Hearty ground beef and pasta are the main ingredients in this Easy Old Fashioned Goulash; loaded with peppers and tomatoes, this is a complete and nutritious meal!
This is exactly the type of goulash I grew up eating – almost! Goulash was a very popular weeknight dinner dish for our family. Back in the eighties and nineties, my family lived in Newfoundland and both of my parents worked. In most cases, like with most parents of that time, they worked seasonal employment, and during those working months, many dinners were fast, easy, cheap, and hearty.
If you’ve been reading the posts here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen for some time, you’ll most likely have read somewhere along the line that our family home was not accustomed to things like green and red peppers. It wasn’t until the mid-nineties that my mom would buy those ingredients and incorporate them into dishes like this goulash.
In most instances, my mother’s goulash, pre-1995, would have been prepared with ground beef which had been simply fried with onions, salt, and pepper. That would have been stirred into cooked elbow macaroni with a can of diced tomatoes, and either ketchup or canned tomato soup. And, we loved it! (Except the onions! My mother always cut onions way too large for my liking.)
Once we moved from Newfoundland to Ontario, and produce was more readily available, she began to introduce things like red and green peppers into her goulash. But never garlic. I cannot ever remember having fresh garlic in any of her recipes. Just garlic powder and very little of that!
Now goulash is a controversial recipe. Like many other older recipes, there’s so many variations on the dish and everyone has an opinion of how goulash should be prepared. Truth be told, my mother used to make chop suey too and as far as I can remember, it was exactly like her goulash!
From what I can gather, goulash is a dish which consists of seasoned ground beef, macaroni, onions, garlic, and tomatoes. In contrast, chop suey, (which is certainly not Chinese-like, despite the name) is prepared in the same fashioned, but is transferred to a casserole dish and baked with bubbling cheese on top.
I can’t ever remember mom adding cheese to her goulash, so maybe my memories of her goulash and her chop suey dishes are a little skewed. If there’s one thing I do remember though, it’s that both of her dishes were void of green and red peppers, and did not include any cheese!
So, let’s call this an updated version of my mom’s Easy Old Fashioned Goulash; shall we? No matter what you call it, and whether you add cheese or not, you’re going to find yourself shoveling spoonfuls of this goulash into your mouth and enjoying every single bite. It’s so hearty, very filling, and completely satisfying too.
Even though this dish comes together quite easily and very quickly, I do have a tip that I want to offer which will make this dish even faster – the perfect solution to a weeknight meal dilemma.
When you prepare the sauce and it’s ready to go, don’t add the cooked macaroni to the sauce. Instead, portion out as much macaroni as you feel like eating, and add a ladle or two of the sauce over top. Stir to combine and eat. Allow the rest of the sauce to cool down, transfer it to a freezer-proof container, and freeze it for later use.
When I made this particular batch, I doubled it and placed a few containers in the freezer. If I plan to have goulash for dinner, I’ll remove a container of the sauce from the freezer before I leave for work in the morning and place it on the lowest shelf in the fridge. When I get home, I reheat the sauce, boil the pasta, and combine the two. Dinner is ready in about 15 minutes!
Just as a little side note, this goulash sauce – without the cooked macaroni – is great ladled over steamed rice too. Who says you have to use all of that delicious sauce the same way? You do you, Dear Reader!
If you loved this recipe featuring macaroni, here are some others that might interest you as well:
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Easy Old Fashioned Goulash
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large red pepper, diced
- 1 large green pepper, diced
- 28 ounces tomato sauce
- 28 ounces canned tomatoes, crushed
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped (plus more for garnish)
- 450 grams macaroni
- In a large pot with a heavy bottom and tight fitting lid, over medium heat, add the olive oil, onions, and ground beef. Stir together and cook until meat is browned – about 10 minutes.
- Drain the grease and return the beef and onion mixture to the pot.
- Add the garlic, and the red and green peppers. Stir into the beef and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Next, add all remaining ingredients, except the macaroni and the parsley. Stir to combine. Place a lid on the pot and lower the heat to simmer. Simmer the sauce for 25 minutes.
- About ten minutes before the sauce is ready, cook the macaroni according to the package instructions and drain.
- Remove the lid from the pot. Add the chopped parsley and stir to combine.
- Stir the cooked macaroni into the sauce until well combined. Serve immediately. Garnish with more parsley.
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