This one-pot pasta and bean soup is a hybrid that falls somewhere between an easy white pasta e fagioli and a simple greens and beans. My version of the classic Italian soup is a meaty, chicken pasta e fagioli with no tomatoes.
I love greens and beans and pasta e fagioli. This easy soup recipe is the best of both worlds. A rich mix of fusilli, white beans, and lots of baby kale. Using some of the reserved liquid from the can of beans creates a velvety and thick sauce–no cream required!
The best part of this soup? The endless customizability! This pasta and bean soup has just a few core components:
- Ground meat: I used chicken. Try it with turkey, beef, pork, or minced or sliced mushrooms for a vegetarian option.
- Spices and Aromatics: Onion and dry thyme and crushed red pepper. Add other savory spices as you like. Try it with celery, carrots, sage, or rosemary.
- Beans: I used a can of navy beans. I normally rinse my beans pretty thoroughly, but I used a bit of the bean liquid which resulted in a really thick, luxurious soup! Be careful with the salt if you do this. No beans? Use more pasta.
- Pasta: Use your favorite short pasta shape. I used a handful of fusilli. Try it with orzo, ditalini, farfalle or pearl couscous. No pasta? Use more beans.
- Greens: I threw in a handful of baby kale at the end. Try it with spinach, arugula, escarole, kale, or whatever your favorite soup green is. You could also add crunchy green veg like green beans or even chopped broccolini instead.
My version of the classic Italian soup is ‘white’ and meaty! Meaning it is a chicken pasta e fagioli with no tomatoes. If you want a red pasta e fagioli, add a can of diced or crushed tomatoes! If you’re looking for a vegetarian version, simply omit the chicken or replace with mushrooms.
How to make this white pasta e fagioli:
This recipe is a breeze! Once you’ve gathered your core components, start cooking. All you need is a large pot.
First, brown the chicken in oil until it is mostly cooked through. Season it with salt and pepper and crushed red pepper to taste. Next, add the onion and cook until it just begins to soften. Melt butter into the onion and once bubbly, add dry thyme and crushed red pepper. Cook until fragrant and then add the water or stock. Since this recipe calls for a bit of the reserved bean liquid, I recommend using water or low-sodium stock. The bean liquid will make it quite salty!
Next, add beans, bean liquid, pasta, and cooked chicken. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. You can low simmer this soup for about 30 minutes until al dente. Or, if you’re hungry like I was, hard simmer for 15–20. Hard simmer is just below a rolling boil but slightly above a traditional simmer. If you opt for a hard simmer, check on the soup occasionally and add water as needed if the liquid evaporates too quickly.
Once the pasta is al dente. simply add fresh parsley, your soup greens of choice, and finish it with lemon juice. That’s it!
Looking for more soup recipes? Check my archives!
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Easy White Pasta e Fagioli
- Large pot
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 yellow onion peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons butter optional
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper more or less depending on heat tolerance
- 5 cups water or stock
- 15- ounce can white beans a few tablespoons of the liquid reserved
- 1 cup dry fusilli
- 2 tablespoons freshly minced parsley optional
- 2.5 ounces baby kale
- ½ lemon juiced
- Salt pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste
Cook the chicken:
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, for 10–12 minutes until mostly cooked through and browned all over. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Remove from the pot and transfer to a bowl.
Cook the onion:
- Add the diced onion to the pot over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes until it just begins to soften. If using, melt the butter into the onion. Once bubbly, add dry thyme and crushed red pepper and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
Add the stock:
- Pour in 1 cup of stock or water to deglaze the pot. Add the remaining stock or water along with beans and the bean liquid, fusilli, and cooked chicken. Season to taste. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a hard simmer. Add water as needed if it evaporates too quickly. Note: You can low simmer it for longer but I was HUNGRY, so I hard simmered to cook the pasta faster. Hard simmer for about 15–20 minutes until the pasta is al dente. Low simmer for about 30 minutes.
Finish the soup:
- Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Add parsley, baby kale, and cook for 5 minutes until wilted. Add lemon juice.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with lemon wedges and more parsley, if you like. You could also serve with parmesan cheese on top if you have it!