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Low Carb Goulash

Goulash made low carb with the simple swap of zucchini chunks for macaroni noodles! This simple recipe is hearty, filling, and sure to be a family pleaser. 

My dad was telling me that the neighbor invited him over for dinner one night and served him a mixture of spaghetti sauce and chunks of zucchini. He couldn’t remember what they called it, but he was pretty obsessed with the dish.

mashup of a white bowl of goulash and a zoomed in picture of goulash

I immediately knew I was going to have to try that out and I’m so glad I did!

I basically made an easy goulash recipe, but swapped in chunks of fresh zucchini for the macaroni.

You guys. This is so good!

Large spoon full of goulash

How to make goulash low carb:

Goulash is definitely a pasta dish, so it seems a bit weird to low carb it, but y’all. This is a winner thanks to the chunks of zucchini!

ground beef for goulash

You’ll want to start with a pound of ground beef, an onion, and some garlic. Brown all those up together and then drain off the fat.

Next, we’re going to use a jar of marinara. I prefer Rao’s brand because it both has the best flavor I’ve found in a jar and it’s the lowest in carbs I can find for a tomato sauce. It’s a little spendy, so if you have another brand you prefer feel free to use that.

Dump the marinara in with the beef mixture along with some beef broth, soy sauce, Italian seasoning, seasoned salt, and a bay leaf.

stirring the ingredients of low carb goulash in a pot

Add in your chopped zucchini, give it a stir, and let it cook until the zucchini is as tender as you’d like. I cooked mine for about 20 minutes – just enough time for the zucchini to soak up a bit of the marinara flavors and get soft.

You’re done, friends.

Old fashioned goulash without all the carbs!

Feel free to stir in some cheese, if that’s how you ate this growing up. We were never big on the cheese in this one, but you do you.

pot of goulash next to a bowl of goulash

More low carb favorites: 

Cabbage Rolls: Minus all the carbs AND minus all the work! This is an easy one!

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon: Just about the only way I ever want to eat Brussels sprouts. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Garlic Butter Shrimp: You can’t go wrong with garlic butter.

Crock Pot Roast: I make mine with radishes and green beans!

White bowl of goulash with a spoon in it

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bowl of goulash next to whole garlic and onions

Low Carb Goulash

Goulash without all the carbs, thanks to an easy swap of zucchini for the traditional macaroni!

Yield 8
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 24 ounces Rao’s Marinara
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 3 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt


  1. Add the ground beef, onion, and garlic to a dutch oven and brown over medium heat, breaking the meat up as it cooks. When beef is cooked through, drain the fat and return the meat to the pan.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the zucchini is as soft as you'd like.
  3. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
  4. Add additional salt if desired and top with cheese, if desired.


Feel free to use any brand of low sugar marinara that you prefer. Rao's is my preferred brand.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 239Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 718mgCarbohydrates: 7gNet Carbohydrates: 5gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 18g

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81 thoughts on “Low Carb Goulash”

  1. Connie Marcos

    Does using cheese add to the carbs in it? And what kind of cheese would you suggest?

    1. Karly Campbell

      Cheese is pretty low in carbs, but it will depend on the type and amount you use. Check the nutrition label. I think Parmesan would be a good choice. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Wanting to try with noodles I saw on Ketotag. Made from 1 cup mozzarella , 1 egg yolk 1/4 yes salt. Press between sheets of parchment cut in strips. In fridge 4 hours, boil 1 minute, cool in water and strain in collander

  3. Sherri leung

    I use zucchini just like this in my chili since beans bother my stomach…it is delicious.

  4. This recipe was delicious! I added 2 lbs of beef and an extra zucchini and bit more beef broth. My family loved it. I will make it again.

  5. So good and so easy! There are so many ways to switch up or add to but I did not change a thing. I was also thinking of what to have with it and realized I didn’t need to. Great as is. Thank you!

  6. Not an authentic Goulash which is made with cubes of beef, not ground beef, paprika ( worth the extra carbs!) and served with egg noodles, not pasta – however a nice substitute. Definitely great with spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini.

    1. Karly Campbell

      It’s a brand of marinara sauce you can find at most grocery stores. It’s a bit pricy, but it has the best flavor and it’s the lowest in carbs I’ve seen as well.

    2. Cathy Capps

      $8/jar at Kroger. If you want a low carb marinara, Bertolli or San Marzano is more afforadable.

  7. Very tasty and fast meal to make. I can see it wouldnโ€™t matter what types of veggies you add to hulk it up as Iโ€™m sure it would taste just as good. My family had it over rice and loved it but low carb dieters would probably love over mashed cauliflower. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Can you freeze this? I was thinking about making double of the recipe but was questioning if freezing it with the zucchini would be OK

  9. Donna Rosenlund

    I think adding some edemami to replace the noodles would be good. They have kind of a chewy consistency almost like Elbow macaroni noodles.

  10. I made this recipe exactly as written, and let me say it’s absolutely amazing. You did an incredible job putting this together from scratch, and I’ll make this over and over again. Love, love, love it…thank you so much.

    When I see the word goulash though, I think of the Hungarian version…heavy on paprika. Maybe this is a more American version, but it reminded me of something more Italian?

    Regardless, this is one of the best tasting keto recipes I’ve had recently…you knocked this out of the park.

    1. Karly Campbell

      Hi John! Glad you enjoyed the recipe! This is definitely an American version and paprika has carbs in it, so I kept it to a minimum. You could definitely add more if you’re not watching carbs too closely though! ๐Ÿ™‚

      So glad it was a hit either way!

  11. This was great! I put mine over spaghetti squash to bulk it up a little and put it over spaghetti noodles for my family and it was a hit! I opted for leaner ground beef too to make it an all around healthy meal.

  12. Iโ€™m going to have to try this. It sounds like it would be awesome with so many low carb veggies like cabbage and some pepper. I might just load it up! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Karly Campbell

      Sorry about that! Nutrition is based on 8 servings. I just portioned it out between 8 bowls and didn’t measure it by volume.

  13. I’m thinking spaghetti squash instead of zuchinni, which is out of season. (You can cook whole in the microwave, but pierce with a knife to avoid explosions.) Finish with a healthy pour of olive oil, some fresh basil leaves.

      1. Karly Campbell

        I believe they’re the same thing, just different names across the pond. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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