Sustainability made simple

Vegan Goulash Recipe: American & Hungarian Style

vegan goulash
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / ivabalk

Vegan goulash is nutritious and just as delicious as its meaty counterpart. We’ll show you how to make two different styles of vegan goulash to enjoy.

Depending on which part of the world you live in, the term goulash means something different. Two common versions of this hearty dish include American and Hungarian. If you’re wondering what the difference between the two is, the distinctions between the two dishes have evolved significantly over time.

Goulash, or gulyás in Hungarian, is a meat and vegetable stew or soup that is commonly seasoned with paprika and other spices. Goulash, a dish with its roots in medieval Hungary, is a staple in the cuisines of Eastern Europe and beyond. It’s a staple of Hungarian cuisine and a point of pride for the country itself. Traditional “Gulyásleves” were the hearty stews cooked by Hungarian cattle herders and stockmen.

In contrast, American Goulash is a speedy dish that often consists of ground beef, tomato sauce, herbs, and elbow macaroni. American chop suey is a common nickname for this dish, that’s used synonymously across the United States. Although, its important to distinguish its differences from Chinese Chop Suey, which first came to the US in the 1960’s.

When it comes to our recipes for both styles of vegan goulash, both dishes are really simple to prepare, hearty, and tasty, and can be prepared in under an hour. Enjoy both versions of our comforting vegan goulash. 

American Vegan Goulash Recipe

Unlike its Hungarian counterpart, American vegan goulash frequently includes pasta, such as macaroni, in the recipe.
Unlike its Hungarian counterpart, American vegan goulash frequently includes pasta, such as macaroni, in the recipe.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Olichel)

Estimated time: 45 mins

Serves: 4 -6


  • 2 tsp of oil
  • 2 cups/1 lb. of pasta (Macaroni works great)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cups of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups cooked lentils or cooked beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups homemade vegetable broth
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce (optional)
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika seasoning, to taste 
  • 1½ tsp basil
  • 1½ tsp oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh parsley for garnish, optional

Note: Gluten-free pasta or gluten-free soy sauce is always an option for those with dietary restrictions.


  1. Sauté the onion, garlic, and bell pepper in a large pot over medium heat for five to seven minutes, or until the onions are tender and everything is lightly browned.
  2. Drain and rinse cooked lentils or beans, then add to the pot and allow them to cook for a couple of minutes also.
  3. Next, stir in the smoked paprika, oregano, basil, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce, before adding the veggie broth and soy sauce.
  4. Bring to a boil while stirring continuously, then cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Next add the pasta, and allow it be cooked for another 10 minutes, or until soft, but it can stick if not stirred frequently, so keep an eye on it.
  6. Once it’s tender, you’re vegan goulash is ready. Add extra salt and pepper if desired for flavor.
  7. To serve, divide among bowls and garnish with finely chopped fresh parsley.

Hungarian Vegan Goulash Recipe

A hallmark of Hungarian goulash is that it distinctly has a lot of Paprika seasoning.
A hallmark of Hungarian goulash is that it distinctly has a lot of Paprika seasoning.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / RitaE)

This recipe might yield more than you can eat in one sitting. Leftovers can be stored  in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Although if you want to preserve it for longer, your vegan goulash will keep in the freezer for two to three months.

Estimated time: 40 mins

Serves: 4 -6


  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 5 medium-sized potatoes, diced 
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 3 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (red/green)
  • 2 small peppers (green)
  • 2 cups homemade vegetable broth
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 4 tbsp of Hungarian seasoning*
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • fresh parsley for garnish, optional

*How to Emulate the Hungarian Seasoning: 

Mix together:

  • 2½ tbsp of sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp of smoked paprika 
  • ½ tsp of ground cumin
  • ½ tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1½ tsp salt 
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper


  1. Over a medium heat, add your diced onion, garlic cloves, and bell peppers to a pot and sauté them for five to seven minutes until lightly browned.
  2. Once browned, add one cup of veggie broth and a ½ teaspoon of salt to the pot. Next add your two cups of veggie broth. Once there’s plenty of liquid, you can add your potatoes.
  3. After the vegetables have softened a little, add your remaining Hungarian seasoning, cayenne pepper, tomato sauce, soy sauce, salt and pepper and let these ingredients cook and until your vegan goulash comes to a boil.
  4. Lower the heat, and let the mixture cook for at least 15 to 20 minutes, this way the liquid of vegan goulash reduces a bit. Once the potatoes are thoroughly cooked (soft but not mushy), you’re all good to go! 
  5. Add extra salt and pepper, or other seasonings if desired for flavor.
  6. Once you’re satisfied, serve your vegan goulash in bowls and garnish it with some finely chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Note: To keep the potatoes at the right consistency, you can always add more veggie broth if needed. Although don’t go overboard.

    Tasty Tips and Eco-Friendly Suggestions

    If you’re looking to give your vegan goulash a bit of kick. Here are some tasty tips for you to consider:

    • If you have them in your pantry, you can throw in two bay leaves as extra seasoning.
    • If you have some organic vegan wine on hand, a ¼ cup of red will give some depth to the savory flavor of your goulash.
    • You can always add a dash of any plant-based cream, such as oat cream, to give your vegan goulash a creamier texture.
    • Not only is it delicious, but a couple of handfuls of spinach can add nutritional value to your vegan goulash. 
    • A little squeeze of a lemon on top is never a bad idea, but make sure they’re in season before you buy them.

    Whenever possible, use organic, fair trade products to make these vegan goulash recipes. Making use of resources available in one’s own country is one of the simplest ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

    The best ingredients to use are those that are cultivated organically and locally in the United States. In addition to helping local farmers, this also ensures that transportation routes will be cut down significantly, thereby reducing CO2 emissions.

    Aside from sustainability, vegetarian and vegan dinners are a terrific way to show that you care about the environment and want to widen your culinary horizons as well as your palate. Having said that, we hope you enjoy your wonderful homemade vegan goulash, regardless of whatever recipe you decide to try first. Bon appetite!

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