American Chop Suey

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American Chop Suey a classic blend of noodles, seasoned meat, and herbs in a rich tomato sauce. We’ve upped the flavor ante with sweet Italian sausage and fennel for a fresh Italian spin on this dinner favorite.

 A comfort food dish with many names from goulash to chili mac to Johnny Marzetti, but almost always known in New England as American Chop Suey. No matter what you call it, it’s a standard that’s totally versatile easy and delicious.

American Chop Suey (Goulash) in white bowl
  • Substitute ground turkey to reduce calories.
  • Toss in mushrooms, broccoli or your favorite veg when sauteing at the start of cooking.
  • Omit red pepper flakes if you don’t like heat or add more to increase the kick!
  • While elbows are the most common pasta used in Chop Suey, you can also use ditalini, cavatappi, penne, paccheri, fusilli or any small cut pasta.
  • Mix in a cup of Parmesan cheese just before serving if you like to cheese things up! Or top with Parmesan cheese and bake in a 350°F/175°C oven for 15 minutes to obtain a crisp cheesy crust.
American Chop Suey (Goulash) in white bowl

History of American Chop Suey

American Chop Suey, also known as goulash or beefaroni, has humble origins traced back to early 20th-century American cuisine. This hearty dish emerged as a fusion of immigrant culinary traditions, blending Italian, Chinese, and American influences. It typically consists of ground beef sautéed with onions, garlic, and bell peppers, combined with macaroni or other pasta shapes and tomato sauce.

Over time, variations have emerged, with some recipes incorporating additional vegetables, spices, or cheese. American Chop Suey became popular as a budget-friendly and comforting family meal, reflecting the diverse cultural landscape of American cuisine. Today, it remains a beloved classic in many households across the United States.

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American Chop Suey (Goulash) in white bowl

Preserving Comfort in a Pot: Storing American Chop Suey (Goulash) for Lasting Freshness

American Chop Suey, also known as Goulash, can be stored to maintain its flavor and texture. Here’s how:

  1. Cooling: Allow the American Chop Suey to cool to room temperature after cooking. Avoid leaving it out at room temperature for more than 2 hours to prevent bacterial growth.

  2. Transfer to Containers: Once cooled, transfer the American Chop Suey to airtight containers. Use containers that are suitable for both storing and reheating. Glass or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids work well.

  3. Refrigeration: Store the American Chop Suey in the refrigerator if you plan to consume it within a few days. Proper refrigeration helps to slow down the growth of bacteria and maintain the freshness of the dish. American Chop Suey can typically be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

  4. Labeling: Properly label the containers with the date of preparation to keep track of its freshness. This helps you identify how long the American Chop Suey has been stored and when it should be consumed by.

  5. Freezing (Optional): For longer-term storage, American Chop Suey can be frozen. Allow the dish to cool completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or bags. Frozen American Chop Suey can maintain its quality for up to 3 months.

Shelf Life: When stored properly in the refrigerator, American Chop Suey can last for 3-4 days. If frozen, it can maintain its quality for up to 3 months. However, for the best flavor and texture, it’s recommended to consume American Chop Suey within a reasonable timeframe.

By following these storage guidelines, you can enjoy the comforting flavors of American Chop Suey for longer periods, whether as a hearty meal on its own or a satisfying leftover dish.

How to Make American Chop Suey

American Chop Suey (Goulash) in white bowl

American Chop Suey

American Chop Suey a classic blend of noodles, seasoned meat, and herbs in a rich tomato sauce. We've pumped up the flavor by adding sweet Italian sausage and fennel, one of my all-time favorite root vegetables, which adds a new level of flavor!  
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Mean Green Chef

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds 80/20 ground beef,
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 large white onion, topped + peeled + 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 cups green peppers, scrubbed + seeded + 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed + roughly chopped
  • 3 cups (720 ml) water
  • 1 28 ounce can (794 grams) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 29 ounce can (822 grams) tomato sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons (33 grams) tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasonings
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 Parmesan rind, optional
  • 2 cups (200 grams) elbow macaroni

