I grew up in the upper Midwest. A magical place known for the Fargo-esk accent, cold weather, and casseroles – or as we call it, hotdish. Speaking of Midwest terminology, pop = soda, baaaag (long A) = bag, and slacks = pants (ok maybe my grandma is the only one that says slacks, but you get the picture). If you’re from the Midwest, you’ve heard of goulash hotdish. And if you live in my house, you get paleo tomato basil beef goulash with eggplant.
Goulash was one of my favorite dinners growing up. Definition of goulash: a bunch of random but delicious ingredients combined, creating a boom-shaka-laka dinner. There are so many variations, but the one in my momma’s kitchen involved ground beef, stewed tomatoes, canned tomato soup, and lots of noodles. The one in my kitchen however, has a mix of traditional ingredients, and some paleo-friendly alternatives.
I don’t compete with my mom on many things. She is by far a better gardner, listener, home decorator, thank-you letter writer, baby-whisperer, and sewer. However, I am a better cook. Basically we’re a mother-daughter domestic, match made in heaven. You know what else is is a match made in heaven? Tomatoes and basil.
In my belly.
And Whole30 compliant.
I never miss the traditional macaroni noodles in my mom’s goulash dish with my diced eggplant substitute. It gives it an extra oomph of pasta-like texture that soaks up all the beef/tomato/basil flavor and completes the dish.
P.S. Isn’t eggplant a weird word when you think about it? Almost as weird as goulash.
This tomato basil beef goulash isn’t for the faint of appetites, but is for those not ashamed to lick their plates. If you DO end up with leftovers (highly doubtful I might add), this dish is great for freezing. If you live in the upper Midwest, that means leaving it packed in your snowy backyard from November to March.
Speaking of easy, here’s how easy it is to make your new goulash favorite –
Paleo Tomato Basil Beef Goulash with Eggplant
To start, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan over medium/high heat. Sauté the shallots and garlic a few minutes, or until fragrant, then add the ground beef and cook to brown. Drain any excess grease and add the diced tomatoes and fresh basil.
Next add the tomato paste and coconut cream (the good, thick stuff at the top of the can). Stir to combine.
In a separate pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon over medium/high heat and sauté the diced eggplant until soft, approximately 2-3 minutes.
Add the eggplant to the beef mixture. Mix well and serve topped with fresh basil.
Time Saver Tip
Chop the shallots and eggplant beforehand and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to cook. The eggplant may start to slightly brown, but that will not affect the flavor of the dish.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 shallots, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1" cubes
- 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
- ⅓ cup fresh basil, diced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¾ cup coconut cream (thick cream at the top of canned coconut milk)
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat
- Add the shallots and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes, until fragrant
- Add the ground beef and cook to brown
- In a separate saucepan, heat the other tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and add the diced eggplant. Cook until soft, around 5 minutes
- Once the beef is browned, drain any excess grease add the diced tomatoes (with juice), basil, and salt. Stir to combine then add the coconut cream, tomato paste, and eggplant
- Serve immediately and garnish with more fresh basil