I think of my grandma's goulash when I crave my favorite comfort food. Traditional Hungarian goulash is full of flavor but loaded with fat. However, many variations of Hungarian goulash share similar tastes; most recipes contain meat and cheese. Even in Hungary, chefs create their unique ingredients when crafting goulash. So, being somewhat of a chef, I made a particular version of a vegan goulash recipe.
Even though many recipes differ in ingredient profiles, the sweet, subtly spicy flavors resonate in all goulashes. For instance, Paul and I like it hot, but the spice level is a personal preference. So, this goulash recipe begins spicy but is easily adjusted for personal preference. Remember, always add spice in small amounts, taste, and add more.
However, this goulash recipe mimics my Greek grandmother's recipe, not from Hungary. I've never been to Hungary, so this is an Americanized version.
Veganizing grandma's goulash recipe to make vegan goulash
My vegetarian goulash, for example, is a one-pot, minimal mess, quick recipe that works perfectly for a weeknight dinner. This vegan goulash recipe is so easy; it practically cooks itself.
I started with her base ingredients to mimic my grandmother's Hungarian goulash recipe. I deleted the meat, cheeses, and oil, adding vegan, healthy whole foods. Despite my preference for using a mushroom/lentil combination, you can also use Beyond Meat Crumbles or another soy alternative like Boca Crumbles if you prefer. Also, you can choose gluten-free noodles instead of the whole grain elbow macaroni in the recipe.
If you choose the gluten-free option, please see the cooking notes in the recipe. However, depending on the type of selected gluten-free noodle, you may want to add the noodles at the end of the cooking process to avoid overcooking.
Choose between smoky and spicy or sweet and rich flavors.
The sauce and spices, for instance, are the magic to this recipe. Although the sauce is tomato-based, the adobo sauce (or Hungarian paprika), soy sauce, vegan Worcestershire Sauce, Italian seasoning, and garlic create an incredible combination of flavors.
However, you decide which flavor best suits your palate: Do you want smoky and spicy or sweet and rich?
What is adobo sauce?
Adobo is a tangy, slightly sweet Mexican red sauce often comprised of tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, and spices. Chipotle chiles (dried, smoked jalapeños) are often sold canned in adobo sauce. The chipotles have an intense smoky chile heat, but the sauce on its own has a slightly less fiery smoky heat.
I use adobo chili sauce and its peppers in various recipes because I love the flavor, but remember to add it sparingly.
Whenever a recipe calls for spices, always add slowly and taste before adding more. Everyone's palate is different, and it's impossible to remove too much spice once it's added to a recipe.
What is Hungarian Paprika?
On the other hand, Hungarian-style paprika tastes relatively sweet, not smokey. In addition, it provides a distinct flavor which is a rich sweet pepper flavor.
Vegan Goulash ingredients
- White onions
- Red bell pepper
- Cooked lentils
- Organic tomato sauce
- Organic fire-roasted tomatoes
- Italian Seasoning
- Adobo chili pepper sauce (or substitute Hungarian paprika)
- Soy or Tamari
- Vegan Worchestershire Sauce ( I used Annie's)
- Organic Vegetable broth
- Elbow Macaroni (Gluten-free or whole-grain)
How to make vegan Hungarian Goulash
The first step, of course, is to saute the onions and garlic until translucent. Then, add the red pepper and mushrooms and cook down the fluid in the pot.
Next, add the rest of the ingredients, except for the dry noodles. Although the mixture may appear watery at first, everything will absorb together to create an incredible Vegetarian Goulash recipe.
- Once all the ingredients begin to boil, add this dry macaroni.
- Stir to combine, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cover for 20 minutes.
- If using gluten-free noodles, I suggest cooking separately and rinsing the noodles. Then, add the noodles to the mixture right before serving.
Serving Vegan Goulash
- When the time elapses, remove the pan's cover, and ladle it into bowls.
- Though not necessary, I always add a sprinkle of parsley or chopped basil to the top.
Vegan goulash is husband and kid-tested and approved!
Despite my husband's adverse childhood experiences with Hungarian goulash, I figured I could change his mind. Fortunately, he ate two helpings, and I watched as he smeared bread around the bottom of the bowl to sop up the last bit of the sauce. He also took the leftovers to work the next day. My vegan Hungarian goulash changed his mind.
Try this vegetarian goulash recipe if you need a quick dinner with very few ingredients. The kids loved it, and I made it all in one pot. I also served each bowl with a hard-crusted whole grain fresh bread I warmed in the oven. The sauce is so delicious; it begs for some bread for dipping. Unless, of course, you want the kids licking their bowls.
And, if you are all about meal planning, vegetarian goulash packs well for lunches and lasts 5 days refrigerated.
If you love vegan pasta dishes, try these easy recipes!
- Oil-Free Vegan 20 Minute One-Pot Wonder Pasta
- Creamy Spicy Vegan Sausage Pasta
- Fettuccine Alfredo
- Vegan Lasagna
- Plant-Based Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Oil-Free Vegan Swedish Lentil Meatballs
- Creamy Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff
- Veggie Stuffed Shells
- Vegan Stuffed Shells Recipe
- Greek Veggie Pasta Salad
- Roasted Vegetable Pesto Pasta Salad
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