- Pasta - Elbow or spiral-shaped noodles are my favorite. You can use any short pasta shape.
- Ground beef is traditionally used, but ground chicken, turkey, or Italian sausage are also great options.
- Pasta sauce - Jarred pasta sauce adds ease and convenience. Use your favorite brand.
- Green pepper - Any color bell pepper can be used. Feel free to add some diced onion too!
See the recipe card for complete instructions and ingredient amounts.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain.
- Meanwhile, preheat a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the meat and diced peppers to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the meat is browned and cooked through, breaking it apart as it cooks. Drain any excess grease.
- Stir in the pasta sauce. Add the sugar, stir, and taste. Adjust the sugar, salt, and pepper as needed. Add the drained pasta. Stir to combine.
- Simmer for 5-7 minutes and serve.
Tips for making
- Cook the pasta in well-salted water to get flavor into the pasta itself. Use two to three teaspoons of salt for the 8 ounces of pasta in this recipe.
- Add sugar to the sauce to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. The amount of sugar will depend on the level of acidity in the sauce which will vary by brand. Add the sugar to taste, adjusting as necessary.
Storing and reheating
Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat smaller portions in the microwave or larger portions in a pan on the stove.
Hungarian goulash is a stewed dish consisting of beef, onions, and paprika for seasoning. American goulash - also called American chop suey in various parts of the country - is made with beef, tomatoes (or sauce), and pasta.
Ghoulash involves combing the meat and pasta together in a sauce. Spaghetti is served with a sauce that is cooked separately from the noodles.
American goulash is very similar to Hamburger Helper and can be considered a homemade version of this shortcut meal kit.
Goulash (or Ghoulash)
- 8 ounces elbow pasta (or any short pasta)
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 green bell pepper (diced)
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt (adjust to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper (adjust to taste)
- 24-26 ounces jarred marinara sauce (or pasta sauce)
- 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar (plus more as needed to taste)
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain. (Note 1)
- Meanwhile, preheat a large skillet or heavy bottom pan over medium heat.
- Add the ground beef, diced pepper, and salt and pepper. Sautee until the meat is brown and cooked through, breaking it apart as it cooks. Drain the excess grease.
- Add the sauce, stirring to combine. Stir in the sugar, taste and add more to taste as needed. Adjust salt and pepper to taste if necessary.
- Add the drained pasta. Stir to combine. Simmer for 5-7 minutes and serve.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (Note 2)
- Cook the pasta in well-salted water. This seasons the pasta itself. Use two-three teaspoons of salt for the 8 ounces of pasta in this recipe.
- Reheat smaller portions in the microwave or larger portions in a pan on the stove top.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.
This post was originally published in February 2019 and has been updated.