Gluten Free American Chop Suey

I grew up eating American Chop Suey and have been making this peasant dish my whole life.  It wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized this was not an Italian recipe, and in fact variations of this dish exist all over the country.  From goulash, to slumgullion (huh?), to simply macaroni and beef, this is a meal that goes by different names but is universally loved.

These days I am grateful that delicious, gluten free pasta is readily available so I can still enjoy this comfort food.  It goes from stove top to table all in one pan, for easy cleanup!

In my rendition I add Italian sausage for a spicy kick, and more healthy veggies to round out the plate.  I was thrilled to find gluten free elbow macaroni that is traditionally used in this dish!  If you can’t find elbows, go ahead and substitute shells, or even penne or fusilli.

4 servings

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  • Cooking spray
  • 8 oz. Lean ground beef
  • 8 oz. Italian sausage, hot or sweet
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • ½ cup mushroom, diced
  • ½ small zucchini, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. Olive oil
  • 29 oz. Can tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Basil
  • 1/2 tsp. Marjoram
  • 1 tsp. Brown sugar
  • 6 oz. gluten free elbows
  • Fresh parsley for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for serving


Mist a deep heavy skillet with cooking spray and add 1 tbsp. olive oil.  Add the ground beef and sausage and begin breaking it up with a spatula.

When the meat is completely browned, season with salt and pepper and add the onions and garlic.

Cook for 2 minutes then add the remainder of the vegetables, sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

It may look like a lot of veggies, but they will cook down and disappear into the sauce (don’t tell the kids! 😉).  Stir the veggies into the meat.  When the veggies have cooked for a few more minutes make a spot in the center in the pan and add the tomato paste.

Let it toast for a minute then stir it into the mixture.

Add the tomato sauce, brown sugar, basil, oregano and marjoram.  Stir well, cover and simmer 30 minutes.  Then simmer partially uncovered for 10 more minutes to thicken the sauce.

To finish the dish, cook the pasta to two minutes less than the package directions.  Drain and add to the skillet and finish cooking in the sauce.

Finish with grated cheese and fresh parsley.  Bring it to the table right in the skillet!

Notes: ♪♫ Traditionally a meat and pasta dish with tomato sauce, I packed mine with veggies for more nutrition and fiber.  Once cooked down, the veggies are almost invisible and take on the flavors of the dish.  Let it be your little secret!

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