Grandma’s Italian Goulash

Grandma's Italian Goulash

Well, I’m back from my trip as of Monday night. It was awesome, wonderful, fun and relaxing, but it’s hard to believe it’s already over. Now, I’m trying to get back into the swing of things, but am still feeling pretty exhausted from the travel and 3-hour time change. Hopefully, I’ll be good to go by the weekend.

Meanwhile, this is a recipe I made prior to my trip, but never got a chance to share. It came together somewhat unplanned, but after tasting it, I knew I had to share. The flavor reminded me of an Italian goulash recipe that my mom used to make when I was a kid, which was actually my grandma’s recipe. I always loved it growing up and the flavor of this kinda brought me back. Grandma’s recipe included elbow macaroni, ground beef, celery, oregano and tomatoes, so obviously mine is quite a bit different, but still reflects a similar flavor. And the best part…it’s both delicious and easy!

Grandma's Italian Goulash


  • 1/2 Tbsp grass-fed ghee
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 large head of green cabbage, chopped
  • 1 14 oz can no salt added fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp dried oregano, plus more to taste if desired
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes


  1. Melt ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and fennel and sauté a few minutes, until softened slightly. Then, add the ground beef and break up with a spatula. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Continue to cook until meat is browned, stirring occasionally.
  2. Once meat is done cooking, add the fire roasted tomatoes, oregano, red pepper flakes; stir. Then, add the cabbage and season to taste with a bit more sea salt and pepper.
  3. Continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. If need be, cover with a lid to cook the cabbage toward the top (this is particularly helpful if skillet is really full).
  4. Once cabbage is softened, taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  5. Serve with grated raw Parmesan or cheddar (preferably grass-fed), if tolerated and desired.

Yields: 3 servings




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About paleoinpdx

Born and raised in Alpena, Michigan, I moved to Portland (PDX) in 2008 after graduating from Michigan State University. I currently work as a personal trainer and instructor, and reside with my husband, Jesse and our cats, Dutch and Frankie in inner NE Portland. I am a health and wellness enthusiast that enjoys eating, cooking, moving and living well.

10 responses to “Grandma’s Italian Goulash”

  1. MommaB says :

    What a great idea to substitute cabbage in place of the macaroni and use fire roasted tomatoes. Looks like I need to make this!

    • paleoinpdx says :

      Thanks, Mom! I bet you’ll enjoy it, especially since you liked that unstuffed cabbage recipe (the one you made when I was home in Sept). It’s similar to that in texture, but obviously has different flavor. Yes, use cabbage as a noodle sub works great!

  2. Paula says :

    Glad you had a fabulous time–and thanks for posting a great looking skillet recipe. I love those–easy to make AND clean up!!

    • paleoinpdx says :

      Thanks, Paula! I bet you’ll enjoy this recipe, especially since you’re a lover of one-dish meals, like me ;)

      • Paula says :

        I made this last night for dinner–the fennel is so good in it and we loved it. I just got my little veggie and herb garden planted, so I had some fresh basil to garnish with. Great recipe!!

      • paleoinpdx says :

        Sounds great with the fresh basil! You really can’t go wrong with adding fresh herbs :) Thanks, Paula!

  3. Naz (@CinnamonEats) says :

    Looks delicious! I’ll have to try this one out :)

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