American Chop Suey, also know as American goulash, is a simple macaroni pasta dish made with a hearty meat sauce. Family-friendly and crowd-pleasing, this dish is affordable and delicious!
My husband, who grew up in Boston, frequently requests American Chop Suey for dinner because it reminds him of his childhood. A common weeknight dinner recipe in New England, American Chop Suey is affordable, versatile and great for feeding a crowd.
As a Midwest gal, I was a little confused when I heard the phrase “American Chop Suey” because it has little-to-no relation to the Chinese American chop suey recipe. Instead, it is more similar to American or Hungarian goulash.
The ingredients vary from home to home but the traditional American chop suey is made with elbow macaroni noodles cooked in a hearty sauce made with onions, beef and tomatoes. Historically, salt and pepper are the only seasonings added but my husband loves oregano so I include it. While bell peppers are also not traditional, I can’t resist the opportunity to sneak in another serving of vegetables into my family’s diet.
Tomato products used:
This is completely up to you but I recommend using whatever you hand on hand. Whether it’s whole peeled tomatoes, diced tomatoes or tomato sauce, they all work. Of course, in the summer months, nothing beats fresh tomatoes.
While elbow macaroni is most common, it would be great with just about any type of pasta such as penne, spirals, ziti or farfalle.
While not customary, I love serving with a hearty grating of Parmesan cheese. This is not traditional but no one seems to mind.
Can you prep chop suey in advance? Absolutely! American Chop Suey will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It’s also very freezer friendly.
If you have fresh herbs on hand I recommend sprinkling a bit before serving such as basil or parsley.
Your fork is waiting.
American Chop Suey (Goulash)
- 16 ounces macaroni noodles
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper seeded and diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 32 ounces tomato sauce or pureed tomatoes
- 16 ounces diced tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- parmesan cheese and fresh basil optional garnish
- Cook macaroni according to package instructions; set aside.
- While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large, deep skillet. Add onion, peppers and garlic plus a pinch of salt and pepper and saute until tender, about 5-6 minutes.
- Add ground beef and oregano to the pan. Cook until beef is browned through, using a wooden spoon to break into bite-sized pieces. Continue until beef is golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and heat until cooked through. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
- Add pasta to the pot and stir once more. Garnish with parmesan cheese and basil before serving.