What are Amish Haystacks? It sounds like something you would see out in the field as you drive through the Amish countryside. In this post, however, I am sharing a Haystacks Recipe that is similar to a Taco. This is an Amish Haystacks Recipe that you can make for dinner tonight. It is super easy to make, very versatile, and loved by all!
You simply take a lot of separate ingredients and pile them onto your plate to create a haystack.
I don’t know exactly where this haystack dinner recipe originated, but I do not believe that it originated with the Amish. However, this Haystack food recipe has become well-known among the Amish. And it is served frequently as a fundraiser meal in their communities. It’s an easy meal for a group to put together because each family can bring a large dish of one ingredient. They arrange all the ingredients on the table and create a haystack by piling a little bit of each ingredient on a plate.
The Amish haystack recipe is built on a lettuce base, followed by taco-seasoned hamburger, cooked white rice, red beans, tortilla chips, tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and finally topped with a cheese sauce. It is literally a taco that is piled on a plate. It’s less messy to eat than a taco and tastes just as great!
I don’t think I ever ate tacos growing up in my Amish home. But this was our version of Amish tacos.
Haystack Food Recipe
This is a recipe for haystacks with rice. Obviously, tacos don’t usually include rice. But rice is cheap, and I’m guessing that the reason this haystack recipe Amish includes rice is because it helps to fill up your plate without using a lot of meat. Plus, it goes well with all the other ingredients.
The Amish women often feed large crowds of people. Because they have large families, and they get together for meals quite frequently. When a few large families get together it’s a crowd, and it can get expensive to feed a crowd. So they try to stretch the food as much as possible, by adding cheaper options.
Amish Haystack Dinner – my kids’ favorite meal
Haystacks Recipe Taco is literally one of my kids’ favorite meals. Who doesn’t love tacos, right? This is a great kid-friendly meal. Because most kids love tacos, and haystacks are less messy to eat than holding a taco in your hand.
You may have to be careful though; I always end up with a stack that is bigger than I intended. I add a little bit of each ingredient, and it doesn’t look like much. But by the time I have everything on my plate, the pile can get pretty big.
Another thing that I love about this meal is that it is very versatile. You can add all the ingredients that you can imagine would go well together. And you can put them in any order that you please. I grew up using lettuce as the base, but my kids like to put all the hot ingredients (meat, rice, and beans) on the bottom. It’s not a big deal, put it in any order you please.
How do I make my Amish Haystack Recipe?
I start by cooking the rice since it takes twenty minutes to cook. If you have a rice cooker, by all means, use it. But to cook the rice on the stove-top, add about a Tbs. of oil to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the rice kernels. Add water and salt and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to low temperature. Cover and set your timer for twenty minutes. Do not open the lid until your timer goes off.
While the rice is cooking, I brown the hamburger and warm the beans. You can cook dried beans if you plan ahead far enough, but I often use canned beans. I have recently started making my own taco seasoning with a recipe that my friend has on Pinterest (find it here).
I use my Pampered Chef meat chopper every time I cook hamburger, it is a great addition to your kitchen utensils. This is an affiliate link…
If you are limited on time, you can buy the shredded lettuce in bags, but I tend to stay away from bagged lettuce and cut up my own. Cut up the lettuce and tomatoes the same as you would for tacos.
You can buy a can of cheese sauce and warm it, or make your own. To make the cheese sauce, add 1/2 cup of milk to a microwave-safe dish. Add about a 2 1/2″ slab of Velveeta cheese (cut into slices). Warm in the microwave at 1-minute intervals, stirring in-between, until it is melted and smooth.
Some of us like guacamole on our haystacks. I make guacamole by smashing two avocados with a fork. Add about 1/4 tsp. salt and 1 – 1 1/2 Tbs. of lime juice.
How I Assemble my Haystack Dinner
You can assemble your Amish haystacks in any order you please. You can add or subtract anything you desire. That’s one nice thing about this meal. Everyone assembles their own stack, so your picky eaters can leave out the things they don’t like. My oldest daughter is a vegetarian, so it’s a great meal for her. She leaves off the meat but still gets protein from the beans.
If you need an idea, this is the order I assemble mine in: lettuce, rice, meat, beans, chips, tomatoes, green onions, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and cheese sauce. My husband likes more heat, so he adds hot sauce and jalapenos on top yet too.
I know that some people use crushed crackers instead of chips. Some people add shredded cheese and use Ranch or Thousand Island dressing instead of cheese sauce. But I like mine with tortilla chips (or better yet Nacho Doritos) and cheese sauce. I love Doritos with Haystacks, but I don’t often have them on hand, so I mostly use plain tortilla chips.
This haystack recipe has a lot of ingredients, but trust me, it really doesn’t take very long to put together. And these Amish tacos are very filling and loved by everyone!
More Amish Dinner Recipes
Check out my YouTube channel @My Amish Heritage where I give lessons to speak Pennsylvania Dutch.
Amish Haystacks, Haystacks Recipe Taco
- 1 lb. hamburger
- 1 clove minced garlic optional
- 3 Tbs. taco seasoning (1 packet)
- 1 c. tomato juice or water
- 1 c. uncooked rice
- 1 Tbs. oil
- 2 c. water
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 can red beans
- 1 Tbs. taco seasoning
- 1/2 c. milk
- 10 oz. velveeta cheese, cut into slices (about 2" – 3" chunk from the 2 lb. block)
- 2 ripe avocados, mashed
- 1 Tbs. lime juice
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 qt. shredded lettuce
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 3 stems green onions, chopped
- 1/2 bag Doritos or tortilla chips slightly crushed
- sour cream
- hot sauce
- Crumble and brown the hamburger, drain the fat. Add 1 clove of minced garlic, taco seasoning, and tomato juice. Cook for at least another minute.
- Cook 1 c. of rice in your rice cooker or in a saucepan on the stove-top. Add the oil to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the rice kernels, add water and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to low temperature. Cover and set your timer for twenty minutes. Do not open the lid until your timer goes off.
- Warm a can of beans and add 1 Tbs. taco seasoning.
- You can buy a can of cheese sauce and warm it, or make your own. In a microwave-safe dish, add milk and cheese slices. Warm at one-minute intervals, stirring in-between, until it is melted and smooth.
- You can buy ready-made guacamole, or make your own. By simply mashing the avocados with a fork, add salt and lime juice.
- Arrange all your ingredients in the order you want to stack them, and let everyone pile their plates full. Usually, the cheese sauce gets drizzled over the top of the stack.