Southern Goulash

I’ll never forget when I was about 12, I was spending the night at my best friend’s house and she told me her mom was making goulash for dinner. We were both so excited, because it was our favorite dish. We ran into the kitchen and sat at the table to watch her cook. Hamburger went in the pot, and then she browned it. A little seasonings went in, then jarred spaghetti sauce, and then cooked elbow macaroni. I said, “What’s that? That’s not goulash.” They argued it was, and I sadly ate the gross hamburger and macaroni yuckiness. I figured out later, since they were from up north, they made a regular American goulash, but I didn’t like it all.  It had no veggies, and even back then, I was a bit of a food snob.

My mother’s goulash was much different, it was full of vegetables and rarely had meat. It was almost exactly like the recipe here, except she used her homemade jarred tomatoes made from beefsteak tomatoes, and rarely ever added any bacon. I also added Hungarian paprika to my version, just because it seemed like a good idea. My husband always says my vegetarian dishes would be better with some added bacon, so the bacon was for him. I was unsure of what exactly to call this goulash, and I am sure I’ll stir up a debate, but since my mom was a southern gal, I’m going to call it a southern goulash. She use to make goulash for me and her on the one day of the week my Dad would have a steak. My mother and I took the opportunity to cook our favorite foods, or try new recipes on the days that he wanted a big T-Bone steak. Her goulash was a pasta dish (usually vegetarian) that gets it’s creaminess from fresh okra.

So if you turn your nose up at regular goulash, and happen to like okra, this is the dish for you. It makes a perfect vegetarian pasta dish if you leave out the bacon. The rich creaminess from the okra makes this pasta dish very comforting, and the San Marzano tomatoes makes the taste so incredible.

recipe photo

Southern Goulash

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
5.00 stars (1 reviews)
loading gifLoading...


2 - 28 oz cans San Marzano crushed tomatoes
1 - 16 oz box of any type of pasta, I used a vegetable spiral pasta
4 ears of corn, corn cut away from cobs
4 cups chopped okra
1 cup baby lima beans (butter beans), from frozen or fresh
1 large red onion
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
6 strips bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled
olive oil
kosher salt


Cook bacon until crisp. Let cool on paper towels. Preheat a large soup pot. Drizzle with olive oil. Add corn, okra, and onion. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt. Saute until onion is translucent.

Cook pasta according to package directions in a different pot to just shy of al dente. Add lima beans and both cans of tomatoes to okra mixture. Add dried thyme, oregano and paprika. Season with salt to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

Add pasta and continue to simmer until pasta is done, about 5.

All text and images © / Eclectic Recipes
*Nutritional Information is not guaranteed for 100% accuracy.

Did you make this recipe?

Be sure to share on Instagram with the hashtag #EclecticRecipes and tag me, @EclecticRecipes!

Share the Love

facebook logotwitter logoPinterest Logomail icon

  15 Responses to “Southern Goulash”

  1. Angelia McGowan — October 23, 2010 @ 7:40 pm

    Southern Goulash

  2. OmuRice S — October 23, 2010 @ 7:40 pm

    RT @EclecticRecipes: Southern Goulash

  3. Monet — October 23, 2010 @ 8:23 pm

    This is the type of goulash that I grew up on too…chock full of vegetables. I loved seeing that okra (this is my mom’s favorite vegetable and we ate it all the time) Thank you for sharing this with me. You have reminded me of one of my childhood!

  4. Barbara @Modern Comfort Food — October 23, 2010 @ 9:45 pm

    Oh, I love this Angie! We had a similar dynamic in my family when I was growing up. Mom and we kids mainly wanted veggies, and Dad always wanted mainly meat. I think your name for this dish is exactly right, and the inclusion of okra, corn, and limas — favorites all — makes this dish so very appealing. My husband would love it too.

  5. Ayngelina — October 24, 2010 @ 10:23 am

    Looks delicious, love the food photography, so bright and clean.

  6. Foodierama — October 24, 2010 @ 11:05 pm

    Southern Goulash #foodie

  7. grace — October 25, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

    hooray for seeing okra in recipes other than gumbo! this looks great, angie–well done!

  8. Cathy aka MommyQ — October 26, 2010 @ 4:31 pm

    Ha! I cook like the mom who made the sad goulash. I’ve gotta say, this looks so yummy. Maybe one day if I’m feeling gutsy, I’ll give it a whirl. 🙂

  9. Lisa Chan-Simms — October 27, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

    RP's Cooking Update Southern Goulash | Eclectic Recipes #cooking #recipes

  10. Organic @ MeatHub Inc. — October 29, 2010 @ 11:49 am

    This Southern Goulash looks excellent! Just another case of bacon making everything better 😀

  11. Alta — October 30, 2010 @ 9:44 pm

    This looks good. When I was growing up, goulash was more like the one you described that was sad – ground beef, macaroni, and tomatoes. Maybe some corn and cheese. I love that yours has lots of veggies!

  12. Daisy — October 31, 2010 @ 6:28 am

    Our goulash was full of beef and paprika, but no pasta. I am actually not sure what the authentic recipe is for Hungarian Goulash, but I do like your variation! Good comfort food for the coming cold months!

  13. odyssey caravel — November 24, 2010 @ 2:38 pm

    Southern Goulash | Eclectic Recipes

  14. Letter Tray — December 1, 2010 @ 1:13 pm

    i always visit food blogs because i always like to do some home cooked meals :”-

  15. great cars blog — July 14, 2011 @ 3:09 am

    fantastic post.Never knew this, thanks for letting me know.

Leave a Comment

Featured In

Media Banner


Insta Banner

get free weekly recipes via email: