Pasta e fagioli (also commonly referred to as pasta fazool) is a traditional Italian dish made with pasta and beans for a hearty, nourishing bowl of nutritious comfort food that is perfect for chilly nights.
This recipe was originally published in December 2019. It has been updated for content and photos.
A pasta dish that’s healthy is a winning combo in my books and I know you’re going to love this one as much as we do!
Is it vegan?
This version is, and traditionally always has been, at least in my family. I’m seeing several versions on the web using pork meat, but according to my ancestors, this dish is not only vegetarian, but also vegan.
What is it?
Firstly, this dish is called vegan pasta e fagioli (not vegan pasta fagioli). See the missing “e”? That’s the Italian word for “and”. Without it, this dish is just called pasta beans, instead of pasta and beans. Got it? 🙂
Moving on, this dish consists of a light tomato broth, traditionally combined with white kidney beans or pinto beans, plus ditali or ditalini noodles. I like adding red kidney beans to mine for a nice pop of colour.
Either way, the beans are the star of the show in this classic Italian recipe, using more beans than noodles.
Traditionally, pasta e fagioli originated as a peasant dish because it uses inexpensive ingredients. This version has a bit more oomph with a little white wine to sauté the veggies, but it’s still quite budget friendly.
The flavour balance is absolutely incredible and I know you’re going to love this one!
How to make it
(This is a summary with step by step photos, full recipe measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.)
First, gather your ingredients. Then chop up your veggies.
Add the chopped onion, celery and carrots to a large sauce pot or deep skillet, along with a tablespoon or two of water. Sauté until softened. (photos 1-2)
Pour in the wine and continue to sauté until it is mostly absorbed, about 4-5 minutes. (photo 3)
Add all the remaining ingredients, EXCEPT the noodles and mix well. Only add the pasta in the last 10 minutes of cooking. (photos 4-5)
Mix well, secure with a lid and let that simmer for about 20 minutes. The broth will reduce slightly, but just make sure you keep the lid on, to prevent it from reducing too much. (photo 6)
Now add your pasta and give it a stir. Return the lid to the pot, leaving it slightly askew to let some steam escape and cook for another 10 minutes. (photos 7-9)
NOTE: The pasta should be al dente, and not overcooked, so start checking on it around the 8 minute mark. It’s ready when it’s slightly tender, but not too soft. Remove from the heat immediately as it will continue cooking and absorbing broth even once removed from the heat.
Then serve with fresh parsley or vegan parmesan cheese and enjoy!
Can you make it in the Instant Pot?
Yes! I’m happy to report that I’ve made the dish both ways, on stove top and in the Instant Pot. Both ways taste great!
Just sauté the veggies, then add the white wine, if using, and sauté until absorbed.
Then add all remaining ingredients, plus 1 additional cup of broth and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Once the timer is complete, quick release and serve immediately.
Can I make it ahead of time?
You may fully prepare and cook your broth with the beans, but don’t add the noodles as it will absorb a lot of liquid so it’s best to cook it just before serving. So, if you’ve made the broth ahead, when you’re reheating it on the stove, add the pasta 10 minutes before you’re ready to serve.
Alternatively, you may cook the noodles separately from the soup, then stir the past into the soup just before serving to prevent it from overcooking and getting too soft.
Other Commonly Asked Questions
Your vegan pasta e fagioli tastes best when freshly made, as the noodles will continue to absorb the tomato broth as it sits. However, if you have leftovers, you may sore in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and add a little extra broth when reheating to make up for the absorption.
If you want to freeze the soup, skip cooking the noodles for now. On the day you’re serving, cook your pasta separately and mix it in. Or heat up your soup and then cook the noodles with the soup and serve immediately. I don’t recommend freezing this dish with the pasta, since it will get very soggy. I also don’t love the texture of frozen and thawed noodles, so it’s best if the noodle portion is freshly made.
If you can’t find ditali or ditalini, you may sub for another short variety, such as small shells or cut ziti.
Yes, of course. I like white and red kidney, but virtually any beans work beautifully in this dish.
Although, it’s quite common to find this size here in Canada, I’ve heard from some of my readers that it’s not so common elsewhere. Not to worry, 15 ounce cans work fine too! It may be a little more brothy, but the noodles will absorb the excess.
The alcohol content will cook out from the wine, however, you may skip it entirely if preferred. Note that it does add nice body and flavour, so if you have some on hand, I highly recommend it.
- Cook the soup with the lid on your pot to prevent excess evaporation. The noodles will absorb excess liquid, so you don’t need to worry about reducing your broth.
- Do not cook the pasta until you’re ready to eat as it will absorb the broth as it sits.
- Be mindful not to overcook your pasta. The longer it cooks, the more broth it will absorb. It’s best when slightly under done or “al dente”.
- For a creamy vegan pasta e fagioli, you may blend 1-2 cups worth of your dish once cooked, and mix it back into your pot.
More favourite Italian recipes
- Stuffed Mushrooms with Cranberry Risotto
- Pasta Aglio e Olio (Pasta w/ Garlic & Oil)
- Sneaky Zucchini Meatballs
- Vegan Baked Pasta [Oil Free]
- Lasagna Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
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- 1 yellow onion finely chopped
- 2 large carrots peeled & chopped
- 1 celery stalk chopped
- ½ cup white wine
- 19 ounce can red kidney beans drained & rinsed
- 19 ounce can white kidney beans drained & rinsed
- 1 cup tomato sauce or crushed canned tomatoes
- 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon crushed fresh basil
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- 1.5 cup ditali or ditalini pasta
- Add the onion, carrot and celery to a deep skillet, or sauce pot with a tablespoon or two of water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Pour in the wine and continue to sauté until the wine is mostly absorbed by the vegetables. This will take about 4-5 minutes.
- Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT the noodles to your pot, mix well and simmer, with the lid ON, for about 20 minutes. Then add the pasta, give it a stir and continue cooking with the lid on, but slightly askew for another 10 minutes until it is al dente. Do not overcook.
- Remove and discard the bay leaves. Then serve and enjoy!
Instant Pot Directions
- Set your pot to sauté and add the onion, carrot and celery with a tablespoon or two of water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Then add the wine and continue to sauté until the wine is mostly absorbed by the vegetables. This will take about 4-5 minutes.
- Add all remaining ingredients plus 1 extra cup of broth (7 cups total, instead of 6) and mix well. Close your lid, setting the valve to the sealing position. Set the pot to high pressure for 4 minutes (it will take about 10-15 minutes to reach pressure) and quick release once complete.
- Remove the lid as soon as you're able to do so to prevent the noodles from overcooking. Remove and discard the bay leaves and serve.