Instructions

  • Heat a heavy-bottomed Dutch Oven or pot over medium-high heat, add 2 Tablespoons of EVOO and reheat 30 seconds. Add the ground beef, sweet Italian sausage and cook until no longer pink, breaking up into smaller bits as it browns. When the meat is cooked, ladle into a fine-mesh strainer and strain off any excess fat and liquid. Set aside.
    American Chop Suey being cooked in a large gray Dutch oven on the stove top.
  • Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of EVOO to the Dutch Oven, toss in the onions and green pepper and cook till the onions become translucent about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds.
    Diced onions, green peppers and garlic being cooked for American Chop Suey.
  • Now add the water, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasonings, fennel seed, Kosher sea salt, sugar, red pepper flakes, optional Parmesan rind and the cooked meat to the pot. Stir to combine, cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes.  
    American Chop Suey being cooked in a large Dutch Oven on the stove top.
  • Ladle into warm bowls, garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve with crusty bread and a side salad if desired. 
    American Chop Suey (Goulash) in white bowl

Notes

  • Prep time is approximate. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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    Join the Conversation

    1. I love this recipe..and your tip about using ground turkey to reduce calories! I am excited to try this!!

      1. Thanks, Holly! I’m so glad that you’re going to try it out please be sure to take a pic and tag us @meangreenchef thank you! 🙂

    2. Thank you for the recipe

      1. You’re welcome thanks for checking it our Janice! 🙂

    3. Yummy! I made sure to pin this so I can try this one out! You have such a beautiful website, and the pictures within the recipe card I LOVE!! So fun and easy to follow =)

      1. Thanks so much, Brittany!! Really glad that the photos in the recipe are helpful, I try to break everything down so it all makes sense. Really appreciate the feedback and so glad that you like our recipe 🙂

    4. This looks amazing, as all your recipes do. I am going to make this this weekend.

      1. Thank you so much, Heather! Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be glad to help out. Also, if you snap a pic of the plate we’d love to see it you can tag us @meangreenchef or #meangreenchef 🙂

    5. As always this looks yummy! I always forget to take pictures when I make any of these. But I just printed out this recipe and wrote in BIG letters on top of it “Take Pix and Post on MGC Blog”. Thanks for all the goodies!

      1. Well, it’s about time we get a picture, Nikki! Lol Totally kidding but looking forward to the pic for sure I hope you guys enjoy! Thank you so much for trying so many of our recipes, we sincerely appreciate you ???

    6. Suzan | It's My Sustainable Life says:

      Love American Chop Suey. I normally just make with our ground beef, but am definitely a fan of adding some spicy sausage to the mix. Thanks for sharing!

      1. Hi, Suzan! I agree I love a little spice and it really adds to this recipe, thanks so much for checking it out! 🙂

    7. Looks delicious! I don’t eat pork but I think I would be delicious with turkey!

      1. Hi, Katie! 🙂 yes it would be delish with turkey too, you can always adjust for flavor once it’s done cooking with a little extra Worcestershire sauce too. Thanks so much for stopping by!

    8. Pauline Reynolds says:

      Yum!!!! It’s funny that is has all those different names. My mom always called it beef a roni and in Israel they just call it macaroni.

      1. Hi, Pauline! 🙂 Yes agreed, it’s funny how one dish can have so many names I heard of beef a roni, was surprised by Johnny Marzetti and had no idea it was even considered a dish in Israel. Food really does tie us all together ? thanks so much for checking it out!

    9. Wow! This looks delicious. Pinned it for later to make. Thanks for sharing!

      1. Hi, Lina thanks so much for stopping by and pinning too! So glad that you like it 🙂

    10. Every time I receive your post, I always get hungry 🙂 Every recipe is as amazing as the other. Love chop suey!

      1. You really know how to make my day, Jane, I’m so happy that you enjoy our recipes! Thank you so much for being a part of our kitchen 🙂

    11. This looks delicious!!! Yum! I have not had this is so many years, but it looks like you added a few new twists! I can’t wait to try it.

      1. Thanks so much, Jennifer! 🙂 I didn’t want to go crazy with the changes because it’s certainly a classic dish, but I had the sausage and fennel and went for it! lol Thanks so much for checking it out, please be sure to tag us @meangreenchef when you make it!?

    12. Tricia Snow says:

      Ummmm, I had no idea that Chop Suey was the same thing as Goulash! Who knew?? Yours looks amazing!

