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Unleash the true magic of comfort food with this delightful American Goulash, packed full of succulent ground beef, tender elbow macaroni, and a tomato sauce so rich and flavorful, it’ll transport you straight to food heaven. Simple to prepare, yet outrageously delicious, this one-pot wonder is your ticket to a satisfying dinner that will have everyone at the table asking for seconds.
The Best American Goulash Recipe
Who’s ready to shake up dinner with an extraordinary, comforting classic? Let’s talk American Goulash – a dish that defies the ordinary. A delightful mingling of robust ground beef, perfectly cooked elbow macaroni, and a tomato sauce so rich and deeply flavorful, it’s nothing short of a culinary revelation.
Don’t be fooled by the name; while Goulash has its roots in Hungary, this version is all-American – easy, quick, and absolutely mouthwatering. If you’re seeking a simple, yet utterly satisfying dinner that will have the whole family asking for seconds, this American Goulash (Chop Suey) is your ticket to a no-fuss, all-flavor meal. So buckle up, food lovers – we’re about to take a delicious journey into the world of comfort food, done right.
Why You’ll Love This American Goulash
- Convenience: This American Goulash is a one-pot wonder, which means less time spent on clean-up and more time enjoying your meal. Plus, with its simple, easy-to-find ingredients, it’s a breeze to put together, even on busy weeknights.
- Versatility: This dish is highly adaptable. You can switch up the protein, add in your favorite veggies, or even adjust the spices to match your flavor preferences.
- Leftovers are a Dream: This goulash tastes even better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to mingle and deepen. It’s the gift that keeps on giving – you can look forward to tasty leftovers for lunch or another dinner.
- Olive oil – Sunflower, safflower, avocado, canola, or vegetable oils will work instead.
- Ground beef – We’re using ground beef in this recipe for its robust flavor and satisfying texture. If you prefer, you can substitute ground turkey or chicken, but it might slightly alter the flavor.
- Salt & pepper – Season to taste.
- Italian seasoning – This adds a wonderful blend of Mediterranean herbs and spices. Don’t have any on hand? You can make your own using my recipe here.
- Onion – I used yellow. White or red will work too.
- Garlic – Use as much or little as you like.
- Tomatoes – Both diced tomatoes and passata. Passata is uncooked tomato puree that has been strained of seeds and skins. It’s smooth, thick, and perfect for this sauce. You could substitute it with tomato sauce if needed.
- Soy sauce – Use low sodium if you can. Worcestershire sauce can be used instead.
- Beef broth – Low sodium. Chicken or veggie broth will work if that’s what you have on hand.
- Bay leaves – Fresh or dried.
- Elbow macaroni – Classic choice for American goulash. You could use other pasta shapes, but the macaroni really holds onto the sauce.
- Cheddar cheese – It adds creaminess and richness to the dish. Feel free to use any type of cheese you prefer or have on hand.
- Parsley – Freshly chopped for garnish.
Get ready to dive into a culinary adventure with this quick and easy American Goulash, where hearty flavors meet uncomplicated cooking for a deliciously satisfying meal. Let’s get cooking!
First, add olive oil to your large dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add in the ground beef, salt, and pepper. Cook this for about 3-4 minutes, breaking up the beef into smaller pieces as it cooks. If there’s a lot of grease in the pan, you can discard most of it, but try to leave about 1-2 tbsp for flavor.
Next, stir in the Italian seasoning and chopped onion. You’ll want to cook this for another 3-4 minutes, or until the onion becomes soft and translucent. Add the garlic last and cook it for about a minute or until it becomes aromatic.
Add the diced tomatoes, passata, soy sauce, beef broth, and bay leaves to your pot and stir everything together. Bring this mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer. You’ll want to cover the pot and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, giving it a good stir every now and then.
Finally, stir in the macaroni, cover the pot, and let it cook for 12-15 minutes or until the noodles are tender. Stir in the cheese, garnish with freshly chopped parsley, and voila! Your American Goulash is ready to serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a different type of pasta?
Yes, you can! While elbow macaroni is the traditional choice for this dish, other short pasta shapes like shells or fusilli could work well too. Just keep in mind that different types of pasta may have different cooking times, so adjust accordingly.
