When I transitioned to a plant-based diet, I loved eating Pasta Fagioli Soup at Olive Garden. In fact, Olive Garden was one of the only restaurants I frequented because I liked their salad (without cheese), Pasta Fagioli Soup, and their famous breadsticks, which are vegan.
Little did I know that eating at restaurants comes with consequences such as a lot of fat and unnecessary calories.
One of my former students, Sarah, worked at Olive Garden and shared the ingredients in my favorite dishes. As a result, I decided to make my favorite Olive Garden recipes at home.
Sometimes, learning the hard way shapes how we cook at home.
So, I set out to make a healthy version of Pasta Fagioli Soup to serve my family. Of course, my version adds a few extra ingredients because that's just how I roll.
Olive Garden Calories in Fagioli Soup and my other favorites revealed
Out of curiosity, I checked the fat and calories in my selections at Olive Garden; call it an eye-opening event!
- Pasta Fagioli Soup: 150 calories; 5 grams of fat; 2 grams saturated fat
- Olive Garden Salad: 150 calories; 10 grams of fat; 1.5 grams saturated fat
- Breadstick (1): 140 calories; 2.5 grams of fat; .5 grams saturated fat
Of course, the salad was a shocker! Again, live and learn.
What is Pasta Fagioli soup, and how is it different than minestrone?
Although I love minestrone, Pasta Fagioli soup differs in how it's prepared and the ingredients. Minestrone, for instance, has many more vegetables but fewer beans.
Pasta Fagioli Soup is easy to make in under 30 minutes with simple ingredients typically in a pantry.
Even though this Fagioli soup recipe has fewer vegetables than a typical minestrone, you can always add additional vegetables. After all, that makes a recipe unique.
You know I always add my own little flair to every recipe for those who follow my blog, so don't be shy in exploring your own inner creativity.
What type of noodles are used in Pasta Fagioli Soup?
Initially, I struggled to find Ditalini pasta noodles at my local store. Ditalini pasta, small tubular noodles are often used in soup recipes.
If, for some reason, you can't find these little noodles, small macaroni, orzo, or acini de Pepe noodles can be substituted.
But, keep in mind to follow the cooking instructions on whatever noodle you choose for the last step in the cooking process not to overcook the noodles in the soup.
Because Ditalini pasta takes 8-10 minutes to cook, I add it right at the end of cooking. This, however, changes if different noodles are chosen, requiring more or less time to cook.
Simple ingredients for a one-pot soup in under 30 minutes
One of the best aspects of this soup recipe is the simple ingredients needed to make a fabulous pot of soup.
- Yellow or White Onion
- Canned Diced Tomatoes
- Tomato Paste
- Dark Red Kidney Beans
- White Beans (Cannellini)
- Maple Syrup
- Dry Ditalini Pasta (or similar small noodle; or gluten-free pasta)
- Brown Lentils (cooked; optional)
- Italian Seasoning
- Vegan Worchestershire Sauce ( I like Annie's)
- Nutritional Yeast
- Bay Leaves
- Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
- Bay Leaf
- Vegan Parmesan (optional)
- Parsely (garnish)
Cooking one-pot Pasta Fagioli Soup is so easy, it takes under 30 minutes.
As with many of my easy one-pot meals, Pasta Fagioli Soup cooks quickly in one-pot for a great weeknight meal.
Even though Pasta Fagioli usually has meat, I exchanged the meat for 2 cups of cooked lentils. If you don't like lentils, however, chopped mushrooms can be substituted.
First, saute the garlic, onions, and celery. Then, add the carrots and the remaining ingredients, except for the lentils and pasta.
Once the mixture is boiling, I add the lentils and dry pasta, reduce to simmer, and cook for 8-01 minutes (the time required to cook the pasta).
Serving Pasta Fagioli Soup
As soon as the pasta is cooked, the soup is ready to serve. Like Olive Garden's soup recipe, I serve my soup with fresh chopped parsley and Vegan Parmesan Cheese.
Since I planned my Fagioli soup as my main dish, I also served a simple salad with my Creamy Italian Dressing.
This is a great soup to serve with a side of crusty bread or Vegan Oil-Free Cornbread. My family loves to dip bread in their soup and run it around the bowl to get every last drop.
Do you love soup that warms you from the inside out? Try these soup recipes:
- Wild Rice Soup with Mushrooms
- Vegan Minestrone Soup
- Vegetable Soup with Beans
- Hungarian Mushroom Soup
- Creamy Vegetable Soup
- Cream of Cauliflower Soup
- Quinoa Vegetable Soup
- Vegetable Barley Soup
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