This satisfying and protein-packed Vegan Goulash recipe combines pasta, spices, hearty lentils, and mushrooms in a rich tomato sauce. An easy, comforting lunch or dinner that is done in just 30 minutes!
Classic American-style Goulash is typically made with macaroni pasta and beef, then combined with a tomato sauce.
But this healthier plant-based recipe replaces the beef with nutrient-packed lentils and tender mushrooms.
Plus it is filled with protein and fiber, so satisfying, and only 30 minutes to assemble.
Ingredients for Vegan Goulash
For this recipe you will combine in a large skillet:
- Elbow pasta: Use gluten-free pasta if needed. I use brown rice noodles.
- Onion: Yellow, white, or sweet onion will work fine for this recipe.
- Green bell pepper: Or substitute another color such as red bell pepper, orange, or yellow.
- Mushrooms:* I use cremini mushrooms, but use your own favorite. Shiitake mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, or white button would work too.
- Garlic cloves: I like the taste of fresh garlic best in this recipe, but feel free to substitute with garlic powder if needed.
- Lentils: I use a can of cooked brown lentils for convenience, but you can cook your own from scratch if desired. (You will need about 1.5 heaping cups cooked lentils.)
- Canned diced tomatoes: Either regular or fire-roasted.
- Canned tomato sauce
- Tamari: Or substitute soy sauce, but I use tamari for gluten-free. This adds rich, salty flavor.
- Smoked paprika, dried basil, and dried oregano
*Not a fan of mushrooms? Simply omit or replace with additional lentils or even zucchini!
This recipe is versatile, so change it up how you see fit. A few ideas include:
Herbs + spices: Try sweet paprika, caraway seeds, Italian seasonings, vegan Worcestershire sauce, nutritional yeast, or chipotle in adobo sauce (this will be spicy).
More tomato taste: You can also stir in tomato paste or additional tomato puree to the pot for even more thickness in the tomato sauce.
Vegetables: Add other veggies like diced zucchini or yellow summer squash. You can also stir in fresh baby spinach or other greens near the end of cook time.
Make it "meaty": You can also replace the lentils + mushrooms with your favorite vegan beef crumbles or TVP (textured vegetable protein).
Fresh herbs: I like to garnish my bowl with a tablespoon or so of fresh parsley before serving.
Other toppings: You can also add a dollop of vegan sour cream. Or add a dash of hot sauce for a little heat if desired.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
We find the leftovers keep well for about 3-4 days. Simply reheat in the microwave when ready to enjoy.
For more inspiration, also browse all easy vegan dinner recipes.
Vegan Lentil Goulash (American-Style)
- 8 oz. elbow noodles (gluten-free if desired)
- 1 small onion (or 1/2 large)
- 1 bell pepper (I use green)
- 6 oz. mushrooms (I use cremini)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 15 oz. can diced tomatoes (I use petite diced)
- 15 oz. can tomato sauce
- 15 oz. can brown lentils
- 1-2 Tbsp. tamari (I like 2)
- 1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- Cook pasta according to package instructions, leaving al dente (slightly firm, not mushy). Drain when finished.
- Meanwhile, finely dice onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Mince garlic.
- In a large pan over medium-high heat, sauté onion for 4-5 minutes. (I use 3 Tbsp. water/broth for no-oil sauté method, adding more as needed.)
- Add bell pepper and mushroom to pan. Stir and sauté 7-8 minutes or until veggies are softened.
- Add garlic, smoked paprika, basil, and oregano. Stir and sauté 1 minute.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, lentils (rinsed and drained), and tamari. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add pasta (cooked & drained) to pan. Stir well to combine. Serve warm.
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
If you are enjoying this mushroom and lentil vegan goulash, also check out:
- Vegan Mini Meatloaf with Maple Balsamic Glaze
- Butter Chickpeas
- Vegan Creamy Garlic Pasta
- Easy Peanut Noodles