Healthy Chili Mac Recipe
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This healthy chili mac recipe is a great family meal. One the whole family will love without any complaints. Can’t go wrong with this one!
Chili mac is not a dish I grew up with. In fact, it’s not a dish I had ever experienced before this. I was kind of shooting in the dark on this one, but I have to say, I think my aim was pretty good.
This may not be the more traditional version you’re thinking of, but it’s close enough to get the job done and it definitely qualifies as comfort food.
What Is Chili Mac?
As the name indicates, it’s a combination of chili and macaroni and cheese. It’s a delicious, heady combination that really satisfies.
What Make This Version Healthier?
For starters, it uses much less cheese, so the fat content is lower. That said, you can certainly pile on some grated cheese if you wish.
Also, while most folks will use ground beef, this one uses lean ground turkey.
And lastly, the pasta used is whole grain pasta.
What To Serve With Healthy Chili Mac
Chili mac is truly a stand-alone dish. But if you want sides, a salad is a great option as are other cooked veggies. You could actually mix them in if you prefer, or keep them separate on the side. Some homemade, whole-grain, crusty garlic bread would be good too, or even corn bread if that’s your preference! Pretty much anything that pairs well with either chili or macaroni and cheese will pair well with the combination of them both.
Want Creamier Chili Mac?
You can stir in a cup or more of either sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Want Cheesier Chili Mac?
Feel free to stir in some grated cheddar cheese while everything is hot.
Does Your Chili Mac Seem Dry?
It shouldn’t but if you feel it needs more liquid, feel free to add a little bit of chicken broth as needed to get things to the right consistency.
What To Add Veggies?
Good veggies to add here would be:
- If you want to make this dairy-free, simply use nutritional yeast instead of cheese.
- Some freshly ground black pepper is wonderful in this.
- You can spice this up by adding some hot sauce.
- Add extra fiber by stirring in some cooked kidney beans
- Need it gluten-free? Use gluten-free pasta and make sure your spices are all gluten-free.
About The Ingredients
Whole grain macaroni pasta – cooked separately to package directions.
Lean ground turkey – You can also use lean ground beef if you prefer that.
Coconut oil – I used virgin coconut oil. But you can use any oil you normally cook with.
Dehydrated onions – You can also use 1½ cups of raw, chopped, purple onion instead. Simply cook them with the meat.
Garlic powder – Or garlic granules.
Canned tomato sauce – no sugar added, low sodium is best.
Water – Use good, filtered, drinking water.
Parmesan cheese – For garnish
Salt – to taste at serving
How To Make Healthy Chili Mac
Cook your pasta separately, to package directions.
In a medium or large soup pot, cook the turkey in the oil.
When the meat is about halfway cooked, stir in all the spices.
When the meat is finished cooking, stir in the pasta and the remaining ingredients.
Served topped with parmesan cheese.
Store this in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
Can You Freeze Healthy Chili Mac?
Absolutely! I find the best way to freeze it is in individual portions so it’s easy to access when you want it. But it’s not necessary. You can make a big batch and freeze it for a family meal. I would limit freezing time to about 2 months max, however. Beyond that, the pasta will take on an odd texture.
For this recipe, you’ll want a pasta pot, a large skillet, and a metal spatula. You can click any of these images to be taken to that product on Amazon. (Affiliate links)
More Pasta Dinner Ideas
Healthy Chili Mac Recipe Card
Healthy Chili Mac Recipe
- 1 lb. whole grain macaroni pasta (cooked separately to package directions)
- 1½ lb. lean ground turkey
- 2 tsp. coconut oil
- ¼ cup dehydrated onions
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 15 oz. can tomato sauce (no sugar added, low sodium is best)
- 1 cup water
- parmesan cheese for garnish
- salt to taste at serving
- Cook your pasta separately, to package directions.
- In a medium or large soup pot, cook the turkey in the oil.
- When the meat is about half way cooked, stir in all the spices.
- When the meat is finished cooking, stir in the pasta and remaining ingredients.
- Served topped with parmesan cheese.
I'm Tiffany, a cookbook author, food lover, mom, and wannabe Elvis when I'm in the shower or driving in my car.
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Funny this should come in my email today! Last night, after cooking my father stroganoff using hamburger, I saved a quarter cup of the burger for my supper. After rinsing in, I added tomatoe sauce (low sodium), some of my own salsa, and salt and pepper. Mixed it with ww macaroni, Don’t really know if it was “clean” (I’m just learning!), but I certainly knew the stroganoff wasn’t!!
If the salsa was clean, then the meal was clean. Great job!
Did you measure how much macaroni you used? From the picture it looks like a good ratio of mac to the turkey. Looking forward to trying it. Thanks!
It was about a 50/50 ratio.
Looks good! I have ground chicken, I think I’ll make this with that and see how it goes!
Awesome! Hope you enjoy it!
I just happen to have all of the ingredients, and no idea of what to make for dinner! Perfect timing! 🙂 Can’t wait to try it!
Awesome! I hope you enjoy it!
My pleasure! Enjoy!
Any oil you have on had will work fine.
It was a unique taste! It is worth making to experience something different. I added vegetables as well.
Awesome! Glad you enjoyed it.
Curious about the Nutrional Values, and whether you accounted for the pasta, and if so how much?
Nevermind… should read more closely : )
Can you leave the cinnamon out?
Of course. 🙂
I made this tonight and really enjoyed the blend of the spices. I am going to add this to my meal rotation.
When do you add the tomato sauce and water?
Jackie – When you put the pasta in.
Just made this tonight. Didn’t have any Parmesan so we just did without it. My boys (who have been in a picky spell lately) cleaned their plates! I have to be honest & say that I didn’t expect this to be near as tasty as it truly was. Chili Mac has never been a dish I cared for until now. And it’s an easy, fast, clean meal to boot! Definitely going to be a go-to dish from now on!
Jana – Fantastic!!! So glad everyone enjoyed it! 😀
i’ve made something similar except i add some fresh red pepper, hungarian hot peeper and/or jalapeno (heat to your taste). Also some beans… usually black but pinto or red would be more “Chili” like.
Jeff – Yum! Sounds great!
Made this tonight and my kids loved it! Used Bison instead of turkey and quinoa pasta! Delish it will become a staple in my house.
Mishelle – Fantastic! So glad everyone liked it! 🙂
Just made this for dinner tonight, it was my first clean meal and my son who is a very picky eater Loved it!!! I’m so glad I found your website! 😀
Cindy – Wonderful!! I’m so happy you both enjoyed it! 😀
Just want to say thank you for this recipe! It has become a staple on our weekly dinner menu because the kids request it so often.
Neeshia – Fantastic! I’m so glad you’re all enjoying it! 😀
Made this tonight except I added more water and cooked pasta in the sauce (2 cups Mac & 5 cups water). Excellent! 4 and 6 year old devoured it and so did my husband and I! Had a very Cincinnati-style taste to it. Thanks for a great recipe! 🙂
Joanna – Wonderful! So glad you all enjoyed it! 😀