Meatless Monday – My Grandmother’s Pasta Fagioli (Macaroni and Beans)

Pasta Fagioli

My grandmother was an amazing cook.  The best things she made, however, were perhaps the simplest.  Having grown up during the depression, she knew how to make a meal out of next to nothing and still have it taste incredible.  This is one of her staples, she made it all the time.  It’s a simple, comforting, classic soup – basic in nature, with the flavor shining through.  The only addition she made was to occasionally add chopped escarole from the garden.  Simple and perfect – pasta fagioli.

Pasta Fagioli

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 stalk celery, minced

1 carrot, minced

1 teaspoon salt (you may need less depending on your tomatoes, be sure to taste as you go!)

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1 bay leaf

1 can great northern beans, drained

1 cup ditalini pasta, cooked (any small pasta will do – shells, elbows…)

2 – 16 ounce cans tomato sauce

1/2 – 1 tomato sauce can of water (depends on how thick you like it)

2 tablespoons parsley, minced

grated parmesan for serving

In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, celery and carrot – cook until the vegetables start to soften.  Add in tomatoes, water and spices (check for salt here).  Simmer for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender and broth has developed its flavor from the vegetables.  Add in the pasta and beans – heat through.  Stir in the parsley and serve with grated parmesan.  Enjoy!

I love this dish, not only because it reminds me of my grandmother, but it’s very budget friendly.  The total recipe costs just under $2.00 and feeds about 6 people.  It doesn’t take much to fill you up – perfect for stretching a dollar!  At my grocery store you can buy pasta fagioli in a can for $1.79  (serves 2) – this tastes better and is much cheaper!

What are your favorite meatless meals?  Are they recipes that have been handed down to you?  I’d love to hear from you!


48 thoughts on “Meatless Monday – My Grandmother’s Pasta Fagioli (Macaroni and Beans)

  1. My MawMaw lived through the Depression as well, and was very thrifty because of it. My favorite meatless meal that she would cook for us was red beans and rice. She seasoned it with a ham hock or bacon fat if she had no “seasoning meat” as she called andouille and ham. We didn’t care about the meat, or lack thereof. We just loved her red beans and rice!

  2. I love Pasta Fazool – easy to make, very filling, lots leftover for the freezer for future lunches, and so cheap. I make it with leftover homemade pasta sauce thinned out with chicken stock and add in the pasta and beans.

  3. Vegetarian Chili – my mom used to make it with shredded cheese and sour cream anytime I had a concert since I was in girls chorus as a kid/teen. It was so filling and delicious.

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  5. Lovely peasant meal– those always end up being my favorites! Not too long ago, a recipe for cornmeal pasta with beans floated my way and I’ve been looking forward to trying the combo.

  6. I love all kinds of soups. I get tired of drinking plain water but can’t afford to skip fluids because I run a lot and it is now so H-O-T outside. Soup is a way around that. I haven’t tried the soup you posted above before….. but I will, thanks 🙂

    • I get so tired of water too! I’ve been experimenting with adding different fruits to my water just to keep it more interesting – but getting enough is always a struggle!

  7. Pingback: New Roads to Run and Soup | daisydesk

  8. Pingback: 11 Low Cost Meal Ideas Under $1.42 Per Serving « A Modern Christian Woman

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