tomatoes, cucumbers and onions make Granny Mac's goulash

Granny Mac’s Goulash

Granny Mac’s Goulash is a delicious cold salad made with tomatoes, cucumber, onions, vinegar, sugar and celery seed. It tastes great on green beans and other veggies!

My Granny Mac’s first name was Nettie. Family members have told me over the years I resemble her, and I would be proud if I did. Granny had the sweetest laugh you’ve ever heard. She was also a wizard of sorts in the kitchen where she made an amazing dish called Granny Mac’s Goulash.

When I was a kid, I’d watch green beans disappear from the garden and mysteriously go to the kitchen, only to come out tasting like some kinda heaven. The same thing happened with potatoes. They’d go from being picked and thrown into a basket, only to reappear into buttery mashed goodness. It was like magic.

I could hear Granny laughing and carrying on while I played her old baby grand piano. Then suddenly, there would be two types of meat appear on the table, followed by a congealed salad and five different vegetables. And goulash. Always goulash.

The Secret Behind Granny Mac’s Goulash

I’m not sure how Granny Mac’s Goulash got its name because I’ve tasted other goulash and it’s usually made with noodles. But, Granny Mac and our entire family have called this dish ‘goulash’ as long as I can remember. We slather it on everything. Granny served it on top of greasy cut shorts from the garden.

The tanginess of the vinegar mixed with tomatoes, onions and cucumbers makes the perfect addition to your family meals. But, the secret ingredients are sugar and celery seed. (ad) Don’t knock it ’til you try it. Granny Mac knew exactly what she was doing when she came up with this recipe.

I can see Granny working in her little kitchen…humming her favorite song…smiling as she hugged me ’round the neck. Somehow she managed to make all of her grandchildren feel like they were her favorite.

Read more about Granny Mac and the Cooks Before Me. These ladies taught me to love southern cooking, and inspired me to create Quiche My Grits. I wouldn’t be here without them!

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tomatoes, cucumbers and onions make Granny Mac's goulash

Granny Mac’s Goulash

  • Author: Debi ~ QuicheMyGrits
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


Granny Mac’s Goulash is meant to be eaten on top of green beans, but it’s also the perfect side dish for any occasion.



  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. celery seed (ad)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt


  1. Mix vinegar, boiling water and sugar together until sugar dissolves.
  2. Add tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, celery seed and salt.  Stir well.
  3. Pour goulash into an air-tight container and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.
  4. Stir well before serving. 


Make this goulash a day ahead and refrigerate for best flavor.  

This is a great condiment to serve with green beans or any type of vegetable to give it an extra boost of flavor.  

  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Method: Mix by Hand
  • Cuisine: Southern

Keywords: tomato, cucumber, onion, relish, goulash, green beans, vinegar, sugar

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  1. Perfect story about our dear Granny! She brought joy to everything she was a part of. This goulash is fabulous!! Thanks for getting the measurements because I always made ‘by guess and by golly’!

  2. I’ve eaten this all my life and I am 78 yrs. old. I’ve always made it using onions and cucumbers & celery seed. I just know the tomatoes will be wonderful. The way I made it (without tomatoes) it could stay in the fridge for a very long time.

  3. Carol Tyndall

    Love hearing about your kitchen traditions, Debi. I can imagine this as a great side for any vegetable!

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