Chili Mac – Super easy and, oh, so cheesy! Make it as mild or spicy as you like.
Cooler temps call for heartier meals. A stick to your ribs dish that will warm your belly. This Easy Cheesy Chili Mac is a recipe I’ve been making for years and checks off that criteria. My kids love this chili mac and never leave the table without having a second helping. It’s nutritious – full of protein and packed with vitamins and minerals – and tastes rich and flavorful. Give this chili mac recipe a try and it might just become one of your family’s favorites like it is ours.
Make It Cheesy!
I have served this more often than not without the cheese sauce and it’s still fabulous and a huge kid favorite. So, if you are running low on time and would prefer to make this an under 20 minute meal, you can leave out the cheese sauce from the Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese recipe. The cheese sauce takes it over the top, though, and I highly recommend trying it at least once this way!
Just look at the creamy cheesy sauce! Not an speck of dairy in sight! No oil or soy either!
Make It Spicy or Mild
We love this with a big slice of Pumpkin Maple Cornbread on the side. Sweet and spicy together is so good! Of course, you can make this chili mac as spicy or mild as you like. The cayenne pepper and jalapeño are totally optional. Grab a spoon a dig in!
Easy Cheesy Chili Mac
I hope you guys love this Chili Mac recipe as much we do. Give it a try today and leave me a comment below with your feedback. You can also find me on social media. Be sure to tag @veggie_inspired and #veggieinspired so I’m sure to see it! Enjoy!
- 1 recipe Butternut Mac (use gluten free noodles if desired)
- 24 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 white onion (diced)
- 1/2 green pepper (diced)
- 1 cup + 1/4 cup vegetable broth (divided)
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- pinch of cayenne for a little heat (optional)
- 1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen)
- 2 cups cooked kidney beans (or 1 15 oz can)
- 1 jalapeño (diced, optional)
- avocado, cilantro, lime, crushed tortilla chips, etc.
- Start the Butternut Mac recipe: Cook the veggies, start soaking the cashews, and bring the pasta water to a boil. Set the veggies aside when tender.
- In a large pan, heat 1/4 cup vegetable broth over medium heat and add the onion and green pepper, and jalapeño, if using. Saute for 6-7 minutes until softened.
- Add the diced tomatoes, 1 cup vegetable broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano and cayenne, if using. Let simmer for 8-10 minutes to let flavors develop and the sauce to thicken.
- Meanwhile, drop your pasta from the Butternut Mac recipe in the water and cook until al dente. Set aside 1/4 cup of the cooking water (for the Butternut Mac sauce) and drain the rest.
- Add Butternut Mac sauce ingredients to your high speed blender and puree for several minutes until perfectly smooth.
- While the Butternut Mac sauce is pureeing, add the corn and kidney beans to the tomato mixture and stir.
- When the sauce is smooth, pour it into the tomato mixture and stir to combine. I use the whole sauce recipe, but feel free to add less if you like.
- Add the noodles and stir to combine
- Serve warm with garnishes of choice.
~This Chili Mac is delicious without the cheese sauce as well. If you are tight on time, leave it out and you've got yourself a 20 minute meal!
~The cayenne pepper and jalapeño are totally optional. Leave them out for a mild flavor, use both if you like heat. If your tastebuds fall somewhere in the middle, use just 1/2 of a jalapeño.
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*This post is linked up to Tinned Tomatoes: Meat Free Mondays.