Can I make this vegetarian?
Absolutely. You can substitute the ground beef with a plant-based meat alternative or a hearty vegetable like mushrooms or even eggplant. Beans or lentils would also be a great addition for protein.
Can I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned?
If you have fresh tomatoes on hand and prefer to use them, go ahead. You will need about 4-5 ripe tomatoes. Make sure to chop them finely, and keep in mind that the consistency of the sauce may vary from the original recipe.
Can I add other vegetables to the goulash?
Definitely! Feel free to add bell peppers, carrots, peas, or corn. This is a great way to pack more nutrition into the dish and to use up any veggies you have on hand.
- Seasoning: Don’t be afraid to play around with the seasonings. This recipe is quite forgiving. If you’re a fan of spicy food, consider adding some chili powder or red pepper flakes. If you love herbs, additional rosemary or thyme could be great additions.
- Browning the beef: To maximize the flavor, ensure the ground beef is nicely browned. This process, called the Maillard reaction, is where the real deep, complex flavors come from.
- Deglazing the pot: After browning the meat, there might be bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Don’t worry – that’s extra flavor! Once you add the broth, scrape those bits off with a wooden spoon. They will add a ton of taste to your goulash.
- Cheese: Adding the cheese at the end gives a lovely creamy finish to the goulash. If you’re a cheese lover, feel free to add more cheese. You could also use a mix of cheeses for a different flavor profile.
- Pasta cooking: The pasta is cooked right in the pot with all the other ingredients, which means it will soak up all the lovely flavors of the sauce. If you find your sauce getting too thick, don’t hesitate to add a bit more broth or water. Remember, the pasta will continue to absorb liquid as it cools, so a little extra liquid can be a good thing.
Storing this American Goulash is simple and straightforward. After allowing the goulash to cool completely, transfer it into an airtight container. It can then be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
For longer storage, you can freeze the goulash. Just place it in a freezer-safe container or heavy-duty freezer bags. Make sure to squeeze out as much air as possible if using freezer bags. Properly stored, it will maintain the best quality for about 2-3 months, but it will remain safe beyond that time.
When you’re ready to eat, if it’s been refrigerated, you can reheat it on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. If it’s been frozen, it’s best to let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Other Delicious Recipes To Try
- One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese
- One Pot Chicken and Orzo
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Cajun Shrimp Tomato Alfredo Pasta
- One Pot Cheesy Taco Orzo
- Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper
- Cheesy Gnocchi Bake
- 10 All-American Recipes for Your Fourth of July Bash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1½ pounds ground beef (lean or extra lean)
- ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 28 ounces diced tomatoes (1 can)
- 2 cups passata (or tomato sauce)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 cups beef broth (low sodium)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups elbow macaroni (dry, uncooked)
- 1½ cups cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon parsley (freshly chopped, for garnish)
- Add the olive oil to a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, salt and pepper, and cook for 3-4 minutes, breaking it up as it cooks. If needed, discard excess grease from the pan, leaving behind 1-2 tablespoons.
- Stir in the Italian seasoning, and onion. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until the onion softens and becomes translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until aromatic.
- Stir in the diced tomatoes, passata, soy sauce, beef broth, and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer the sauce for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the macaroni and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 12-15 minutes or until the noodles are tender.
- Stir in the cheese, garnish with parsley, and serve.
- Adapt to your taste: Feel free to modify the spices or ingredients according to your preference. If you like a bit of heat, add some chili flakes. If you prefer a cheesier goulash, add more cheese.
- Ground Meat: While the recipe calls for ground beef, you could substitute with ground turkey or chicken. Just note that the flavor may change slightly.
- Pasta: This recipe uses elbow macaroni, but you can use any other small pasta shapes you have on hand. Remember to adjust the cooking time based on the type of pasta you’re using.
- Vegetable Add-ins: If you want to add more nutrition or make the dish more colorful, feel free to toss in some bell peppers, peas, corn, or other veggies of your choice.
- Storage: This goulash stores beautifully, making it a great option for meal prep. It can be refrigerated for up to 4 days and frozen for up to 3 months. Remember to store it in an airtight container.
- Reheating: If the goulash thickens up too much in the fridge, loosen it with a splash of broth or water when reheating.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.