One-Pot Mac Chili Recipe

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Easy Homemade Vegan Mac Chili is made with wholesome ingredients like beans, whole grain pasta, and lots of veggies with warm spices. It is 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.

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

The recipe card at the bottom of the page has the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions.

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 which knives I use personally, and I have to say that it is Victorinox. They are the same company that makes Swiss Army Knives and the quality is excellent.

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 slow cooker 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 of 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). the beans, noodles, 2 cups of water, tomatoes, and ketchup, then spices. Do not stir because tomatoes can easily burn to the bottom.

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 taste 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

Other plant-based pasta dishes:

For those of you new to the whole food plant-based lifestyle, we’ve created a FREE 7-Day Plant-Based Menu Planner to help you get started!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

If you try this recipe, please let us know how you like it by rating it and leaving a comment. We love to hear from you!

overhead photo of mac chili in bright blue plates and cast iron pan on wooden tabletop
4.82 from 27 votes

Easy 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.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1-1/2 cups elbow macaroni dry, use whole grain pasta
  • 1/2 cup onions diced
  • 1/2 cup celery diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper diced, or any color
  • 1 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 15 oz can red kidney beans drained and rinsed, or fresh cooked
  • 1 15 oz can white kidney beans drained and rinsed, or fresh cooked
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon basil ground
  • salt to taste if desired
  • fresh parsley minced for topping (optional)

Instructions

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In a medium-sized stockpot, add the diced veggies and about 1/4 cup of 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. 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.
  • 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.

Video

Notes

Instant Pot directions
Set the Instant Pot to Saute and add the diced vegetables and approximately 1/4 cup of 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). the beans, noodles, 2 cups of water, tomatoes, and ketchup, then spices. Do not stir because tomatoes can easily burn to the bottom.
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 taste preferences if needed.
Crockpot instructions
Place all ingredients in the crockpot and allow the soup to cook on HIGH for approximately 4 hours or set to LOW for about 6 hours. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 253kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 1g | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 9g

Disclaimer

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.

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About Terri Edwards

Hi guys! I am the content creator behind EatPlant-Based and a licensed Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. I am passionate about sharing healthy recipes and tips to empower others to get healthy.  I’m so glad you’re here! Read More…

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33 Comments

  1. I can do this! Looks delicious! Thx for the easy recipe with visuals! Love recipes with pics – very helpful!

  2. I fixed this recipe last night and it is great. This is one of those recipes that satisfies carnivores as well as those who don’t eat meat. Thank you!

  3. I’m constantly amazed that ‘healthy vegans’ allow so much pasta, whole grain or not, white flour,etc. All pastas and flours are mucous forming and refined and do not contribute to health.

  4. Just made this and it is YUM! I added about a cup of not-beef crumbles instead of a second can of beans, and topped my bowl with a generous sprinkle of nooch. Mmmm!

    1. 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!

      1. Melissa, thanks so much for the InstantPot directions. That is very helpful, and I have added your comment to the article to help others. So glad that it turned out well for you!

    2. @Melissa, I wish I would have read your comment before I made this recipe. I ended up getting a burn notice to add water. I had to take it out of the Insta Pot, transfer it to a clean pot, and finish it on the stove. The entire bottom of the pot was burned food 🤨. I hope the Insta Pot instructions will be revised to your notes. Thanks. 😀

  5. Just wondering if the pasta should be cooked or uncooked when adding all ingredients at one time for the slow cooker method.

    Thank you

  6. I made this today, and absolutely loved it! It’s so tasty! However, I cooked mine in the Instant Pot, and found out that the pasta was still somewhat chewy. I had added a little broth to make sure the pasta was covered in liquid before cooking. I suggest that adding even a bit more broth would help in having the pasta at the right “bite.” It just seemed too dry without any added liquid when using that method of cooking. I did use whole wheat pasta, so not sure if that made that much of a difference.

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