      1. Hi, Tricia! ? Funny how it’s taken on so many names, whatever they call it we love it! Thanks so much for checking it out!?

    13. All of your recipes look divine! Adding this one to my list to try.

      1. Thank you so much, Leigh Ann! ?

    14. Susan Franklin says:

      Oh my gosh, I just realized how ignorant I am….. I have heard of Chop Suey and always assumed it was an Asian dish – LOL. This looks so yummy. I’ve pinned it so I can try it out. I’ll use the tips on the Turkey ground beef and Italian sausage for the reduced calories. We don’t eat a lot of pasta, but every once in a while, it would be a treat! Can’t wait to try it.

      1. Hi, Susan! 🙂 You’re not ignorant at all! Despite its name, it has only a very distant relation to Chinese and American Chinese cuisine. It’s funny how names stick, would love to know the original person that decided to call it Chop Suey! Thanks so much for checking it out, I’m so happy that you like it. When you do make a batch be sure to tag us, please @meangreenchef ?

    15. This is totally my kind of dish… It looks so good!

      1. Thanks, Meagan I love classic comfort dishes too! Appreciate you checking it out! 🙂

    16. This looks delicious! I haven’t thought about Chop suey in a long time!

      1. It is one of those types of dinners Michele! 🙂 Thanks so much, so happy that you like our recipe ?

    17. Junell DuBois says:

      This looks like the ultimate in comfort food goodness!

      1. Thanks so much for checking it out Junell, I’m so happy that you like it! 🙂

    18. I always wondered what chop suey was exactly. Now I know!

      1. Now you do, Jen! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    19. OMG – I had no idea this was the name that referenced this dish in other parts of the country! Hilarious – but really think my boys will like it (I will just have to call it something else!)

      1. Lol, you can make up your own name, Tiffany! It’s a great dish for kids, I’m sure they’ll really dig it, thank you so much for checking it out and please make sure to tag us @meangreenchef or #meangreenchef when you whip up a batch!???

    20. Wow, this looks so good and easy! I can’t wait to try it

      1. Thanks so much, Kim! Don’t forget to tag us @meangreenchef or #meangreenchef when you make it, we’d love to hear how it goes! ?

    21. I’m working on a vegan version of this dish! I’ve never heard it called American Chop Suey. That shows were Im NOT from. ? I’ve always called it goulash.

      1. Cool Cindy, I’m excited to see what you create!! Vegetarian I could figure out but a vegan version would certainly be more of a challenge. Funny how many names it goes by, thank you for stopping by to check out our recipes ?

    22. Sounds delicious!! I like how this recipe is soo versatile.

      1. Hi, Annette thanks so much for stopping by I’m so happy that you like our recipe it is really versatile! ?

    23. I’ve been looking for easy weeknight recipes. I need to add this to my list!

      1. So glad to hear Brittany, I hope that you all enjoy it! ?

    24. This is so different from the Chop Suey I know but it looks delicious. I’m adding this recipe to my menu for this week.

      1. That’s great to hear Carolina, I really hope that you all enjoy it! Please be sure to tag us in a photo or two @meangreenchef or #meangreenchef thanks so much for checking it out! ???

    25. Ah – this brings back memories. I grew up on chop suey, but haven’t made it in awhile. I need to add this back into the menu!

      1. Yes, it’s perfect for a quick dinner weeknight dinner and so flavorful! Thank you so much for stopping by to check it out! ?

    26. This is such a great “American” twist! Love it!

      1. Thank you so much, Kathryn!! ?

    27. Your food always looks so delicious! This one seems pretty easy too!! Thanks!

      1. Thanks, Nicki!! ? It really is super easy to make and the sausage and fennel add a really nice depth of flavor!

    28. I like how you added in ideas for variations. Sometimes folks do not prefer certain ingredients. Some people like a little something more. Having ideas can be helpful. Thank you for sharing! Now…what other goodies will I find on your web site?

      1. Hi, Dawn Marie! 🙂 So glad that you like the variations I’ll be sure to do more of that in upcoming posts! I hope you find some goodies that make you happy and please be sure to share some pics on our Facebook Page when you make something! Thank you so much for visiting we really appreciate it! ?

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