One-pot vegetarian mushroom goulash your whole family will love

This is an original recipe from recipe developer and writer Ksenia Prints. Find more of her recipes at At The Immigrants Table.

When the temperatures drop and the wind is blowing so hard that your window panes rattle, it's time to make a big pot of the ultimate comfort food: vegetarian mushroom goulash.

There are many reasons why goulash is the official national dish of Hungary, and the unofficial favorite in places like Germany, Poland and Russia. Vegetarian goulash is cheap, filling, easy to make, and best of all? All it needs is one pot. That's right folks, our vegetarian mushroom goulash recipe is a one-pot dinner.

Vegetarian mushroom goulash is a hearty mix of carrots, potatoes, cabbage and of course, all kinds of mushrooms. It has a deep, earthy aroma, a glossy red-and-brown color, a rich taste, and a charming ability to fill you up for hours.

Hungarian goulash was first eaten by hungry cowherds in the Hungarian plains all the way back in the 9th century, but it looked more like a soup than the stew we know and love today. Original goulash was also mostly vegetarian, as meat was rare and expensive.

Goulash gets its fiery color and distinctive smell from mild Hungarian chili peppers, commonly known as paprika. So don't be alarmed by the generous amount in this recipe — we promise, it's not spicy!

Gather the ingredients for this easy one-pot vegetarian mushroom goulash

This vegetarian mushroom goulash relies mostly on pantry staples and vegetables you tend to have in your fridge all year long.

Onion, celery, and potatoes set the foundation for this affordable one-pot recipe. We like to sauté them in Canola or another vegetable oil, because it prevents the greasiness that using butter lends to the dish. It also has the added bonus of making this mushroom goulash vegan. Cabbage is added only in the middle of the cooking, because you don't need to sauté it.

For the mushrooms, we like a mix of different textures and flavors. Cremini and white mushrooms are the obvious choices, as they can be easily found in any grocery store. Shiitake, Portobello, and oyster mushrooms are nice additions, but they're not necessary, so don't fret if you can't find them!

Finally, paprika, red wine, tomato paste, garlic, and thyme are the building blocks of flavor in this vegetarian goulash, so don't skimp on them. Paprika can be sweet or mild for this recipe — just avoid the one labelled as 'hot.' For wine, any dry or semi-dry red wine will do — the cheapest one you can find is totally fine. You can use either fresh or dried thyme.

Prep all your vegetables for this goulash

To make life even easier, we start by prepping all the vegetables for our easy one-pot vegetarian mushroom goulash.

First, the onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes all get diced to about the same size. One-inch cubes would be perfect, but don't worry about making it too small or fine. The beauty of this simple peasant dish is that it should be easy to make.

Then, slice all your mushrooms. The slicing will depend on the size and type of mushrooms you're working with. We like to keep the size of the finished pieces pretty uniform, so start by slicing the smallest mushrooms (usually the white button mushrooms). You can then match the rest of your slices to the size of those —- so Portobello slices can be cut in half or even into quarters.

The last vegetables you need to worry about are the cabbage and garlic. The cabbage should be sliced thinly enough, as though you're making a coleslaw. The garlic should be minced small. You can also use a garlic press.

Finally, make sure you remove the thyme leaves off the stems. No one wants to get a woody stem in their vegetarian mushroom goulash!

Sauté the onion, celery, carrots and potatoes first

Vegetarian mushroom goulash will be cooking for a while, so you want to make sure you have a good, large, heavy-bottomed stockpot for the task. A Dutch oven would be great, but any pot with a heavy bottom will do in a pinch.

Preheat your pot to high heat. When the pot is good and hot (you should feel the heat when you hold your hand just above the bottom), add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and wait another minute until it heats through.

Add your diced onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes. Sauté on high heat until vegetables begin to color and brown around the edges, for about five minutes. You don't need to worry about them cooking through.

Once your vegetables are ready, remove the pot from the stove, transfer them to a bowl, and set it aside.

Cook all the mushrooms for your vegetarian mushroom goulash

Now it's time to cook all those beautiful mushrooms you took such care slicing. This is the heart of our vegetarian mushroom goulash, as mushrooms are the main ingredient.

Return the pot to the stove and set it to medium-high heat. After about a minute, add an additional tablespoon of oil. Add mushrooms to the pot and cook, stirring often to prevent sticking, until they have shrunk and browned slightly, 10 minutes.

Remember that mushrooms tend to "sweat" and let out water when they're cooking on top of each other or too close together, so try not to crowd your mushrooms.

If you have a small bottomed pot, it's better to work in stages and let the mushrooms cook before adding the next raw batch.

