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crockpot goulash

Crockpot Goulash | Slow Cooker Hamburger Goulash

Summer Yule
This crockpot goulash is an American hamburger goulash, packed with macaroni noodles, onions, and tomatoes.
5 from 2 votes
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 651 kcal


  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or other cooking oil)
  • 2 cups onion, chopped (about 1 large onion)
  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef (907 grams)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce (680 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons concentrated tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 12 ounces whole grain elbow macaroni, dry (340 grams; I used Jovial Foods brand)
  • grated Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped basil (optional)


  • Put the avocado oil in a cast iron pan, and heat it over medium heat. Add the beef and onion to the skillet and let it brown, breaking the meat up with a spatula as it cooks. It will take 15-20 minutes.
  • After the meat has cooked, add all of the ingredients EXCEPT the elbows and the optional Parm and fresh basil to the slow cooker.
  • Cover the crockpot and cook for 3-4 hours on low. Stir it halfway through cooking time to help ensure more even cooking.
  • Towards the end of the cooking time, cook the macaroni pasta on the stovetop according to the pasta package directions. Drain the pasta well. 
  • Stir the drained pasta into the contents of the crock pot and serve immediately. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil (if desired).


This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). The nutrition information for this hamburger goulash recipe includes the goulash without toppings or side dishes. By the time you add these things, your meal will be over 700 calories.  
Though American-style goulash is rich in protein, it’s lacking a bit in the non-starchy veggie department. This means you’re missing out on some of the low-calorie fluid volume you’d get from veggies. As a result, your meal is more energy dense (i.e., a lot of calories packed into a relatively small volume). 
I recommended sides like roasted spaghetti squash and green salad above because these items will help you balance out the meal. They’ll add more color to your plate, along with a wider array of phytonutrients. The veggies should also help to make your meal to feel more filling. 
One strategy that I regularly employ when I want to eat energy dense foods like goulash, pasta, and pizza is to pair them with lots of veggies. Instead of entirely cutting these foods out of my diet, I’ve found I fare better changing the portions on my plate. I might eat less pasta, but then I add in more veggies and/or protein. 
The result is that I end up with a higher overall volume of food on my plate. You read that right. I end up eating MORE food (but fewer total calories).  
The standard advice to “eat less, move more” should probably be rewritten. “Eat less” isn’t sustainable for most if it leads to constant gnawing hunger. How about “eat less of some things, but much more of others” instead? 
Nutrition information is for one serving of the recipe.  


Calories: 651kcalCarbohydrates: 62.5gProtein: 35.9gFat: 30.2gSaturated Fat: 8.5gFiber: 7.2gVitamin A: 26.1% DVVitamin C: 49.7% DVCalcium: 4.5% DVIron: 38.8% DV
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