This Bean and Pasta Soup (Sopa de Feijão com Macarrão) is a classic everyday Brazilian recipe. This Brazilian version of Pasta e Fagioli Soup is creamy and calls for your favorite leftover beans recipe and other Brazilian flavors. It also includes an amazing breadcrumb topping for crunch! Delicious, nutritious and full of flavor, this soup is easy to make and easy on the wallet, too.
Sopa de Feijão com Macarrão – The Classic Brazilian Bean and Pasta Soup
I grew up eating Sopa de Feijão com Macarrão, and it’s pretty safe to say most other Brazilians did, too. We could say that this soup is the Brazilian version of Pasta e Fagioli, an Italian soup made with pasta and beans. The difference is, the Italian version is a chunky soup, full of veggies that typically calls for cannellini or great northern beans. While the Brazilian version is often blended smooth, and tends to be made with leftover pinto or black beans.
In Brazil, Sopa de Feijão com Macarrão bean and pasta soup is one of the dishes we make with leftover beans because they are everyday Brazilian staples, and, is a way to diversify our everyday rice and beans meals.
But, if you’re wondering if you can use canned beans to make this soup, the answer is yes. However, it’s best if you use leftover beans made from scratch because your beans will already be so very flavorful. While, canned beans are… well, canned beans. But, all in all, this recipe is a great way to turn boring canned beans into something extremely delicious.
If you want to make your bean and pasta soup with beans from scratch, I have plenty of beans recipes to recommend: Brazilian Black Beans Recipe (one of our most popular recipes!), Slow Cooker Black Beans [Brazilian Style], Instant Pot Pinto Beans, Vegan Black Beans or make your own recipe after you get all the deets on How to Cook Dry Beans from scratch.
Oh, the breadcrumb topping is optional, but I think it’s one of my favorite parts of this Brazilian pasta e fagioli soup. Not only does it add texture, but it’s also packed with incredible flavors that take the soup to a whole new level!
In fact, this topping is a fantastic addition to plenty of other soups, too. You’ll see, you’ll catch yourself making up your own bread crumb topping to add to just about every soup you make from now on—and when you do, be sure to let me know!
What you need to make Brazilian Pasta e Fagioli Soup
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In addition to these tools, you’ll need a few ingredients to make your Sopa de Feijão com Macarrão Bean and Pasta Soup. The good news is you’ve probably got a majority of these in your pantry and fridge!
- Olive oil—a good one so you can also use it to drizzle on top for serving!
- Onion—yellow or white.
- Brazilian Sofrito—or lots of minced garlic if you don’t have this in your fridge already.
- Leftover cooked beans (or canned beans if you don’t have any)—I recommend using homemade beans (and I have a lot of bean recipes you can use):
- Your favorite short pasta—ditalini is the pasta Italians use in their pasta e fagioli, and my mom used that a lot in her Sopa de Feijão com Macarrão Bean and Pasta Soup. I do, too, but, you can see that I used shells in my photos. So really, you can use whatever short pasta you have on hand.
- Fresh thyme
- Breadcrumbs—I make my own bread crumbs so that I can add bigger chunks—almost like croutons—to the soup to give it more fun texture. However, you can use the store-bought kind if you don’t have bread to make your own.
- Red pepper flakes—for a little bit of heat to the breadcrumb topping.
- Lime—both its zest and wedges for serving.
Tips for Making Brazilian Bean and Pasta Soup
Flavor with aromatics.
Sauté your onions and garlic to add extra flavor is important because you’re going to be adding water to the dish, which will somewhat dilute the flavors from your already cooked leftover beans.
And, if you’re making your soup with canned beans, this step is EVEN MORE important because all that canned beans have been seasoned with, is pretty much just salt.
Also, if using canned beans, feel free to be a little more generous on your flavoring measurements to make sure your Sopa de Feijão com Macarrão Bean and Pasta Soup from canned beans turns out just as good as if you were making it with beans from scratch.
You can even add some cumin and a splash of white vinegar to the canned beans as well—it helps bring them to life.
