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One-Pot Mac Chili Recipe

Easy homemade vegan mac chili is made with wholesome ingredients like beans, whole grain pasta, and lots of veggies with warm spices. It simple to make and can be on the table in about 30 minutes.

overhead photo of mac chili in bright blue plates and cast iron pan on wooden tabletop

Back in 2017, I was looking around for a new, healthy pasta dish and finally found it. This easy chili mac recipe comes together in minutes and is now a family favorite.

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You’ll love mac chili because it’s…

  • Ready in minutes
  • Vegetable-packed
  • Satisfying
  • A one-pot meal
  • Delicious
large blue stockpot full of mac chili with speckled blue spoon

Vegan Hamburger Helper

When I was a kid, Hamburger Helper was all the craze, and my family ate it frequently. As a plant-based adult, sometimes over the years, I would miss those tomato-based pasta dinners.

That is what prompted me to play around in the kitchen and come up with this meatless vegan version that is absolutely delicious.

How to make homemade vegan mac chili

A full list of ingredients, measurements, instructions, and a print button can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Begin this recipe by selecting the pasta you want to use and cooking it according to the package directions.

elbow macaroni in blue stockpot

Pasta options

There are many different types of healthy vegan pasta to choose from. I like to use spelt, quinoa, whole wheat, or brown rice pasta that is egg-free. They are readily available in many grocery stores.

Make sure not to overcook the pasta, as it will become mushy when overdone. To help prevent this, I like to drain mine in a colander immediately after it has finished cooking and run cool water over it to stop the cooking process.

Set the cooked pasta to the side and begin to chop up the vegetables to be used. For this recipe, I really like onion, celery, and red bell peppers diced up.

diced onion, celery, celery on brown cutting board with knife

I am often asked what knives I use and recommend for cooking, and my favorite brand is Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery. Yes, that’s the same company that makes the Swiss Army Knife. These knives come with a lifetime guarantee and are very reasonably priced. I absolutely love mine.

In a medium-sized stockpot, add the diced veggies and about 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water to saute them. I use the same pot that the pasta was previously cooked in, so it doesn’t mess up any more dishes.

Cook the veggies until they are slightly tender, approximately 5 minutes.

sauteed onions, celery, and red bell pepper in large stockpot with red spatula

Add more water or broth as necessary if they begin to stick to the bottom of your pan. Once they are done, it’s time to add the rest of the ingredients, EXCEPT the cooked pasta.

If you would like to make your own ketchup for this recipe, check out my 10-Minute Vegan Ketchup recipe.

If using canned beans, you’ll want to drain and rinse them to remove most of the preservatives and salt.

red and white kidney beans in white colander

After adding the other ingredients and spices, stir together well and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add in the cooked pasta and cook another 1 minute to heat it all up well. You don’t want to leave it much longer than that because the pasta will overcook.

Top with fresh minced parsley if desired, and serve immediately with crusty bread and a garden salad for a full meal.

mac chili in 2 white bowls

Recipe adapted from Dr. Neal Barnard’s book, Breaking the Food Seduction.

*Originally published January 2017.

Other mac chili cooking options

This recipe is very versatile and can be made in your Instant Pot and slowcooker as well as on the stovetop.

Instant Pot directions

Set the Instant Pot to Saute and add the diced vegetables and approximately 1/4 cup veggie broth. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to lightly brown in about 5 minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients (including the UNCOOKED pasta) and stir together well. I have found that a silicone high heat resistant spatula works great for this.

Put the lid on your pot, turn the valve to Sealing, and select Manual. Set for 7 minutes of cooking time.

Once it finishes cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. After that time, turn the valve to Vent to release the rest of the pressure before opening.

Adjust seasonings such as salt and pepper (and even the others) to tastes preferences if needed.

Crockpot instructions

Place all ingredients in crockpot and allow the soup to cook on HIGH for approximately 4 hours or set to LOW for about 6 hours. 

close up of mac chili in blue plate with fork

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Other plant-based pasta dishes:

overhead photo of mac chili in bright blue plates and cast iron pan on wooden tabletop

Easy Mac Chili Recipe

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Easy homemade vegan mac chili is made with wholesome ingredients like beans, whole grain pasta, and lots of veggies with warm spices. It simple to make and can be on the table in about 30 minutes.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Begin this recipe by selecting the pasta you want to use and cooking it according to the package directions. In the article above, I list some suggestions.
  2. Make sure not to overcook the pasta, as it will become mushy when overdone. To help prevent this, I like to drain mine in a colander immediately after it has finished cooking and run cool water over it to stop the cooking process. Set the cooked pasta to the side and begin to chop up the vegetables to be used.
  3. For this recipe, I really like onion, celery, and red bell peppers diced up.
  4. In a medium-sized stockpot, add the diced veggies and about 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water to saute them. I use the same pot that the pasta was previously cooked in, so it doesn’t mess up any more dishes.
  5. Cook the veggies until they are slightly tender, approximately 5 minutes. Add more water or broth as necessary if they begin to stick to the bottom of your pan.
  6. Once they are done, it’s time to add the rest of the ingredients, EXCEPT the cooked pasta.
  7. If you would like to make your own ketchup for this recipe, check out my 10-Minute Vegan Ketchup recipe.
  8. If using canned beans, you’ll want to drain and rinse them to remove most of the preservatives and salt.
  9. After adding the other ingredients and spices, stir together well and cook for another 5 minutes.
  10. Add in the cooked pasta and cook another 1 minute to heat it all up well. You don’t want to leave it much longer than that because the pasta will overcook.
  11. Top with fresh minced parsley if desired, and serve immediately with crusty bread and a garden salad for a full meal.


Instant Pot directions

Set the Instant Pot to Saute and add the diced vegetables and approximately 1/4 cup veggie broth. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to lightly brown in about 5 minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients (including the UNCOOKED pasta) and stir together well. I have found that a silicone high heat resistant spatula works great for this.

Put the lid on your pot, turn the valve to Sealing, and select Manual. Set for 7 minutes of cooking time.

Once it finishes cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. After that time, turn the valve to Vent to release the rest of the pressure before opening.

Adjust seasonings such as salt and pepper (and even the others) to tastes preferences if needed.

Crockpot instructions

Place all ingredients in crockpot and allow the soup to cook on HIGH for approximately 4 hours or set to LOW for about 6 hours. 



Notes

Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 253Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 9gSugar: 9gProtein: 13g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate and leave a comment because I love hearing from you. Remember SHARING IS CARING!

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Dee

Wednesday 13th of January 2021

This was delicious! So flavorful! I used the IP method. Thank you!

Barb

Sunday 8th of March 2020

Wow!! Instant Pot method for the win! SO flavorful ?

Terri Edwards

Sunday 8th of March 2020

YAY! So glad to hear that it was a WIN!Thanks so much for the great feedback.

Dolores Jones

Sunday 3rd of March 2019

Fixed this today. Absolutely delicious! Thank you for your recipes. Dolores

EatPlant-Based.com

Monday 4th of March 2019

Wonderful to hear this! Thank you for the great feedback!

Mel

Sunday 3rd of March 2019

Yum - O ?

Shawna

Sunday 3rd of March 2019

Looks wonderful! Would love to see an IP version.

Melissa

Tuesday 28th of May 2019

I made this in the IP. I sauteed the vegetables, then added the beans, noodles, 2 cups of water, tomatoes and ketchup, then spices. I did not mix it together, because tomatoes can easily burn to the bottom. I cooked it for half the lowest time listed on the package (rounding down), and it turned out great!