Vegetarian Pasta E Fagioli Recipe

Pasta e fagioli, or pasta and beans is an Italian dish with a long history. It has its origins in Italy, particularly in the rural regions where simple, hearty, and affordable dishes were created using local ingredients. The dish typically features a small amount of pancetta, bacon, or sausage to flavor the soup, but this vegetarian version leans on the natural flavors of the beans, vegetables, herbs, and spices and is a delicious option for those that follow a vegetarian lifestyle. Still with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and traditional flavors, this vegetarian pasta e fagioli maintains the essence of the original dish.

Wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe and says, "Growing up in an Italian household it was very typical to have either pasta e fagioli or minestrone soup on a regular basis. I love the simplicity of a one-pot soup and it's always a crowdpleaser."

Gather the ingredients for vegetarian pasta e fagioli

To make this recipe you can start in the produce area and pick up onions, garlic, carrots, celery, Tuscan kale, Italian parsley, and a lemon. "Tuscan kale has many names, and each store may label it differently so if you don't see Tuscan, it also goes by dino, lacinato, black kale, or Italian kale. If you run into trouble finding it, you can substitute another type of kale or even use chard or spinach," advises Hahn.

Then you'll need some pantry basics like olive oil, salt, pepper, fire-roasted tomatoes, vegetable broth, bay leaves, Italian seasoning, great northern or cannellini beans, and a small pasta like ditalini. "I like using fire-roasted tomatoes in most of my soups because of the added flavor but if you have standard diced tomatoes on hand you can sub in those," Hahn explains. For the pasta, any small pasta will be fine, even macaroni. Hahn also thinks it's important to use filtered water in this recipe.

If you want to top your dish with some Parmesan cheese, pick up some of that, as well. There are many dairy-free options if you want to make this vegan.

Sauté the soffritto

As with most soups, you're going to start by softening some of the core ingredients. In Italian cuisine, this typical mix of onion, carrots, and celery is called a soffritto. The French call it a mirepoix. Add the oil to a large soup pot and add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, salt, and pepper. Sauté on medium heat for a few minutes. "Sautéeing this grouping provides a foundation of flavor to any soup, stew, or sauce," Hahn explains.

Add in the broth, tomatoes, and seasonings

Now, go ahead and add the tomatoes, broth, water, bay leaves, and Italian seasoning and cook for 10 minutes. A wonderful aroma should fill your kitchen at this point.

Blend your beans

To thicken the soup and give it a nice texture, you're going to blend some of your great northern beans. Add about one cup of the beans and two cups of the cooking soup to a blender. "Try and avoid blending the bay leaves, if possible," Hahn advises. Blend the mixture until smooth and return it to the pot.

Add the remaining beans and pasta to your soup pot. Bring it to a boil then cook on low for about 15 minutes or until the pasta is done. Finally, add the chopped kale and parsley. Give it a few stirs to help the kale and parsley wilt and blend into the soup.

Add the lemon and serve

When the pasta is done remove the bay leaves and squeeze in the fresh lemon juice. Stir to distribute the lemon juice and taste to see if you need to add more salt.

Your pasta e fagioli is ready to serve. Top with fresh basil slivers and Parmesan cheese if desired. The soup pairs well with some fresh bread and a green salad but can be a stand-alone meal as well. 

"This meal is a perfect meal prep item because it will keep well all week in the fridge if kept in an airtight container. You can heat it up on the stove or in the microwave whenever hunger strikes," Hahn shares. This simple and budget-friendly dish might just become one of your favorite go-to soups!

Vegetarian Pasta E Fagioli Recipe
5 from 42 ratings
This vegetarian pasta e fagioli is delicious, budget-friendly, and simple to prepare. It might just become one of your favorite go-to soups!
Prep Time
Cook Time
bowl of soup with bread
Total time: 41 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (28-ounce) can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans great northern or cannellini beans, divided
  • 1 cup ditalini (or other small-type) pasta
  • 2 cups Tuscan kale, chopped
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • Chopped basil for topping
Optional Ingredients
  • Parmesan cheese, for topping
  1. Add the oil to a large soup pot and add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, salt, and pepper. Sauté on medium heat for 6–8 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, broth, water, bay leaves, and Italian seasoning. Cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Add 2 cups of the cooking soup (avoid the bay leaves) and 1 cup of the beans to a blender and blend until smooth. Return it to the pot.
  4. Add the remaining beans and pasta. Bring to a boil then cook on low for about 15 minutes or until the pasta is done, then add the chopped kale and parsley. Stir for a couple of minutes to wilt the greens.
  5. Remove the bay leaves and add the lemon. Top with basil, and parmesan cheese (if desired) and serve.
Calories per Serving 238
Total Fat 2.7 g
Saturated Fat 0.4 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 44.4 g
Dietary Fiber 8.9 g
Total Sugars 6.8 g
Sodium 879.8 mg
Protein 11.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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