by Olena

One Pot Chili Mac Recipe

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Olena Osipov
4.9 from 13 votes

This super healthy One Pot Chili Mac Recipe with beer, beans, pasta, olives, spices and cheese ready in 30 ish minutes. A vegetarian dish with a vegan option that doesn’t skimp on the saucy cheesy goodness!

This Tex Mex sweet potato recipe and healthy mac and cheese recipe are two more delicious kid friendly vegetarian dinners that are ready in under 30 minutes. Chili Mac, Tex Mex and Quesadillas! Mexican theme night anyone?

One Pot Chili Mac Recipe

Thug Kitchen Chili Mac

This chili mac recipe, if you haven’t had the pleasure, is a combination of hearty vegetarian chili with the cheesiness of Instant Pot macaroni and cheese. Chili mac and cheese is literally your two most favourite comfort meals coming together in one pot. In fact, throw a little reminder of goulash in there too! The smokiness, the spices, the tomatoes, and beans of a chili combines with the pasta and cheese in a pairing sent from above. And this healthy vegetarian version with added nutrients and flavour will blow your mind. You will NOT miss the meat!

Mac chili is the perfect 30 minute dinner idea for busy weeknights. Despite the beer, it is still a kid friendly dinner that is always a hit. In fact, get ready to be asked to put this chili mac recipe in your regular dinner rotation. It is that good! You can’t beat a quick and easy comforting one pot meal, with easy clean-up. Especially when it has this much flavor!

Ingredients for Vegan Chili Mac Recipe

  • Macaroni: Elbow macaroni. For this healthy version opt for whole wheat or brown rice pasta.
  • Veggies: Finely chopped onion. Chopped large carrot. Chopped bell pepper.
  • Jalapeno: Seeded and minced for a milder flavour. Keep the seeds in if you like it super spicy.
  • Spices: Chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, and salt.
  • Tomato base: Low sodium tomato paste. Low sodium can of tomato sauce.
  • Oil: Avocado oil is a healthy choice. You could also use olive oil if you prefer.
  • Beer: An organic lager or stout works well. Otherwise, whatever you have in your fridge works. The alcohol content will disappear through cooking, leaving incredible flavour.
  • Broth: Low sodium vegetable broth.
  • Beans: Low sodium black beans, red kidney beans, and pinto beans. Drained and rinsed.
  • Honey: Can also use maple syrup as a non-refined sugar sweetener.
  • Lime juice: A pop of citrus brightens this whole dish up a notch. Always a good idea in a chili! Can also use lemon.
  • Olives: Or artichokes, chopped. If you love a salty brine, you will love this optional add-in.
  • Shredded cheese: Colby Jack. If you follow a vegan diet, sprinkle in some nutritional yeast instead.

How to Make One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese

Adapted from the Thug Kitchen Cookbook, this chili mac recipe caught my attention immediately! It’s made with simple ingredients already found in my kitchen and it’s ready in less than 30 minutes!

  • Preheat pot: In a large dutch oven or soup pot on medium heat, swirl the oil to coat.
  • Add first few ingredients: Add the onion and cook down for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add in the carrot, bell pepper, and jalapeño and continue cooking for a couple more minutes. Smell that? You know something good’s about to happen!
  • Add spices and liquids: Add in the chili powder, cumin, paprika, and salt and cook for a minute or two. Followed by the tomato paste, tomato sauce, beer, and broth and bring to a boil.
  • Add pasta: Toss in the pasta, stir, cover, and cook until the pasta has cooked, stirring occasionally.
  • Add remaining ingredients: Turn off the heat and add beans, honey, lime juice, olives/artichokes, and cheese/nutritional yeast. Stir and adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Serve hot!

Pro Tip: If you eat this chili mac immediately, it is more of a soupy consistency. Give it 30 minutes, and it becomes thick.

