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

Bad Manners Chili Mac

This chili mac recipe, if you haven’t had the pleasure, is a combination of hearty 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 healthy recipes for 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 healthy chili recipe! 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 Bad Manners 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 gluten free, chickpea, or even red lentil. I prefer whole wheat in healthy macaroni salad and that works here, too.
  • 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! You can also use leftover Instant Pot chicken breast.

Storing, Freezing & Reheating

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

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 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 with beans in blue pot and wooden spoon in it.

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!
4.87 from 15 votes
Servings 6
Calories 551
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 37 minutes

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.

Notes

  • Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze: In airtight container for up to 3 months.
  • 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. 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: Add in additional stock or broth as a replacement will work too.

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 551kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 848mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 9g
Course: One Pot Meal
Cuisine: North American
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

5 Secrets to Easy Healthy Dinners

Plus sign up for weekly emails with recipes to make your cooking stress free, delicious and healthy.

About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

Pin this recipe now to save it for later

Pin Recipe

You may also like

Comments

  1. Can this be turned into a freezer instant pot meal somehow do you think? I am pregnant and trying to have some easy meals ready for after delivery. Let me know if you have ideas — just cook pasta separately and add when making it?, etc.

    Thanks!

    1. That would probably work, you would want to wait and add cheese later too. I have not tested it in the Instant Pot, but these 20 Healthy Freezer Meals most have been specifically tested in Instant Pot or slow cooker. Congrats on the new baby!

  2. 5 stars
    This is so yummy I could eat the whole thing in one sitting! The olives give it a really unique twist!

  3. So excited to try this tonight! For the pasta do you need to pre cook it or should it be added dry and the beer and broth is what cooks the pasta?

  4. Hi! I am wanting to make this recipe but am confused about the beans, 2 cans of each type of bean? Or just two cans of beans can choose any of the three listed?

  5. 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 🙂

  6. 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 😀

  7. 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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.