted Carrots
    9. Life, Love & Good Food – Pasta Fagioli Soup Recipe
    10. Mildly Meandering – Saffron Rice
    11. Soulfully Made – Salted Dark Chocolate Orange Cookies
    12. Take Two Tapas – Margarita Pizza Pull Apart Bread
    13. The Speckled Palate – Halloween Peanut Butter Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies
    14. West Via Midwest – Easy Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings
    15. Who Needs a Cape? –  Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade
    Sheila Thigpen, blogger

    About Sheila Thigpen

    Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

    Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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    1. Thank you so much for all your kind words and sharing my recipe! This is one of my son’s favorite soups so it’s a recipe dear to my heart! Yours looks amazing and the pictures are beautiful!

    2. This is my favorite soups of all time because of the kidney beans and the ditalini! Those tiny tubes are so fun and I love to use dark red kidney beans when I make soups. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Dessert too!

    3. I love, love, love, love the sound of this soup and how comforting it is! While it’s nowhere close to soup weather here in Dallas, I have high hopes that it’ll be before too long, and then I can dive into a bowl of this goodness.

      Also? Thank you for all the tips and tricks! I love the one about cooking the pasta separately and adding it to each bowl so that the pasta will be perfectly al dente. BRILLIANT.

    4. The tip about watching the salt was so smart! This turned out perfectly balanced and Im so excited that I have some for lunch today!

    5. That’s a beautiful pot of soup! I agree that soup is best cooked in layers. I saw that amazing loaf of bread behind the soup and wow, that’s a match made in culinary heaven!

    6. Soup season is here and that makes me so happy! I am absolutely loving the sound of this soup! Hearty and full of flavor. Nothing more comforting!

    7. What an inviting bowl of soup! I love Nikki and her website, too! I had no idea that the two of you knew one another. That is SO FUN!

    8. Oh my goodness this soup looks spectacular! I look forward to trying this recipe and have written down all the ingredients – soup is always on my menu here!!!

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