Hearty Goulash





  • 1 pound lean ground beef or Italian sausage (or a combination)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups pasta, uncooked (such as macaroni or penne)


  1. Brown the Meat: In a large skillet or pot over medium heat, cook the ground beef or Italian sausage until browned. Break it up into crumbles as it cooks. If using both, cook them together. Drain excess fat if necessary.
  2. Add Aromatics: Add the chopped onion and garlic to the skillet with the meat. Cook until the onion is translucent and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Combine Ingredients: Pour in the water, beef broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes (with their juices), Italian seasoning, oregano, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  4. Simmer: Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat. Let it simmer uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. This allows the flavors to meld together and the sauce to thicken slightly.
  5. Cook Pasta: While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  6. Combine Sauce and Pasta: Once the sauce has simmered and thickened, remove the bay leaves. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet or pot with the sauce. Stir well to coat the pasta evenly with the sauce.
  7. Serve: Remove from heat and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld further. Serve hot, garnished with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley if desired.
  8. Enjoy: Serve this hearty goulash with crusty bread or a side salad for a complete and satisfying meal.

Note: Feel free to customize this goulash recipe by adding your favorite vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, or mushrooms. You can also adjust the seasoning according to your taste preferences.

Here are some helpful tips to make your Hearty Goulash even more delightful:

  1. Use Quality Meat: Opt for lean ground beef or high-quality Italian sausage to enhance the flavor and texture of your goulash.
  2. Add Vegetables: While the recipe doesn’t call for vegetables, you can add diced bell peppers, carrots, or mushrooms to incorporate more nutrients and flavors into your dish.
  3. Cook Pasta Al Dente: Make sure to cook the pasta just until al dente before adding it to the goulash. This ensures that the pasta retains its texture and doesn’t become mushy when combined with the sauce.
  4. Adjust Seasonings: Taste the goulash as it simmers and adjust the seasonings according to your preference. You can add more salt, pepper, or herbs to suit your taste.
  5. Let it Simmer: Allow the goulash to simmer uncovered for the recommended time to allow the flavors to develop fully and the sauce to thicken. This step is crucial for achieving a rich and flavorful dish.
  6. Garnish Creatively: Garnish your goulash with grated Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh parsley, or a dollop of sour cream for added flavor and presentation.
  7. Make Ahead: Goulash often tastes even better the next day as the flavors have had time to meld together. Consider making it ahead of time and reheating it for a quick and easy meal.
  8. Serve with Bread: Serve your Hearty Goulash with crusty bread or garlic bread on the side to soak up the delicious sauce.

By following these tips, you can elevate the flavor and enjoyment of your Hearty Goulash for a truly delightful meal.

Here are some secrets to consider:

  1. Brown the Meat Properly: When browning the ground beef or Italian sausage, make sure to cook it until it’s well browned. This step enhances the flavor of the dish by caramelizing the meat.
  2. Sauté Onions and Garlic: Sautéing the onions and garlic until they’re soft and fragrant before adding other ingredients will deepen the flavor of the goulash.
  3. Use Quality Ingredients: Opt for high-quality tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and beef broth to ensure a rich and flavorful base for your goulash.
  4. Let it Simmer: Allow the goulash to simmer over low heat for at least 30 minutes to an hour. This allows the flavors to meld together and creates a more robust sauce.
  5. Adjust Seasonings: Taste the goulash as it cooks and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Adding a bit more salt, pepper, or herbs can enhance the overall flavor of the dish.
  6. Cook Pasta Separately: Consider cooking the pasta separately and adding it to individual bowls when serving. This prevents the pasta from becoming too soft when mixed with the sauce.
  7. Add Depth with Herbs: Experiment with different herbs and spices to add depth of flavor to your goulash. Consider adding a bay leaf, thyme, or smoked paprika for a unique twist.
  8. Let it Rest: Allow the goulash to rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to further develop and ensures that it’s at the perfect temperature when served.

By following these secrets, you can create a perfect Hearty Goulash that’s flavorful, comforting, and sure to please your taste buds.

Some popular questions and answers related to Hearty Goulash might include:

  1. Q: Can I use different types of meat in goulash?
    • A: Yes, goulash is quite versatile. While traditional recipes often use beef, you can also use pork, chicken, or even a combination of meats for variation.
  2. Q: How long does it take to make goulash?
    • A: The cooking time for goulash can vary depending on the recipe and cooking method. Typically, it takes about 1 to 1.5 hours to prepare and cook goulash on the stovetop.
  3. Q: Can I freeze goulash?
    • A: Yes, goulash freezes well. Allow it to cool completely before transferring it to airtight containers or freezer bags. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  4. Q: What’s the difference between American goulash and traditional Hungarian goulash?
    • A: American goulash, also known as American chop suey, typically features ground meat, macaroni, and a tomato-based sauce. Traditional Hungarian goulash, on the other hand, is a stew made with chunks of beef, onions, paprika, and other spices, often served with potatoes or noodles.
  5. Q: Can I make goulash in a slow cooker?
    • A: Yes, goulash can be made in a slow cooker for added convenience. Simply brown the meat and sauté the onions and garlic before transferring everything to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  6. Q: What side dishes go well with goulash?
    • A: Goulash pairs well with a variety of side dishes, including crusty bread, mashed potatoes, rice, noodles, or a simple green salad.

These questions and answers provide helpful insights into making and enjoying Hearty Goulash.