Inspired by Olive Garden’s Pasta Fagioli soup, my slow cooker Pasta Fagioli recipe includes a deliciously hearty and flavorful combination of ground beef, beans, tomatoes and tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and pasta.
As mentioned, this slow cooker Pasta Fagioli recipe was originally inspired by Olive Garden’s Pasta Fagioli soup. Have you tried it before? It’s one of my favorites! I whipped up this easy pasta dish in the slow cooker when I wanted fantastic flavors to pour out of a simple dish.
If you’ve never had Pasta Fagioli you’re in for a treat and a half. The best way to describe it is that it’s basically an Italian version of chili and my family LOVES it! There are all sorts of variations of Pasta e Fagioli out there. Translated from Italian, it simply means “pasta and beans” and is traditionally an economical meatless dish. I like to add meat to mine but you can certainly leave it out.
So, what ingredients are we dumping in our crockpot to make Pasta Fagioli? We have ground beef, carrot, kidney beans, navy beans, beef broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, diced onion, Italian seasoning, and pasta. We all know I love a recipe that cooks itself and my crockpot Pasta Fagioli ticks that box. Just dump all the ingredients into your slow cooker, go about your day, and then just add the pasta 30 minutes before serving. Yes, even the pasta cooks in the crockpot. I love this recipe!
Now, this slow cooker Pasta Fagioli is not the exact recipe Olive Garden uses, of course, but it is close. This is also not the exact recipe found around the web, but it’s close enough to those too. My recipe is a little more streamlined and makes about half as much as the other recipes do. My recipe makes about 4 quarts, which is a reasonable amount for a family. Leftovers reheat and even freeze really well, too.
- Kidney beans
- Navy beans
- Beef broth
- Crushed tomatoes (diced tomatoes also work)
- Tomato sauce
- Matchstick carrots (or carrots you cut yourself)
- Diced onions
- Small ring pasta (or small pasta of your choice)
- Browned ground beef
- Dried parsley
- Dried Italian seasoning
Now if you’ve been with me a long time you may be thinking, “Christy sure does use Italian seasoning a lot!”.
If you’re thinking that, you’re right. I like it. It’s good. It’s cheap. For me, it is the ketchup of dried herb blends!
How to Make Slow Cooker Pasta Fagioli
So basically, you dump everything in a slow cooker except for your pasta.
I drained my beans but it’ll be just fine if you’d rather not.
Dump, dump, dump, dump, then…
Now put the lid on it and let it cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
About half an hour before serving, stir in your pasta and put the lid back on until cooked.
Top it with freshly grated parmesan cheese if you want or just go my route and use some shredded mozzarella cheese.
There is no rule that says you can’t use whatever cheese your heart desires. And if you find that rule written somewhere, just go ahead and break it.
Oh look, our slow cooker Pasta Fagioli is done!
If there are any leftovers, they refrigerate and even freeze well. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave. I thought I’d have leftovers from this but after my teenage son ate two bowls and my husband ate three… then I myself came back for another bowl… it disappeared pretty fast.
- Feel free to use any kind of seasoning of dried herbs and spices, like dried oregano, basil, and thyme. You may also want to use fresh herbs instead, like chopped fresh parsley or fresh rosemary.
- Substitute the ground beef for Italian sausage, ground pork, or ground turkey. You can also make this vegetarian by adding another can of beans instead of meat and using vegetable broth.
- Speaking off, feel free to use chicken broth instead of beef too.
- If you want to add extra veggies, opt for a cup of chopped celery to complement the carrot or 1 cup of finely chopped cabbage.
- For heat, add a pinch (or 1/4 teaspoon) of crushed red pepper flakes.
- You can use any kind of pasta you like, although it’s traditionally made with ditalini pasta.
- Another option is to use spaghetti sauce instead of tomato sauce.
How many does this crockpot Pasta Fagioli recipe serve?
Well, that depends. If you are a hungry NFL football player, this serves one. If you are a 90-pound woman who eats like bird, this serves 20-25. And if you are a family of five who loves a good hearty soup, this will serve about 5. The serving amount is terribly relative and always a best guess either way you go so just grab a bowl and dig in!
What do you serve with Pasta Fagioli soup?
While this is a hearty main dish by itself, you can serve it with some breadsticks (Olive Garden-style) or toasted bread to soak up the broth. For homemade recipes, try cornbread, soft unleavened bread, or dinner rolls. Another option is to serve it with a simple side salad.
Can I place raw ground beef in the slow cooker?
Yes, you can place raw ground beef in the crockpot. However, browning it first helps it to lock in more flavor.
How do you make Pasta Fagioli on the stovetop?
To make it on the stovetop, combine all ingredients except for the pasta. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add pasta and continue to cook for 15 minutes more or until pasta is done.
You may also like these other easy slow cooker recipes:
- 1 pound ground beef or Italian sausage, browned and drained
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 cup matchstick carrots or 1 cup of finely diced carrots
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained
- 1 15-ounce can navy or cannellini beans, drained
- 1 15-ounce can beef stock
- 2 tablespoons italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup dried pasta
- Place everything but the pasta into a 5-6 quart slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover with the lid and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.1 pound ground beef, 1 small onion, chopped, 1 cup matchstick carrots, 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce, 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained, 1 15-ounce can navy or cannellini beans, drained, 1 15-ounce can beef stock, 2 tablespoons italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon dried parsley, 1 cup water
- 30 minutes before serving, stir in pasta and cover again until pasta is done (about 20 minutes).1 cup dried pasta
- Serve topped with shredded cheese if you like.
There are four things you cannot recover: The Stone—after the throw, The Word–after it’s said, The Occasion–after the loss, The Time–after it’s gone.
~Anonymous, submitted Faye Hillard (thanks, Faye!). Click here to submit your own.
Here’s a fun new page to like on Facebook! The Southern Recipe Box is a place where YOU can go and share LINKS to your favorite Southern recipes. Lots of yumminess like this Slow Cooker Pasta Fagioli has already been posted and we’d love for YOU to join in.