Tips and Variations

  • Too spicy? If you’re concerned about the spice level for the kids like I was, don’t be! When pasta is involved, they don’t seem to mind. But of course, you can always eliminate the jalapeno, use fewer or make sure ALL the seeds have been removed.
  • Type of pasta: I used brown rice elbow (kinda) macaroni. And it was so tasty! But you can use whatever you have on hand. Whole wheat, spelt, quinoa, you name it.
  • A salty kick: I added a bit of jarred green olives and artichokes that had to be used and the result was fantastic! 
  • Vegan option: Nutritional yeast typically comes in the form of powdered flakes. It’s very high in Vitamin B and protein. Many people sprinkle it on anything you would normally find a cheesy flavour. Think popcorn, soups, pasta, and of course mac and cheese. (Thug Kitchen books are vegan).
  • Beer: I used Granville Island’s dark ale and it added such a depth of flavour to this chili macaroni and cheese. Lagers and stouts are great as well.
  • Gluten free: Believe it or not, there is gluten free beer! Check them out if you’d still like to add beer to your recipe. Of course along with any gluten-free pasta of your choosing.
  • No beer: If you will not be using any beer, adding in additional stock or broth as a replacement will work too.
  • A meat version: I do realize this is a vegetarian chili mac (and possibly vegan). But what’s great about its versatility is that if by chance you wanted to add in meat one day, you could! Ground beef, turkey, or chicken would be a simple add-in.

Storing, Freezing & Reheating

Store: Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

Freeze: Keep chili mac in the freezer for up to 3 months. This means if you make more than one batch, you can save some for a later date!

Reheat: Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stovetop or microwave.

More Healthy Mac and Chili Recipes

I received this book free from HarperCollins Canada in exchange for an honest review which I offered. You all need this plant-based book in your lives!

Thug Kitchen Chili Mac Recipe
One Pot Chili Mac Recipe

One Pot Chili Mac Recipe

This super healthy One Pot Chili Mac Recipe with beer, beans, pasta, olives, spices and cheese ready in 30ish minutes. A vegetarian dish with a vegan option that doesn't skimp on the saucy cheesy goodness!
4.85 from 13 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: One Pot Meal
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 551kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeño seeded and minced (or with seeds and more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin ground
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-3 tbsp tomato paste low sodium
  • 14 oz can tomato sauce low sodium
  • 1 cup beer
  • 3 cups vegetable broth low sodium
  • 3 cups elbow macaroni whole wheat or brown rice
  • 2 x 14 oz cans of black/red/pinto beans rinsed and drained, low sodium
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • 1 cup olives or artichokes from a jar chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese like Colby Jack or 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (for vegans)

Instructions

  • Preheat large dutch oven or soup pot on medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add carrot, bell pepper, jalapeño and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add chili powder, cumin, paprika and salt; stir and cook for a minute or two.
  • Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, beer, broth and bring to a boil.
  • Add pasta, stir, cover and cook for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Turn off the heat and add beans, honey, lime juice, olives/artichokes and cheese/nutritional yeast. Stir and adjust seasoning to taste. Serve hot.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

    Notes

    • Too spicy? You can always eliminate the jalapeno, use fewer or make sure ALL the seeds have been removed.
    • Type of pasta: I used brown rice elbow (kinda) macaroni. And it was so tasty! But you can use whatever you have on hand. Whole wheat, spelt, quinoa, you name it.
    • A salty kick: I added a bit of jarred green olives and artichokes that had to be used and the result was fantastic! 
    • Beer: I used Granville Island’s dark ale and it added such a depth of flavour to this chili macaroni and cheese. Lagers and stouts are great as well.
    • No beer: If you will not be using any beer, adding in additional stock or broth as a replacement will work too.
    • A meat version: I do realize this is a vegetarian chili mac (and possibly vegan). But what’s great about its versatility is that if by chance you wanted to add in meat one day, you could! Ground beef, turkey, or chicken would be a simple add-in.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 2cups | Calories: 551kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 848mg | Potassium: 371mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 3611IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 2mg
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    olena osipov in the studio

    Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

    My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

    31 comments on “One Pot Chili Mac Recipe

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    1. 5 stars
      I am so happy I found your website. Your recipes have really transformed the way we eat. I would love to see more vegetarian options as I am trying to limit my meat intake to once per day. Love this chili Mac.

      1. I am so happy your family liked this recipe so much! I have a number of vegetarian recipes, but will keep your suggestion in mind when I am developing new recipes 🙂

    2. 5 stars
      Thank you so much for your recipes! They are quick to make. My adult kids and I wanted to lose weight and eat more healthy foods. We love all of the recipes we have tried so far.

