American Chop Suey is a delicious and easy dinner recipe made with ground beef, tomato, onion, green pepper, macaroni, and spices.
I’m not sure if it’s a New England thing because I could probably eat my weight in American Chop Suey. Maybe it’s the fact that its pure comfort food, or maybe it’s the perfect balance of flavor, but either way, I freaking love Chop Suey!
So I wanted to share my recipe with all of you in the hopes that you’ll love it too!
We call it American Chop or Chop Suey here in New England, but you may have also heard of it called goulash or macaroni hamburger and tomato depending on where you live.
So either way, the recipe has the same basic components and is a classic dinner most of us grew up eating.
Why I Love American Chop Suey!
I love chop suey because when it’s cold, I want comfort food and I think this is a super cozy dish and it’s really easy to make too!
The dish is also similar to American goulash but the most noteworthy difference between the two is that Chop Suey doesn’t include paprika, or, at least not the way I make it.
Some people also call it Chili Mac, but I don’t make mine spicy either. But there is one key ingredient that can’t be left out, the sugar.
In my opinion, the best chop suey is one that has a slightly sweet tomato sauce, the sauce should be loose enough to coat, but thick enough to stick to the noodles.
The sugar sweetens up all that tomato goodness and makes for a really delicious sauce. The green pepper and onions should always be sauteed ahead of adding any of the tomato-based ingredients!
This recipe makes a huge batch of food, so it’s great for big families and it also reheats well in the microwave.
Where it’s just the two of us in my house, I love making this recipe on Sunday afternoons, especially in the fall and winter, and then I reheat it for lunch all week long.
What Is In American Chop Suey:
American Chop is traditionally made with the following ingredients:
- ground beef
- elbow macaroni
- green bell pepper
- white onion
- tomato sauce
- tomato juice
- diced tomatoes
- tomato paste
- dried oregano
- dried basil
How To Make American Chop Suey:
This is one of those great recipes to make not just because it tastes delicious but because it’s quick and easy!
Step 1: Cook the pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted water. *You can either finish cooking the pasta and leave it in a colander and use the same pot for the sauce or you can start making the rest of the recipe in a separate pot while the pasta is cooking.
Step 2: In a separate pot or the one from the pasta (see the note above), add the butter and onion to the large pot over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 4 minutes.
Step 3: Add the garlic to the onions and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
Step 4: Add ground beef and cook until browned, you can cook this in a separate pan if you’d like less fat and add it to the onions after cooking.
Step 5: Add green pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Step 6: Add the diced tomatoes, sauce, juice, paste, sugar, spices, and Worcestershire Sauce. Cook until evenly heated.
Step 7: Stir in the cooked pasta and stir to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or package up and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
This recipe is delicious all on its own, no side dishes required. However, it does pair well with homemade yeast rolls and butter.
Package up any leftovers in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
I would not recommend freezing this dish. Once thawed and reheated, the pasta will be mushy.
If you must freeze it, I would recommend undercooking the pasta slightly to help it maintain it’s structure when you reheat.
Then, prepare the rest of the recipe according to the directions and then package in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Try These Recipe Variations:
- Ground Turkey – If you’re looking to lighten things up? You can try swapping ground beef for ground turkey.
- Cheese – If you’re used to cheese in your chop suey, you can simply stir in some mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, about 2 cups or so should do just fine.
- Peppers – Green bell peppers are a staple in this classic recipe, therefore I wouldn’t remove them completely, but feel free to try out red, orange, or yellow instead.
- Mushrooms – So you’re a mushroom lover, are ya? Well, you can easily add them in. You can use either a small can or 1 cup of fresh chopped mushrooms, just add and saute them with the green peppers because you’ll want them to be nice and soft.
More Delicious Pasta Recipes:
- Creamy Mac and Cheese
- Marinara Mac and Cheese
- Homemade Baked Ziti
- Chicken Parm Pasta Skillet
- Turkey Florentine Pasta
- Baked Spaghetti Pie
American Chop Suey
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American Chop Suey
- 16 ounces elbow macaroni
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large white onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 14 ounce diced tomatoes
- 5.5 ounces 100% tomato juice
- 15 ounces tomato sauce
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce optional
- Fill a large pot with water, salt the water and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. *You can either finish cooking the pasta and leave it in a colander and use the same pot for the sauce or you can start making the rest of the recipe in a separate pot while the pasta is cooking.
- In a separate pot or the one from the pasta (see note above), add the butter and onion to the pot and saute, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent, about 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic to the onions and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Add ground beef and cook until browned, you can cook this in a separate pan if you’d like less fat and add it to the onions after cooking.
- Add green pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the diced tomatoes, sauce, juice, paste, sugar, spices, and Worcestershire Sauce. Cook until evenly heated.
- Stir in the cooked pasta and stir to coat and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately or package up and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.