Home » foodie » My Grandmother’s Goulash

When I was a child my grandmother loved making Goulash. I have not made any myself in years so I decided to make some.

Making and eating Goulash brings back fond memories of my grandmother cooking, and the wonderful smells from her tiny kitchen that she more than made do in.

Before her, my great grandmother cooked in that very kitchen. She loved to bake as well and I remember her making tons of peanut brittle.

It amazes me how many gadgets we need, or desire these days, when my grandmother and great grandmother cooked three meals a day, every day, in that tiny kitchen. They had barely any counter space, and very little cupboard space. I do not even remember hearing them complain, although perhaps they did.

Regardless, I wanted to share with you how to make Goulash. Goulash is a traditional Hungarian recipe, to my knowledge we do not have any Hungarian ancestry.

Now I do not do recipes per say. Which is why I enjoy cooking and not so much baking. Baking requires measuring, which I am not all that fond of. I like to wing it and toss a little of this in and a little of that in but I will share with you how I made Goulash.

Please keep in mind this is an Americanized version and not really much like the true Hungarian version which to my understanding has potatoes and a lot of other wonderful things in it. I plan to make that as well one day.

First start your macaroni noodles and boil as instructed on the box, or as you know how to from experience. I used one full 16 ounce box.

While your macaroni is boiling is when all the fun stuff happens!

Brown 1 pound ground beef or vegetarian substitute adding salt, pepper, garlic, and Italian spices to taste.

Chop up one large red pepper. You can also add a large green pepper as well but I did not have one on hand. Chop up into small pieces one small onion (give or take to taste).

Now I have fresh basil growing in my garden, in fact so much I won’t ever use it all before Fall arrives, so I added a lot of fresh chopped basil to my goulash, so if you have some, chop it up and use it! You can also add dried basil when you brown your meat or meat substitute.

I also have an abundance of tomatoes growing so I added the equivalent of two medium-sized chopped tomatoes as well. The tomatoes are really not optional, however, and I do prefer fresh over canned but throw in whatever you have because Goulash is a heavily tomato based dish.

In fact, Goulash is soupier than most pasta dishes. While with alfredo or pesto dishes we try to go easy on the sauce, Goulash requires to be swimming in it!

Once your meat or meat alternative is browned add in your onion, tomato, and pepper, along with any fresh herb if you have it.

Now it is time to warm up your sauce. I never get my sauce too hot because once you add your protein product and hot noodles the sauce warms up plenty. You can use a homemade sauce or a store bought sauce but we always add spices and a pinch of sugar to our store bought sauce to add more flavor. I added fresh basil to our sauce because we have a ton of it and I can’t get enough of it! I also salted, peppered, and added some parsley and oregano.

Blend the meat, sauce, and pasta, when all is fully cooked and you have Goulash! How easy is that?!


My Grandmother's Goulash
Delicious American Goulash


I know, not exactly a “recipe” but you know what needs to go in it and it is so simple I don’t think a true recipe is called for. In addition you can add other veggies as well such as celery, different colored peppers, spinach, whatever your heart desires! It is soooo tasty!

Oh and of course you can add some freshly grated parmesan too if you want.

Eating Goulash makes me feel like a kid again. I realize my Goulash is far from authentic and more Italian in flair than Hungarian. I will try the true Hungarian version one of these days, but for now, I like the way my grandmother made it, and the memories it inspires.



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