The soup will look a little runny, rather than creamy at this point which is expected! The soup will thicken up into more of a creamy consistency in the next step as it cooks the pasta. It’s similar to the process of adding pasta water to sauces so they thicken up with residual flour in the cooking water.
Cook the pasta.
Pour the blended soup back into the pot. Add the thyme sprigs and pasta, and let it cook until the pasta is al dente – which could take anywhere from 9-15 minutes, depending on the type of pasta you’re using. Be sure to read the pasta packaging!
How to make the breadcrumb topping
There’s really no secret for making this breadcrumb topping, other than I like making my breadcrumbs at home from old bread. This way I can have chunkier bits, which make the texture a lot more interesting. This is definitely not a requirement, and you can totally just use store bought.
Other than that, all you need to do is, while the pasta cooks, sauté the Brazilian sofrito, then toast the breadcumbs in the skillet with the pepper flakes. Then, just season with salt and pepper, and add in the thyme and lime zest and give it a final toss.
Serve the soup in bowls with a drizzle of olive oil. Then, top it with the breadcrumb topping and a lime wedge for a little acidity.
Frequently Asked Questions:
“Fagioli” is the Italian word for beans. And you didn’t ask, but I’ll tell you anyway: the Portuguese word for beans is Feijão!
Italy. However, this is a Brazilian version, comfort food and mainstay, that is different from the Italian version.
This Bean and Pasta Soup gets its flavor from the Brazilian sofrito, onion and spices. Also, the beans should have lovely flavor on their own already if you’re using beans you made at home.
The classic pasta fagioli calls for ditalini pasta, but any short pasta will work.
Absolutely! After your soup has cooled, portion it out into plastic bags or freezable containers and it can last in the freezer for several weeks. Just thaw and reheat!
Around here? Not long! Haha! But, if you keep your soup in an airtight container in the fridge, it will last about a week.
Not for this recipe. Whether you’re working with leftover beans made from scratch, or from canned, we want that liquid, which is the the liquid the beans were cooked in. When it comes to beans made from scratch, that liquid is full of flavor, hence why you want to keep it, and when it comes to canned, the liquid is usually just water and salt. Just make sure you’re using a brand of canned beans you like and trust.
What side dishes go well with Sopa de Feijão com Macarrão?
Other Brazilian Soups to Try:
- Creamy Black Bean Soup
- Hearts of Palm Soup
- Caldo Verde Recipe – Portuguese Green Soup
- Canja de Galinha – Brazilian Chicken and Rice Soup
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Bean and Pasta Soup
For the Soup:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons Brazilian Sofrito or 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 cups of leftover/cooked beans with liquid **see notes or 3x 15oz cans, with liquid
- 6 cups of water
- 2 cups short pasta, uncooked
- 3 thyme sprigs
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Breadcrumb Topping:
- 1 cup of breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of Brazilian Sofrito or 3 cloves or garlic, minced
- red pepper flakes to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- zest of 1 lime
- 2 sprigs of thyme
To Make the Soup
- In a medium pan, heat up 1-2 Tbsps of olive oil.
- Then, add in the onion and saute until transparent, 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the sofrito and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add in the beans, and let it cook 2-3 minutes, then, add the water, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a gentle boil, boil a few minutes and turn off the heat.
- Then add the thyme sprigs and the pasta, and let it cook until the pasta cooks through.
- While the pasta is cooking, make the breadcrumb topping.
- In a medium/large skillet heat up the olive oil.
- Add in the Brazilian sofrito, and saute until fragrant.
- Next, add in the breadcrumbs, the pepper flakes, and let it toast gently in the pan.
- When the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted, season with salt and pepper, add in the thyme and the lime zest. Toss to combine and turn off the heat.
- Serve the soup in bowls, with a drizzle of olive oil, breadcrumbs topping on top, and a lime wedge.
- Brazilian Black Beans Recipe,
- Slow Cooker Black Beans [Brazilian Style],
- Instant Pot Pinto Beans,
- Vegan Black Beans,
- Make your own recipe after you get all the deets on How to Cook Dry Beans from scratch.