Did you have a chop suey night?

I feel like every family in New England had American Chop Suey once a week, or at least mine did.

Growing up, there were a few meals that were frequently in the rotation: ham casserole, rotisserie chicken, and weekly (guaranteed) American chop suey.

Recently, I was out to eat with my soccer team, and the topic of chop suey came up. We were talking about meals we would have before sporting games. I said American chop suey.

A teammate asked what it was. I was floored. I thought everyone knew and ate American chop suey. I described the dish as a pasta-based meal with sauce, meat, and sometimes veggies like peppers and tomatoes.

With disgust, a few teammates laughed and said that it was goulash. Then another few teammates said no, that is bolognese.

The team was divided. We all described the same dish – pasta, sauce, meat, added veggies – but we all called it a different thing.

Always wanting to be right, I had to follow this debate up with some actual research. Turns out we were all right. Kind of.

American chop suey, goulash, and bolognese are all essentially the same thing.

Getty Images, Canva
Getty Images, Canva

Now there will be some hardcore Italians out there who will come for my throat because bolognese is a traditional Italian dish, and they'll claim it is wildly different than goulash or chop suey.

It's not. I will say that bolognese is traditionally served with spaghetti, whereas goulash or American chop suey is often served with macaroni or other smaller pasta types. But bolognese is meat, veggies, and red sauce over pasta...

And goulash/American chop suey are the exact same thing. Goulash is a name worldwide. New England, as we do, claimed a different name for the pasta dish (American Chop Suey), but it is the exact same thing.

If you're a busy mom or just someone looking for an easy weekly meal, give American Chop Suey a go (or goulash...or bolognese). Whatever you choose to call it!

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