Gluten-Free Living

Easy Gluten-Free Macaroni and Beef

Serves 6

This dish goes by many different names—goulash, American chop suey and more. No matter what you call it, this simple combination of macaroni, tomato sauce and ground beef is delicious.


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Salt
  • 1 pound gluten-free elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or put through a garlic press
  • 1 pound 93% (extra-lean) ground beef
  • 1 28-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 6 ounces cheddar cheese, grated (about 1½ cups)


Preheat the oven to 375° F. Lightly spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish (or large ovenproof dish) with nonstick cooking spray.

Fill a large pot three-quarters full with water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water reaches a boil, add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta. Stir with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds, then stir occasionally while the pasta cooks.

In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over high heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking. Add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the onion is soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and aromatic, about 1 minute.

Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the clumps with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, until thoroughly cooked and browned, about 4 minutes. If desired, remove and discard and excess fat.

Stir three-quarters of the tomato sauce into the beef. Reduce the heat to low.

After about 10 minutes of boiling, check the pasta for doneness. Drain the pasta and return it to the cooking pot.

Add the meat sauce to the pasta and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle evenly with the cheese.

Bake until the cheese is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling, about 15 minutes.

Nutrition Analysis: 560 cal, 19 g fat, 70 mg chol, 860 mg sodium, 66 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 32 g protein.

Elizabeth Barbone, author of the cookbooks Easy Gluten-Free Baking and How to Cook Gluten-Free, is a regular contributor to Gluten-Free Living. She also blogs at

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