Potatoes, bell peppers and tender-melt-in-your-mouth chunks of eggplant are simmered up in a smoky paprika sauce to make this hearty and comforting vegan goulash.
The other day I was looking at my blog stats and I noticed that someone ended up here after googling "vegan goulash." The funny thing is, I didn't even have a vegan goulash recipe at the time. They landed on my mushroom beef stew recipe. I guess that's close enough to goulash that if you scroll past enough search results, it'll eventually show up.
Anyhow, I took it as a sign that I needed to dabble in some goulash, a dish I knew very little of. I took to the old Google myself and initially found a bunch of recipes for American goulash, which sounded a bit like hamburger pasta and didn't appeal to me a whole lot. Hungarian goulash, on the other hand, seemed more interesting - something like beef stew, but with a heavy hit of paprika. I opted to veganize the Hungarian version, and that's how we ended up here.
By the way, let me know if I should take a crack at American goulash! If I'm missing something and there's more to it than meaty pasta, or if you just happened to love meaty pasta as a kid and want a vegan spin on the dish, I'd be happy to help out!
Back to the dish currently at hand. Since it is quite a bit like beef stew, and since I've done the whole mushroom beef stew thing, I decided to go into some uncharted territory: eggplant! The idea of some tender eggplant chunks simmered in peppery stew sounded pretty fantastic, and it totally was. The potatoes give this meal a stick-to-your ribs quality that's perfect a winter dinner. Best of all, everything cooks up in one pot, and couldn't be easier to throw together.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 medium (1 pound) eggplant, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- ¾ pound Yukon gold potatoes, about 3 potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
- salt and pepper to taste
Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the eggplant. Sauté until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add bell pepper, onion, and garlic to the pot. Continue to sauté until peppers and onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly, until it coats the veggies evenly.
Add tomatoes, broth, sweet paprika, smoked paprika, thyme, bay leaf, potatoes, soy sauce, sugar, and liquid smoke to the pot. Raise heat to high and bring to a simmer. Lower heat and allow to simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are fork tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Serve.
If your eggplant has been hanging around for a while, or shows some brown spots when you cut into it, be sure to salt it. Chop the eggplant, then place it into a colander and sprinkle generously with salt. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, then rinse off the salt, pat the pieces dry, and proceed with the recipe.