      We appreciate what you do for this site 😀

    3. 5 stars
      I just found your website because I was searching for a vegan chili and mac and this one intrigued me. This was SO delicious. We went plant based a year ago and I’ve made tons of chilis, but have never made a chili mac. My entire family of five enjoyed it and I was especially thrilled that my 15-year old (who despises chili) really liked this because there was pasta in it! I used Barilla whole grain elbows and they were perfect. I used a scant 2tsp of the smoked paprika, as we’re still getting used to the taste, and omitted the jalapeno, olives and artichokes (they sounded amazing, but I was concerned my younger kids wouldn’t eat it then). I did add about a cup of frozen corn instead. I also used nutritional yeast and grated a slice of Daiya cheddar cheese. Served with my favorite vegan cornbread and voila! Definitely going into my regular dinner rotation. It came together so fast and was so economical. Thank you, Olena!

    4. I’d enjoying trying this recipe but we don’t do alcohol. I realize that the alcohol from the beer cooks off but I’m also gluten free and since we don’t drink I don’t know the first thing about buying gluten free beer and I don’t enjoy the thought of wasting the rest of the bottle as I don’t enjoy wasting foods.

      Any tips to still get a nice depth of flavor while skipping the beer?

    5. 5 stars
      I have made this recipe several times and it is KILLER! Absolutely delicious. The only problem is that there are very rarely leftovers…

    6. 5 stars
      Only one word to describe this. Amazing. I added ground beef to it and it’s probably the best chili Mac I’ve ever had. Highly recommend to anybody!

    7. 3 stars
      I really wanted to like this recipe, but I have to say I’m disappointed. I followed the recipe to a T and it just didn’t taste much like chili or mac and cheese to me. In my opinion, it could have benefited from more cheese, diced tomatoes instead of tomato sauce and a scale back in the chili powder and smoked paprika, maybe no paprika at all.

    8. 5 stars
      I just made this for dinner and it was very good.Although I did use just 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika. It made a lot but that is fine for leftovers and one frozen meal for next week. Thank You

    9. This. Is. Ridiculous. Just made it, and it’s fantastic! Now I’m going to have to pick up that cookbook. Thank you!!

    10. 5 stars
      Hello, I am new to your website and I have loved some of your recipes. I just wanted to know how clean are they? nutrition wise. are they healthy fat ingredients and things of the sort?

      1. Hi Zain. As far as I know, my recipes are 97% clean. I use healthy fats, whole grains, beans, legumes, lean proteins, no refined sugar, fruits and vegetables. Yes, I think my recipes are pretty wholesome and healthy.:) You can read more about my food philosophy in this post.

    11. 5 stars
      I have been following your menus recipes for quite a while now and I want to tell you they are wonderful. Very “unprocessed” in this world of toxic foods. At 64 I have started on green smoothies and many of your recipes. Keep them coming and I await your cookbook!

      1. Thank you very much, Sandy! It is toxic indeed. Looking at people’s shopping carts I understand HOW toxic it is. So sad. I will keep spreading the word. Not sure about the book – I might be too blunt for the majority of population, like Trump lol. However, that might mean a bestseller?! ?

    12. Someone at work just was telling me about this book… so, you recommend it? I love chili and I love macaroni that means I’ll have to try out this recipe. I’m so sick of the snow too!!

      1. This cookbook is the best one I have seen so far on the market oh so saturated with cookbooks nowadays. Michelle’s recipes are unique and yet with such simple ingredients! I want to make every single one of them because I pretty much always have all ingredients n hand after a regular grocery shopping trip. I have tried about 5 recipes so far and they have all been fantastic. She has a very similar to mine cooking style and taste, I love it! Very very simple. I recommend ALL Thug Kitchen books i na heartbeat. I have 2 of them and they are fantastic, especially for vegans.
        What do you say about snow today? I think my car is not leaving garage for a week LOL. Thank God I went to Costco yesterday. Now we can be prisoners of this nonsense, at least fed. Can’t wait for spring!

        1. I’m making this chili today. But, now I have to venture out to get a few ingredients. I can’t wait for warmer weather! I wonder if this is the end of the snow. Good thing you are all stocked up in case there is more to come 🙂

          1. Thinking it is February, maybe it is the last dump. It is mind blowing what is happening. Schools are closed today. On the plus side, kids are having a blast playing outside for hours and I spent 3 hours with them outside yesterday. I also like to go for walks in this winter wonderland. Last night kids turned on lights outside (we had no chance to take them off due to weather and being busy), drank hot chocolate and sand jingle bells LOL. Why not?! Enjoy your time off work and hope you liked the chili mac, did you?

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