What are Amish Haystacks? It sounds like something you would see in the field as you drive through the Amish countryside.
In this post, however, I am sharing an easy Haystacks Recipe that is similar to Tacos. This easy-to-make Amish haystack recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner and ideal for serving at large gatherings.
It is super easy to make, very versatile, and loved by all! You simply take a lot of different ingredients and pile them onto your plate to create a haystack. The customizable nature of Amish Haystacks allows you to cater to diverse taste preferences, making it a crowd-pleaser.
I don't know exactly where this haystack dinner recipe originated, and it may not have originated with the Amish.
However, this Haystack food recipe has become well-known among the Amish and is frequently served as a fundraiser meal in some Amish communities.
It's an easy meal for a group to put together because each family can bring a large dish with one ingredient. They arrange all the ingredients on the table creating a buffet-style setup, and everyone creates their own 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 meat (taco-seasoned hamburger), cooked white rice, red beans, tortilla chips, tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and finally topped with a cheese sauce.
It's like a taco that's piled on a plate. So it's less messy to eat than a taco but 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 recipe for haystacks includes rice. Typically, tacos don't include rice.
But rice is cheap, and I'm guessing that the reason this haystack recipe includes rice is that 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, serving budget-friendly dishes such as haystacks or casserole dishes like Dairy Casserole, Amish Macaroni Casserole, or Yumasetti.
Amish Haystack Dinner - my Kids' Favorite Meal
Amish Haystacks is literally one of my kids' favorite meals. It's one of our go-to meals for busy weeknights.
Amish-style tacos are a great kid-friendly meal. And who doesn't love tacos, right? Most kids love tacos, and haystacks are less messy to eat than having to hold a breaking taco in your hand.
You may have to be careful though; I always end up with a larger stack 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, and I end up with a giant haystack.
Another thing that I love about this meal is that it is so 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 Amish Haystacks Recipe?
Cook Rice: 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 rice is easy to cook on the stovetop as well. Just put the rice, water, and salt into a saucepan and bring it 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.
Brown Ground Beef and Warm Beans: While the rice is cooking, brown a pound of hamburger and drain. Add taco seasoning and a 3/4 cup of water or tomato juice.
You can cook dried beans if you plan ahead far enough, but I often use canned beans. Simply warm a can of red beans and add a bit of taco seasoning.
Chop Lettuce and Tomatoes: 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 iceberg or romaine lettuce and tomatoes the same as you would for tacos.
Cheese Sauce: You can buy a can of cheese sauce and warm it, or make your own. To make homemade cheese sauce, add 1/2 cup of milk and a Tbsp. of butter 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.
(You could also warm up some homemade cup cheese - shmear cheese - to drizzle on top.)
Guacamole: Some of us like guacamole on our haystacks. So I make guacamole by smashing two avocados with a fork. Add about 1/4 tsp. salt and 1 to 1 1/2 Tbs. of lime juice and a bit of dried dill weed.
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.
One nice thing about this meal is that 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 typically assemble mine - lettuce, rice, taco meat, beans, chips, tomatoes, green onion, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and cheese sauce. My husband likes more heat, so he adds hot sauce and jalapenos on top yet too.
Some people use crushed crackers instead of chips. However, I like mine with tortilla chips (or better yet Nacho Doritos) and cheese sauce. I love Doritos with Haystacks, but I don't always have them on hand, so we often use plain tortilla chips. Corn chips would be another great option.
Some folk add shredded cheddar cheese and use Ranch Dressing or Thousand Island dressing instead of cheese sauce.
Ripe olives, as well as green peppers, would also be a great addition.
This haystack recipe has a lot of ingredients, but trust me, it doesn't take very long to put together.
Amish haystack supper is very filling and loved by everyone, making it a perfect meal for any day of the week.
Haystacks are an Amish country favorite and are often served at family or Amish community gatherings. All the ingredients are arranged in a buffet line so everyone can create a traditional haystack.
I hope you enjoy Amish haystacks. If you try this recipe, I'd love it if you left a comment and star rating below.
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Item you may need...
I use my Pampered Chef meat chopper every time I cook hamburger, it is a great addition to your kitchen utensils.
Amish Haystacks Recipe (Easy Haystack Dinner)
- 1 lb. hamburger
- 1 clove minced garlic optional
- 3 Tbs. taco seasoning (1 packet)
- 3/4 - 1 c. tomato juice or water
- 1 c. uncooked rice
- 2 c. water
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 can red beans
- 1 Tbs. taco seasoning
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 10 oz. velveeta cheese, cut into slices (about 2" - 3" chunk from a 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.1 lb. hamburger, 1 clove minced garlic, 3 Tbs. taco seasoning, 3/4 - 1 c. tomato juice or water
- Add the rice kernels, salt, and water to a saucepan and bring it 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.1 c. uncooked rice, 2 c. water, 3/4 tsp. salt
- Warm a can of beans and add 1 Tbs. taco seasoning.1 can red beans, 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 30-second to one-minute intervals, stirring in-between, until it is melted and smooth.1/2 c. milk, 1 Tbsp. butter, 10 oz. velveeta cheese, cut into slices
- You can buy ready-made guacamole, or make your own. By simply mashing the avocados with a fork, add salt and lime juice.2 ripe avocados, mashed, 1 Tbs. lime juice, 1/4 tsp. salt
- 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.
Perhaps you'd like to serve a refreshing Mangonada (a spicy mango drink) with your haystack meal.
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