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American Chop Suey

American Chop Suey is a meat and macaroni casserole, this dish is filling, hearty, and stretches really well to fill the whole family on very little.

American chop suey on a white plate with a fork on the side
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While the Chinese American dish might be a dependable takeout dish, this more Americanized version is something super easy to make at home on a weeknight. Basically a meat and macaroni casserole, this dish is filling, hearty, and stretches really well to fill the whole family on very little.

Don’t forget to make Homemade Seasoned Salt to use in your American chop suey for that little extra burst of flavor! You could also make your own Italian Seasoning blend!

American chop suey on a white plate with a fork on the side

American Chop Suey

American chop suey is often confused with the American Chinese dish also called chop suey, but the two dishes are actually very different.

While the Chinese version is famous for its inclusion in basically every Chinese restaurant and is basically a delicious meat and egg dish with rice or noodles, the true American version of the dish is more along the lines of a macaroni casserole. This dish is a surprisingly filling, cheap, and healthy dish perfect for feeding the whole family on a few ingredients!

American chop suey ground beef in a pot with spices

Do You Have To Use Ground Beef?

American chop suey is traditionally made using ground beef, however, authentic chop suey does not always contain beef.

In fact, the American Chinese version of chop suey can be made using a variety of different proteins including chicken, fish, shrimp, pork, or beef, and is typically designed to use up leftover bits of meat from other dishes.

However, one of the main benefits of cooking at home is that you can do whatever you want with a recipe and tailor it to suit your taste. So why not have some fun with this recipe using it as a base to try out different proteins to see what works best for you?

You could even remove the meat completely for a vegan American chop suey! You could instead use tofu as the main protein in your American chop suey and it will still turn out great.

American chop suey on a white plate with a fork digging into the center of the dish

How To Avoid The Acidic Taste Of Tomatoes In Your Chop Suey

You have probably noticed that almost every tomato-based sauce you buy from the store lists sugar as an ingredient, yet usually, the sauce does not taste sweet.

The reason for this is that tomatoes are acidic and when used in sauces as the main ingredient, this can leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth. This is why a small amount of sugar is needed to prevent the acidity from being noticeable and ruining your dish.

To avoid the same acidic taste in your American chop suey, make sure to sprinkle in a little sugar after adding your tomatoes. The exact amount that you add will depend on your taste so you are going to want to give it a taste to help you decide whether or not to add a little more.

Don’t worry, though; the sugar won’t make the whole dish taste sweet, as it is such a small amount that you don’t really need to worry about the extra sugar in your diet. You should be using just enough to neutralize the acidic taste and not so much that it is noticeable.  

American chop suey in a large silver pot

Could You Cook The Macaroni Separately Beforehand?

One of the nice things about this America chop suey recipe is that it only requires one pan, making the clean-up process super easy. However, if you prefer your chop suey a little saucier and don’t mind getting an extra pan out, you might want to consider cooking your macaroni separately before adding it to the main dish.

Traditionally, chop suey is meant to be a dry dish with there being very little sauce. Cooking your macaroni in amongst all of the other ingredients reduces the total amount of liquid, resulting in the dryer consistency that you ideally want, as well as a more intensely and uniformly flavored pasta.

But if you are someone who likes a much saucier dish, cooking your macaroni separately is the way to go. The pasta will absorb its salty cooking water, allowing the liquid in the chop suey itself to remain free, producing something much saucier.

American chop suey in a pot and a large wooden spoon full being held over the pot

Could You Add More Vegetables To Make It More Like Classic Chop Suey?

Classic Chinese chop suey is packed with vegetables, whereas this American version is a more meat-focused dish.

Of course, this doesn’t stop you from experimenting! Why not try adding some of the vegetables found in regular chop suey into this version?

  • Bean Sprouts

Bean sprouts are used in classic chop suey and make a great addition to American chop suey if you are looking to add a crunch to each bite.

If you want to add bean sprouts and want to keep their crunchy texture, make sure to only add them in the final cooking stages so they do not have the time to soften.

  • Cabbage

If you’re looking to pack your chop suey with vegetables but don’t want to overly change the texture, you can’t go wrong with shredded cabbage. It will add a small amount of crunch, but mostly just a tender chewiness that pairs well with the pasta and helps improve the nutrients in the whole dish.

  • Celery

Celery takes longer to cook than most of the other vegetables that you could add to your American chop suey, so you need to plan around its inclusion.

While celery can be eaten raw when you add it is going to radically alter the texture of your American chop suey.

For crunchy celery, add it during the last few minutes of the cooking process for a bright, springy, and noticeably crunchy bite. However, for a softer bite, similar to that you might find in pasta sauces, make sure to add it much earlier to let it cook down until it practically disappears.

  • Baby Corn

Baby corn is another great vegetable for adding a crunch to the dish, and it is also a vegetable that is often used in American Chinese cooking and thus helps to give the dish more of a Chinese cuisine vibe.

Though it might be weird to bite down on little bits of baby corn, the addition of a bit of vegetable and a noticeable crunch is definitely appreciated in this typically uniform, homogenous casserole.

Looking for more delicious Pasta recipes? Try these out:

Classic American Goulash

Buffalo Hot Sauce, Bacon & Jalapeño Mac and Cheese

Vegetable & Cheese Tortellini Casserole

Happy Cooking

Love,

Karlynn

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American Chop Suey is a meat and macaroni casserole, this dish is filling, hearty, and stretches really well to fill the whole family on very little.

American Chop Suey

American Chop Suey is a meat and macaroni casserole, this dish is filling, hearty, and stretches really well to fill the whole family on very little.
5 from 4 votes
American chop suey on a white plate with a fork
Servings
6
Calories
412
Author
Karlynn Johnston

Ingredients
 

  • pounds lean ground beef
  • 3-4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup green pepper (diced)
  • One can (28 ounce) of diced tomatoes
  • One can (284 ml) condensed tomato soup
  • One can (680 ml) can of tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tablespoon seasoning salt
  • 1-2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 ½ cups dry macaroni

Instructions
 

  • Fry the ground beef in a large stock pot until cooked completely then drain the fat.
  • Add in the garlic and green pepper and cook until softened, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add in all of the remaining ingredients, except the macaroni. Stir and bring to a low simmer.
  • Add in the macaroni noodles and stir until mixed through.
  • Cover and simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes, until the macaroni is soft, stirring once in a while to ensure that the macaroni doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Remove from heat and serve with fresh parsley for garnish.

Recipe Notes

The sugar in this is the key to reducing that acidic taste you get when you cook with tomatoes. Sprinkle it in and taste test until it’s perfect for you!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 412kcal, Carbohydrates: 54g, Protein: 34g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.4g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 1713mg, Potassium: 1354mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 895IU, Vitamin C: 45mg, Calcium: 110mg, Iron: 7mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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  1. Steve Mahuta says

    A little confused with the one can/ 28 oz/ one can 284 ml/ one can 680 ml ingredients. All I see is ounces on cans I buy, Is there a miss print here, 680 ml is almost three standard cans Recipe sound delicious.

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