You got to love a good old-fashioned macaroni goulash, and this oil free version is hitting all the high notes of deliciousness: hearty, flavorful, and comforting. This wholesome Vegan Italian American Goulash is brimming with tasty macaroni, rich tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, and delicious Italian seasonings. Easy to make, this vegan nod to the classic American goulash is bursting with flavor that the whole family will love. It’s perfect for a quick weeknight or cozy weekend in.
Whole Food Plant Based, vegan, plant based, oil free, refined sugar free, gluten free, no highly processed ingredients.
Hi there, Ameera here!
Who doesn’t love a tasty goulash? It’s an American classic. I remember Mom making goulash for us as a kid. She made it in huge quantities. We all loved it and ate it up like crazy.
Getting the seasoning just right was the hardest part. You probably wouldn’t think so as most would probably just douse this puppy with an Italian Seasoning blend.
However, we found most Italian seasoning blends have quite a bit of marjoram in them. We are not huge fans of marjoram. We like a hint of it, but too much marjoram just seems to overpower the dish and causes a bitter note at the back of the palate.
Marjoram does have its place in Italian seasonings, we just prefer it to be more subtle rather than prominent, so we used a small quantity in this recipe via the Italian Seasoning Blend, and enhanced the other herbs to get the right layering of flavor.
Oh, by the way
One of the things I kinda smile about is that most Americans call this dish “American Goulash,” but the seasonings are largely Italian. I wonder why we call it American goulash instead of Italian goulash. Probably because Americans created this version. Who knows?
Spice and Herbs
As you may have probably already noticed, we typically have an impressive list of spices and herbs in our recipes. It’s both a blessing as well as… well, not so much of a blessing. LOL
We put a lot of effort into creating a special blend of herbs and spices for every recipe we make simply because when you are no longer using oil in recipes, spices and herbs become super important to get the flavor palate correct. You ever think about all those Italian dishes (and other cuisine) that use very little seasonings? They don’t need to use a ton of herbs and spices because the olive oil is doing all the heavy lifting. Take the olive oil away and one really has their work cut out for them getting the seasonings just right to make the dish flavorful and balanced.
In the world of minimalism, we have forsaken that concept to ensure the dish tastes amazing and this one is exact that, AH-MAZING!!!
I’ll let Mom tell you more!
Hi! Robin here.
Yup, back in the day, I used to make vats of goulash. It was just so gosh-darned good, and it always tasted even better the next day.
This Whole Food Plant Based nod to Italian American goulash is fantastic! We hope you give this deliciousness a try! We just know you are going to love it!
- Ceramic/enamel lined Dutch oven, deep skillet, or similar large stock pot.
This wholesome, easy to make Vegan Italian American Goulash is brimming with tasty macaroni, nourishing veggies, and aromatic seasonings. Whole Food Plant Based, vegan, plant based, oil free, refined sugar free, gluten free, no highly processed ingredients.
- 1 cup yellow onion, fine dice
- 1 cup green bell pepper, small dice
- 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 – [ 8 oz. can ] tomato sauce
- 1 – [ 14.5 oz. can ] petite diced tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon tamari *
- ½ cup vegetable broth *
- ½ cup water (or broth)
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda *
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 Tablespoon dried minced onions
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning (+/-) *
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried crushed thyme leaves *
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (+/-) *
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper (+/-)
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (+/-)
- 1 ½ cups GF elbow macaroni, uncooked (or elbow macaroni of choice) *
- 1 – [ 14 oz. can ] lentils, drained and rinsed *
- Cook the pasta according to package directions, then drain and rinse well. Shake well to release any excess water. Set aside.
- Place all the Spice/Herb Ingredients (except the red pepper flakes) into a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- In a large ceramic/enamel lined Dutch oven/pot or similarly large stockpot, add the diced onions and green bell peppers. Sauté over medium heat for 7 to 9 minutes to soften them. Add a splash of water if they start to stick and/or to prevent burning.
- Once the onions and peppers are softened, then turn down the heat a little, and add the minced garlic and tomato paste, sauté stirring constantly for 1 minute.
- Add all the remaining ingredients, including the Spice/Herb Mix (except the red pepper flakes). Do not add the cooked pasta and lentils yet, increase the heat and bring to a boil, then immediately lower to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- After the mixture is heated, add the cooked pasta and lentils, stir to incorporate, and cook until the pasta and lentils are heated through, about 3 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes, then remove from the stove, cover the skillet, and allow the dish to sit for 5 minutes to absorb the flavors.
- Remove the bay leaf, serve with your favorite toppings.
*Tips for Success: Make sure the onions and green bell peppers are softened and perfectly tender in Step 3.
*Vegetable Stock: We use Pacific Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Stock. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients.
*Baking Soda: The baking soda is often used as a neutralizer for dishes that contain a lot of acidity, typically from tomatoes. We use it in this dish to remove some of the tomato acidity without losing the tomatoey flavor. When you add it, the mixture will bubble up, then settle down as it neutralizes the acidity.
*Tamari: We used San J Tamari Soy Sauce, Gluten Free, Reduced Sodium. You can substitute the tamari with reduced sodium soy sauce, Braggs Liquid Aminos, or Braggs Coconut Liquid Aminos.
*Dried Thyme Crushed Leaves: We use Penzeys French Thyme. It has amazing flavor. If you can’t find dried crushed thyme leaves, you can use ground thyme, but use half the amount.
*Italian Seasoning: You can adjust the Italian Seasoning to suit your own personal preferences. Italian Seasoning typically has predominant marjoram seasoning which we are not huge fans. We love a nice hint of it, but we feel it can sometimes be a bit too much and can overwhelm the dish, resulting in a bitter note on the backend of the palate so we didn’t use a lot.
*Lentils: We used Delallo Imported Italian Lentils. They come in a 14 oz. can. Most grocery stores carry them in the specialty aisles. If using dry lentils, select lentils that hold their shape after cooking, we love Palouse Brand Small Brown Lentils. Cook dry lentils separately, adjust time accordingly. If cooking dry lentils, the end result measurement should be 1 2/3 cups of cooked lentils.
*Gluten Free Elbow Macaroni: We used Organic Bionaturae Organic Gluten Free Elbows.
*Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.
*Serving: Makes 4-5 servings.
*Storage: Refrigerate and use within 5 days.
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