Vegan American Goulash

Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 110 min Total Time: 2 hours 


Source: Paul Harsha, adapted from a recipe by Ben Fink 


  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. smart butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped (1/4 inch dice)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. plant based ground beef
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 (15-oz.) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp miso powder (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley 
  • 1 lb. large dried elbow macaroni


New Englanders call this “American Chop Suey.” We always knew it as “goulash.” It’s delicious, regardless.


Heat olive oil and smart butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. 

Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook until softened, 8-10 minutes. 

Add garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until mixed.

Add “beef,” chop into bite size pieces, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is lightly browned, 5-6 minutes. 

Deglaze with red wine, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom. Cook for a minute.

Add whole peeled tomatoes (with their juice), crushing them with your hands before adding. Be sure to remove any skin.

Add tomato sauce, miso, smoked paprika, parsley, sugar, and cinnamon and stir well. 

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened, 45-50 minutes.

Meanwhile: bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni; cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain macaroni and rinse with cold water. 

Transfer macaroni to the pot with the sauce; stir well. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. 

Cook, stirring occasionally to meld the flavors, about 10 minutes more.


I made minor modifications to 1) make it more like my mom’s and 2) make it vegan.

If you want the sauce chunkier, substitute one can of diced tomatoes for one of the cans of sauce.

If you don’t have miso powder: use regular red miso, or make some : It’s there to deepen the flavor. Tomato paste would also work. Or mushroom powder.

My mother added 1 tsp. of Lea & Perrins, but that has anchovies, making it not vegan.

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