Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans)

Remember in my falafel recipe how I mentioned that my sister-in-law sent me an “esoteric grab bag of spices?” Well, not only did she send spices, she also sent me a bag of tongues of fire beans! How can you not be excited about beans named tongues of fire? I thought of them yesterday when I was trying to come up with a recipe for My Legume Love Affair.

After some searching I learned that tongues of fire are related to cranberry beans, borlotti beans, and roman beans. And what do you do with these types of beans? You make pasta e fagioli.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small carrot, minced
  • 1 stalk of celery, minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 cups cooked tongues of fire beans
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 3 3/4 ounces uncooked gluten-free pasta (1 1/2 cup)
  • shredded parmesan cheese, to garnish
  1. Heat a medium-large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, and once heated add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Allow vegetables to soften, 5-7 minutes. Add in the tomato paste and cook about 5 minutes. Stir frequently so the paste doesn’t burn.
  2. Add the broth, beans and spices. Turn heat to high, until broth begins to boil, then reduce to medium.
  3. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, garnish and serve.

(Serves 5-6)

If you can’t find tongues of fire beans, any of the beans listed above or even pinto or kidney beans would be a good substitute.

I used 4 cups of vegetable broth and 1 cup of bean water for the broth. It gave the soup a heartier feel. If you are cooking your beans from scratch, you might want to give it a try.

Make sure to remove the pot from the heat when the noodles are on the crunchier side of al dente. They will continue to absorb liquid from the residual heat.

My Legume Love Affair is hosted over at Kannada Cuisine this month. Check in early June for a list of all the legume recipes.

And because any recipe for pasta e fagioli would be remiss if it did not mention it’s other moniker, pasta fazool, here’s Dean Martin. :)

This recipe is also shared in Full Plate Thursday and Real Food Weekly.

Looking for More Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes?

I recommend The Gluten-Free Vegetarian Kitchen, by Donna Klein.

What you'll find:
  • More than 200 tasty recipes,
  • Numerous tips for succesful gluten-free cooking and baking, and
  • Nutritional information (calories, grams of protein, fat, carbs, etc.) for every recipe.


  1. Thanks for passing from my blog and it’s a pleasure to discover yours. I’ve never heard of the name tongues of fire before but I have cooked cranberry beans, which I love. Your pasta dish sounds delicious.

  2. I had never heard of them either. But they were so pretty looking, they were probably my favorite item out of the box she sent me. It makes me sad that they lose their distinctive markings once they’re cooked.

    Our grocery store just got fresh cranberry beans recently. I’ll need to think up something new to make with them.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Hi Kalinda,
    I would just love this dish, a nice combination of the beans and pasta. The seasons will make this dish full of flavor. Thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and come back soon!

  4. Hi Kalinda..

    Thanks a lot for the wonderful entry.. Love pasta and beans.. Are not they made for each other?

    Smitha @ Kannadacuisne

  5. Hi Kalinda – I love borlotti beans. I found fresh beans at the m arket last year that were similar too – I have not found certified gluten-free dried borlotti or cranberry beans that easily (though now nutsonline carries them) so I use white beans instead, but your recipe is motivating me to order some from nutsonline.

  6. PS – you might be interested in my recipe for MLLA – Rustic White Bean Dip :)

  7. @MizHelen and Smitha: Thank you both for hosting.

    @Valerie: The cranberry bean recipe I linked to above features the same fresh beans. They’re so pretty. You can’t help but want to take pictures of them!

    And I noticed your dip. I recognized the style of the photo. :) It sounds delicious. I love any bean dips.

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