15-Minute Goulash

15-Minute Goulash

I know what you’re thinking…

‘A real Hungarian goulash in 15 minutes? Impossible’.

And if you’re expecting a dish of soft slow cooked meat that’s been simmered for hours. You’re right. That ain’t going to happen in 15 minutes.

BUT if you’re in the mood for something that tastes deeply meaty and savoury with some sweetness from the peppers and the refreshing contrasting tang of sour cream AND you are short on time, you could do much worse than this humble approximation.

I love ground (minced) meat because it’s inexpensive but more importantly it cooks quickly AND all the surface area from the meat being cut so finely means that the flavour permeates your dish much more rapidly than bigger chunks of meat.

Oh and just between you and me…

While the paprika and peppers are essential for making this feel like a goulash, it’s the Worcestershire sauce which magically adds the depth of flavour you’d expect from a much longer cooking time.

With the paprika – make sure you buy SWEET Hungarian paprika not the smoked Spanish stuff. If you only have smoked paprika, reduce the quantity to 1 tablespoon as it will over power with bitter flavours if you go for the whole 4 tablespoons.

15-Minute Goulash

Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 people


  • 450 g ground minced beef
  • 3 large roast peppers from a jar
  • 4 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 bag baby spinach


  1. Heat a large frying pan on a high heat. Add a splash of oil. Then add the meat and cook, stirring to break up the chunks for a few minutes or until the meat is no longer pink.
  2. Slice peppers and add to the beef. Then add the paprika, Worcestershire, water and 1/4 teaspoon fine salt. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce has started to thicken slightly.
  3. Serve goulash on a bed of baby spinach with sour cream swirled over.

Recipe Video

NET CARBS 16g/serve

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Variations & Substitutions for 15-Minute Goulash

no sweet Hungarian paprika – use smoked paprika, reduce the quantity to 1 tablespoon as it will over power with bitter flavours if you go for the whole 4 tablespoons.

no Worcestershire sauce – use soy sauce but reduce the quantity to 1 tablespoon. Or 2 teaspoons miso paste.

vegetarian – replace meat with crumbled tofu or cooked lentils. I’m also thinking scrambled eggs in the goulash style would be amazing,

different protein – any ground (minced) meat or poultry will work. Or you could use sliced chicken thigh or breast fillets – just make sure you simmer long enough to cook the chicken through. Scrambled eggs or an omelette with these flavours would be great. And I don’t see why fish wouldn’t work – especially something with stronger flavoured like salmon.

goulash eggs – I made this with eggs instead of the meat and it was amazing. Just substitute 6-8 eggs and use 2 tablespoons each of the Hungarian paprika and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over a medium heat stirring until thickened and serve with spinach and sour cream.

dairy-freecashew sour cream or use this lemon tahini sauce.

nightshade-free – try this stroganoff instead.

more substantial (carb lovers) – serve with steamed or mashed potatoes or rice or soft egg noodles.

more substantial (low carb) – serve with wonderful cabbage wedges and some roast almonds.

different vegetables – feel free to add any cooked veg to the sauce. Grilled eggplant or zucchini will also work.

pantry-friendly – serve with defrosted frozen green beans, frozen peas, frozen spinach or rice instead of the baby spinach.

more fancy / for entertaining – use one of the more substantial suggestions above.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

ground (minced) beef – freeze it.

roast peppers from a jar – in an unopened jar will last in the pantry for months. Once open keep in the fridge and use for another meal.

sweet paprika / salt – keep them in the pantry.

Worcestershire sauce – keeps in the fridge for months.

sour cream – keeps for weeks in the fridge.

baby spinach – either freeze or wilt down in a pan with a little oil and then keep in the fridge for weeks.

Problem Solving Guide for 15-Minute Goulash

bland – more salt! Or a spash of red wine vinegar or other vinegar. Or add in a flavour bomb.

too dry – add more water. And remember the sour cream will help.

sticking to the pan – next time make sure your pan is hot before adding the oil and make sure the oil is hot before adding the food. For now remove from the heat and stirring in a splash of water will help it release.

Prepare Ahead

Yes! Just cook as per the recipe but keep the sour cream and baby spinach separately. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks or can be frozen. To serve, bring back to a simmer.


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With love,
Jules x

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