The goal is for all the mushrooms to change color to golden-brown, to shrink in size, and to crisp up around the edges.

Build up the flavor in your vegetarian mushroom goulash

In our opinion, what comes next is the most important part of goulash making — adding all that flavor to the pot.

Start off by adding minced garlic to the mushrooms. Give it a stir, and sauté an additional minute.

Add tomato paste, paprika, thyme leaves, sugar, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine until all the mushrooms are coated. Don't be alarmed by the amount of paprika — it's the source of that authentic goulash flavor, and it's going to mellow out considerably.

When you look into your pot at this point, you should see a sea of ochre red with little flecks of green.

Pour in the wine and water, and stir well. This will help the tomato paste to mix into a sauce, and for the paprika to lose its graininess and meld its flavors with all the other spices.

At this point you want to taste your sauce, to see if it's overly sweet, acidic, or if it needs more salt. To combat the sourness of tomato paste, add a bit more sugar (start with an additional ½ teaspoon and add more as needed). To address sweetness, add a squeeze of lemon juice. And if you need more salt, you probably know what to do. Don't worry about the sauce tasting raw — it's got a long time to cook yet.

Once you like the flavor, add cabbage and stir to combine. Bring the heat back to high, and wait for it to boil.

Let it all cook slowly for a perfect, mellow vegetarian mushroom goulash

The time has come to let your mushroom goulash do its thing and cook. Once your mixture comes back to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low, maintaining a gentle simmer.

Let it cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about an hour, until flavors meld fully. Don't be tempted to cover it with a lid. You want the sauce to be able to reduce and thicken, and for all the alcohol to evaporate, leaving us with nothing but flavor (don't worry, you can easily get some of that buzz back by drinking a big glass of red along with your goulash).

Add root vegetables back to pot and finish cooking

It's almost show time! Remember all those root vegetables we started off by sauteing? Add them all back to the pot and return the heat to medium.

Cover with a lid and cook until the potatoes are cooked through and tender, but carrots still retain some bite, about 20 minutes.

Now, taste your vegetarian mushroom goulash.

It should be a strong, hearty stew, rocking with the earthy flavor of tomato, red wine and paprika. The different root vegetables retain their texture, giving each spoonful a mix of bite and chew. The mushrooms cook down to a smooth, silky mix. In short, it should feel like a warm hug from a grandmother, or like a band of Hungarian folk singers came down to play fiddle in your kitchen. Or something like that.

Serve your vegetarian mushroom goulash with a dollop of sour cream and fresh parsley

When ready to serve, ladle your vegetarian mushroom goulash into bowls. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and a generous sprinkle of parsley.

Vegetarian goulash will keep in refrigerator for one week — though you may have to dilute it with more water as it will thicken in the fridge. You can serve it immediately upon cooking, though vegetarian goulash tastes even better the next day.

One-pot vegetarian mushroom goulash your whole family will love
4.5 from 2 ratings
There are many reasons why goulash is the official national dish of Hungary, and the unofficial favorite in other places. Vegetarian goulash is cheap, filling, easy to make, and best of all? All it needs is one pot. That's right folks, our vegetarian mushroom goulash recipe is a one-pot dinner.
Prep Time
25
minutes
Cook Time
1.58
hours
Servings
8
servings
Vegetarian mushroom goulash
Ready in 2 hours
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons Canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 10 cups (1 kg) mixed mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup sweet paprika
  • 10 fresh sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups (300g) cabbage, sliced thinly
Optional Ingredients
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped finely (for topping)
  • Sour cream, to taste (for topping)
Directions
  1. Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, onion, celery, carrots and potatoes. Sauté on high heat until vegetables begin to color and brown around the edges, 5 minutes. Remove pot from stove, transfer vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Return pot to stove and set on medium-high heat. Add an additional tablespoon of oil. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often to prevent sticking, until mushrooms have shrunk and browned slightly, 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute an additional minute.
  3. Add tomato paste, paprika, thyme leaves, sugar, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine until all the mushrooms are coated. Pour in the wine and water.
  4. Add cabbage and stir to combine. Set heat to high. Bring mixture to a boil and lower the heat to medium-low, maintaining a gentle simmer. Continue cooking uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour until flavors meld fully.
  5. Add reserved vegetables back to the pot. Cover with a lid and cook until potatoes are cooked through and tender, but carrots still retain some bite, about 20 minutes.
  6. When ready to serve, ladle vegetarian mushroom goulash to bowls. Top each serving with sour cream and parsley, to taste.
  7. Vegetarian goulash will keep in refrigerator for one week. You can serve it immediately upon cooking, though vegetarian goulash tastes even better the next day!
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