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Old-Fashioned Goulash


Old-Fashioned Goulash: A Hearty and Nostalgic Comfort Food


In the realm of comforting and soul-satisfying dishes, Old-Fashioned Goulash holds a special place. With its rich flavors, hearty ingredients, and simple preparation, it’s a meal that brings warmth to both the body and the spirit. Whether you’re craving a taste of nostalgia or seeking a wholesome family dinner option, this recipe ticks all the boxes. So, roll up your sleeves and get ready to embark on a culinary journey back to simpler times.



  • 2 lbs ground beef or turkey
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp Adobo seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


  1. Brown the Meat: In a large pot or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef or turkey over medium heat until fully cooked. Drain any excess fat.
  2. Sauté Aromatics: Add minced garlic and diced onion to the pot with the cooked meat. Sauté until the onions are translucent and fragrant.
  3. Add Liquid Ingredients: Pour in water, beef broth, olive oil, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes. Stir well to combine.
  4. Seasoning Time: Add Italian seasoning, Adobo seasoning, bay leaves, seasoned salt, and black pepper to the pot. Stir again to distribute the seasonings evenly.
  5. Simmer: Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  6. Cook the Pasta: While the sauce is simmering, cook the elbow macaroni according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  7. Combine: Once the sauce has simmered and developed its flavors, add the cooked macaroni to the pot. Stir until everything is well combined.
  8. Cheese, Please: Sprinkle shredded Mozzarella and Cheddar cheese over the top of the goulash. Cover the pot and let it sit for a few minutes, allowing the cheese to melt.
  9. Serve: Remove the bay leaves and ladle the goulash into bowls. Garnish with additional cheese if desired and serve hot.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Vegetarian Twist: Replace the ground meat with plant-based alternatives such as crumbled tofu or textured vegetable protein for a vegetarian version.
  • Extra Veggies: Amp up the nutritional value by adding diced bell peppers, carrots, or zucchini to the goulash.
  • Spice It Up: Adjust the level of spiciness by adding crushed red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce to the mix.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

Keto Version:

  • Substitute the elbow macaroni with low-carb alternatives like zucchini noodles or shirataki noodles.
  • Use full-fat cheese and opt for ground beef to keep the fat content higher, adhering to keto principles.
  • Ensure the canned tomato products are sugar-free to avoid unnecessary carbs.

Low-Carb Version:

  • Replace the elbow macaroni with a low-carb pasta option, such as chickpea pasta or lentil pasta.
  • Reduce the amount of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce to lower the overall carb count.
  • Consider using lean ground turkey instead of beef for a lower-fat option.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. Can I freeze Old-Fashioned Goulash? Yes, Old-Fashioned Goulash freezes beautifully. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer it to airtight containers or freezer bags. It can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.


2. Can I make Old-Fashioned Goulash in a slow cooker? Absolutely! Follow steps 1 through 4 to prepare the sauce, then transfer everything to a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Add the cooked macaroni and cheese during the last 30 minutes of cooking.


3. What can I serve with Old-Fashioned Goulash? This dish is delicious on its own but pairs well with a side salad, garlic bread, or steamed vegetables for a balanced meal.


4. Is there a way to make Old-Fashioned Goulash gluten-free? Yes, you can use gluten-free elbow macaroni or any other gluten-free pasta option available. Ensure that all other ingredients, especially the seasonings and canned goods, are certified gluten-free.

Old-Fashioned Goulash is more than just a meal; it’s a comforting embrace in a bowl. With its simple ingredients and hearty flavors, it’s a dish that brings people together and evokes cherished memories of home-cooked meals. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or experiment with variations to suit your dietary preferences, one thing is certain – a steaming bowl of goulash is sure to warm your heart and satisfy your soul.