When you have the craving for a hearty, homestyle meal full of flavorful meat and veggies, goulash is one of your best bets. Goulash is a traditional Hungarian dish that is easily modifiable to make it work for your diet or taste preferences. While traditional goulash is similar to a beef and vegetable stew, versions such as this one add a few modifications to make the dish more of a one-pot meal. Macaroni pasta, tender beef, and the succulent sauce will fill you right up and have everyone asking for seconds.


Focus on flavors

Everything you need for the goulash can be cooked in the same pan. By preparing the meat, pasta, and sauce all in one place, you get more flavors for an especially rich and mouthwatering meal while minimizing the mess in the kitchen. It also makes it easy to adjust the spices and seasoning of your goulash to your preferences. If you want to stick to a more traditional version of goulash, don't skip the paprika. Otherwise, experiment with different seasonings, or add more onions or cheese as you desire.

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Use ground beef or stew meat

To get started with your goulash, make sure you have a pound of fresh ground beef out of the fridge ready to go. Ground black peppercorns and kosher salt should be used as your base seasoning for the meat. Some people prefer to use other cuts of beef, such as stew beef. Nearly any kind of beef will work well as long as it's chopped into small, 1/2-inch pieces.

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Gather ingredients for a basic sauce

In addition to the meat, you also need to think about the ingredients for the sauce to create the perfect combination of sweet and savory. Start with 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and a 15 oz. can each of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Teaspoons of Italian seasoning and paprika will take the spice levels up a notch without going overboard.

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Gather remaining ingredients

You can make 6 delicious servings of goulash in 45 minutes with a simple approach and the right ingredients. Other things you will need to complement the beef and the sauce include 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil for cooking, as well as 2 minced cloves of garlic and 1 chopped yellow onion. The low-sodium variety is best for the required 1 1/4 cup of beef broth, while you will also need 1 1/2 cup of uncooked elbow macaroni and a cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

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Cook onion and garlic

Once you have all the ingredients and a large skillet to fit everything, you're ready to start whipping up a fabulous pot of goulash. Begin by warming the oil over medium heat before adding the onion and cooking until soft. Once the onions have cooked for about 5 minutes, it's time to toss the garlic in and cook for another minute. If you can notice the nice onion and garlic fragrance, then you should be set for the next step.

onion and garlic Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Add beef to the skillet

The softened onion and garlic will mix right in with the beef when you add it to the pan. Cook the meat for about 6 minutes until it loses its pink color. Next, drain the fat and place the beef back in the pan before sprinkling with salt and pepper. It won't be long before your kitchen is filled with the unmistakable smell of ridiculously good goulash.

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Pour the tomato paste in

The goulash really comes alive once you get started on the sauce. Pour the tomato paste in first, making sure to stir it around and generously coat the beef. Then add the broth, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Throw in the Italian seasoning and paprika before putting the macaroni in too. Now you can let these ingredients work their wonder.

Tomato and Meat Spaghetti Sauce simmering in cast iron skillet atop Stainless Steel electric stove with tomatoes and garlic on cutting board with large kitchen knife. Warren_Price / Getty Images

Let it simmer

Bring the goulash mixture to a simmer and let it cook. Check on it occasionally, stirring until the pasta is tender which should take about 15 minutes. While you wait for it to finish cooking, consider any side dishes you want to serve in addition to the goulash, such as freshly baked bread or creamy mashed potatoes.

pot simmering on the stove Tim Graham / Getty Images

Add cheese

The cheddar cheese completes this goulash, making it especially creamy so it warms your soul and fills you right up. Make sure to stir in the cheese before turning the heat off and getting ready to serve your goulash. However, if you are lactose intolerant, skip the cheese to keep this meal healthy and friendly for your diet. It will still taste delicious, don't worry!

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Garnish and enjoy

Freshly chopped parsley makes the perfect garnish to finish off your goulash on a high note. Dip some toasted bread into this marvelous meat and macaroni mashup and enjoy the feast with your family and friends. If there are any leftovers, you can store goulash in the fridge for a few days, or make it last longer by freezing in tight containers.


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