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's done in just 30 minutes! (Vegan, oil-free, gluten-free option.)
Let's make a cozy, satisfying pan of goulash!
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's filled with protein and fiber and only takes 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!
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 sprinkle of Vegan Parmesan Cheese. Or try a dash of hot sauce for a little heat!
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I 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)
Sodium: This is omitted as I cannot provide an accurate number. I encourage you to calculate your own to provide a much more precise reading based on the exact ingredients, brands, and amounts you're using.
If you are enjoying this mushroom and lentil vegan goulash, also check out:
- Mexican Macaroni Salad
- Vegan Mini Meatloaf with Maple Balsamic Glaze
- Butter Chickpeas
- Easy Peanut Noodles