From the author, Shannon: This Pasta, Bean & Tomato Soup is one of those dinners that I will throw together when I’m running low on produce, usually right before grocery-shopping day. Technically spring is here, but plenty of people are still experiencing colder temperatures (even snow) so I figured soup is still something to be enjoyed. It uses ingredients we always have on hand like vegetable broth, beans and dried pasta. You can add extra broth if you like it with more liquid, or simply add less beans and pasta. However you take your soup, this is sure to be delicious!
From Plant-Based on a Budget: This mixed bean and tomato pasta soup is perfect for a last-minute warming soup on cool days. It combines pantry staples such as tinned tomatoes, beans, and pasta, with a few seasonings for a simple, wholesome vegan soup. Not only is this pasta and green bean soup pantry-friendly and low-budget, but it’s also oil-free, gluten-free optional, and versatile too!
Hearty Budget-Friendly Bean and Tomato Pasta Soup
When you’re looking for a simple recipe you can pull together solely from pantry staples, this mixed bean and tomato pasta soup is excellent! Using just a few tinned ingredients and other pantry staples, this vegan soup is quick and easy to prepare and is a wonderfully tasty low-budget plant-based meal! Think of it like the ‘poor mans’ pasta e Fagioli (an Italian bean soup with pasta)!
While amazingly simple, this mixed bean tomato pasta soup is also surprisingly versatile. You can use the pasta of your choice or swap it entirely for another grain, swap out the beans, adjust the seasonings, and make it more/less brothy to taste. More so, if you do have a few extra pennies, there are additional ways to enhance this tomato pasta soup recipe further (keep reading for all our top suggestions).
Vegetable broth: Use the vegetable broth/stock of your choice, including low sodium if preferred.
Tomatoes: You’ll need one can of chopped tomatoes for this recipe. During the summer, you could use fresh tomatoes but would need to allow them longer to cook and develop flavors (pre-roasting could help).
Pasta: Use 1 ½ cups of any uncooked pasta of your choice- while it’s best to use small pasta like small shell, elbow, ditalini, or cavatelli, any pasta will work in a pinch. Use gluten-free if needed.
Beans: Use 1 ½ cups of cooked (or canned) white beans (navy, cannellini, great Northern, or even butter beans would work) and 1 can of green beans for this pasta and bean soup.
Aromatics: You’ll need a simple combination of fresh minced garlic and a bay leaf for this mixed bean and tomato pasta soup.
Seasonings: A pinch of poulty seasoning, and salt and pepper is all you need for this pasta bean soup. If you don’t have poultry seasoning, you can add a little dried rosemary, thyme, sage, marjoram (if you have it), and black pepper, to personal taste. Alternatively, use dried basil or oregano.
The Pasta and Bean Soup Add-ins and Variations:
Other vegetables: You could add several vegetables to this tomato pasta and bean soup while remaining low budget. Our favorite options are mushrooms, celery, carrots, and onions. Finely chop and pan-fry until softened at the very beginning of the cooking process.
Vegan pasta e Fagioli: This Italian bean soup with pasta is the ‘pumped up’ version of this basic pantry version. This version relies on a sofrito (a combination of aromatic veggies that are sauteed and softened at the beginning of the cooking process for about 15 minutes). We recommend carrot, leek, and celery. You can also add a little ‘smoked’ flavor with a little liquid smoke (just a few drops).
Meat alternatives: If you have any at home (or some money to spare), spruce up this tomato pasta bean soup with your choice of meat alternative; meatballs, sausage, tofu, etc.
Greens: Kale (tough ribs removed), chard, or collard greens are an excellent (and nutritious) addition to this tomato bean soup.
Other grains: You can easily swap out the pasta for another grain like bulgur, quinoa, orzo, giant couscous, etc. However, note that the cooking time will vary. For quinoa (or other slower cooking grains), I recommend using leftovers (or pre-cooking) and stirring it into the soup in the last few minutes.
Cheese: Sprinkle the soup with a little dairy-free cheddar, mozzarella, or simply some nutritional yeast (or vegan parm) for a little cheesy flavor.
For spice: You can garnish the soup with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes for a little heat. For more heat, add chili/cayenne pepper to the soup.
Lemon juice: While optional, a little fresh lemon juice added to the mixed bean and tomato pasta soup when serving really enhances the flavor of this simple soup.
How to Make Tomato, Pasta, and Bean Soup?
Keep scrolling to the recipe card for the complete list of ingredients and recipe instructions.
First, add the minced garlic and a splash of vegetable broth to a large soup pot (or Dutch oven) and lightly sauté over medium-high heat.
When the garlic is just beginning to brown, add the tomatoes and 3 cups of vegetable broth, mix, and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, add the uncooked pasta, spices, and bay leaf, mix, and continue to cook until the pasta is al dente, stirring occasionally.
Then, add the pre-cooked beans and green beans, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add extra broth if needed.
Finally, add salt and pepper to taste, give it a try (to ensure everything is cooked well), remove the bay leaf, and serve.
Serve the mix bean tomato pasta soup alone or drizzled with a bit of olive oil and served with bread. If you have some, a little spoonful of pesto (like this vegan walnut pesto or sunflower seed pesto), added to the soup when serving also tastes delicious!
How to Make-Ahead and Store?
This tomato pasta soup is very meal-prep friendly. If using dried beans or an alternative grain, these can be prepared in advance. More so, this budget-friendly pasta e Fagioli tastes even better on day two, so you can even prepare the entire soup in advance!
If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Note that the pasta will continue to absorb soup, so it will become thicker as it sits. You may also be able to freeze the soup, though the green beans and pasta may become mushy upon thawing, so I don’t recommend it.
You can reheat the pasta tomato green bean soup either on the stovetop or in the microwave until piping hot.
Top Recipe Tips and FAQs
For a more brothy soup: Feel free to either increase the broth or reduce the pasta and beans.
Can I use dried white beans? You sure can, but we recommend soaking them overnight then pre-cooking them to ensure they’re tender enough in the pasta and bean soup.
Can I use fresh or frozen green beans? Yes, to either- they will take between 10-15 minutes to cook from fresh or frozen, so no need to adjust the recipe. Though, if you want them to be more tender, add them to the soup earlier.
For a thicker soup: Feel free to blend a portion of the soup and white beans (not green beans or pasta) until smooth, then pour it back into the tomato bean soup.
Begin by adding the minced garlic and a splash of vegetable broth to a soup pot over medium-high heat. Once the garlic browns slightly, add in the tomatoes and vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
Once the pot boils, add in the uncooked pasta and spices. Continue cooking until the pasta is al dente, then add the pre-cooked beans and green beans. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, adding additional broth if needed.
Add salt and pepper to taste and stir, making sure that everything is cooked throughout. Remove the bay leave, serve in soup bowls and enjoy!