Easy One Pot Chili Mac packed with lean ground turkey, black beans, bell peppers, and tomatoes for a healthy, hearty dish ready in 30 minutes.
This One Pot Chili Mac combines two of my favorite things, macaroni and cheese and chili, in a delicious and healthy one-pot dish you will absolutely love.
Lately it feels like there just isn't enough time in the day so by the time dinner rolls around, I am in need to something quick and easy and this One Pot Chili Mac fits the bill. It's ready in less than thirty minutes and combines creamy mac and cheese with a hearty chili - delish! It seriously has it all packed in one simple dish. There's lean ground turkey or beef, beans, bell peppers, onion, tomatoes, plenty of spice, pasta, and cheddar cheese. Yum.
The other thing I love about this dish is that it is a healthier, lighter take on a traditional chili mac or dare I say, hamburger helper style dish. It all starts with veggies. I like to use bell pepper and onion since they are more traditional but you could add in any type of veggies you like. Then you add lean ground meat.
I opted for lean ground turkey but you could use beef, chicken, or vegetarian crumbles. Next, come the diced tomatoes and beans. Since we like things spicy, I used diced tomatoes with green chilies but regular diced tomatoes would work. When it comes to beans, anything goes. Black beans are great but you could also use kidney beans, pinto beans, or white beans. Whatever you like in chili will work in this recipe.
What is Chili Mac?
Chili Mac is essentially just a mash up of a traditional chili recipe with macaroni and cheese. It's got a bit of everything - pasta, ground meat, beans, tomatoes, spices, and plenty of cheese. To amke Chili Mac, it all starts with the chili. You can use virtually any chili recipe you like and it's a great use for leftover chili. Then you just add cooked pasta and cheese. Normally it is baked as a casserole.
This One Pot option makes things a little bit easier since you don't have to cook the chili and pasta seperately. Instead it all cooks together and the starch from the pasta helps create a thick, rich sauce. It's easy and really delicious.
Tips for Making One Pot Chili Mac
- As written, the recipe makes a ton of chili mac. If you don't think you will be able to finish it and won't eat the leftovers, consider halving the recipe so the leftovers don't go to waste. If making the full recipe, make sure to use a large pot.
- If you prefer this to be more of a chili or stew, you can add extra chicken broth (or canned tomatoes with juice) to make it more of a soup. Be aware that if you let it sit, the pasta will continue to cook and absorb more of the liquid so it is best to cook the pasta until al dente.
- When it comes to heat, it's up to you! Add more chili powder or a pinch of cayenne for extra heat. You can also throw a jalapeno or poblano pepper into the bell pepper mixture.
- You can use whatever type of protein you like for this recipe. Ground beef is the traditional option but I used ground turkey since it is leaner and is 0 points on the new Weight Watchers Freestyle plan (for those on WW).
- My friend makes this dish all the time and always adds corn. If you decide to add it as well, add it a few minutes before the pasta is finished so that it doesn't get too soft.
- You can add more veggies if you like. Consider zucchini, cauliflower, or spinach.
- For a more traditional Chili Mac, leave the cheese on top instead of stirring it in to the pasta. This will create that cheesy top layer that many people think of when they hear Chili Mac.
- Just like chili, this is delicious with some extra toppings. Add some chopped white onion, cilantro, chopped jalapeno, avocado, or sour cream.
Looking for more healthy chili recipes?
Here are some of the products I used when making this recipe.
- Slow Cooker: There are so many different slow cookers on the market but I personally use this one that allows me to brown, sear, or saute in the same pan. Plus I find the cooking temperature to be really even and consistent.
Easy One Pot Chili Mac
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- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb. 99% lean ground turkey
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 20 oz. canned diced tomatoes with green chilies (not drained)
- 14 oz. canned black beans
- 16 oz high fiber pasta (any shape)
- 3/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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