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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 Turkey 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 cornbread 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. Sharp cheddar tastes wonderful.
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 (or beef broth if you are using beef) 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 noodles – cooked separately to package directions.
Coconut oil – I used virgin coconut oil. But you can use any oil you normally cook with.
Lean ground turkey – You can also use lean ground beef if you prefer that.
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
Gather all your ingredients.
Cook your pasta separately to package directions.
In a medium to large soup pot or Dutch oven, 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 it into the pasta.
Mix together all the sauce ingredients and add that to the bowl.
Stir well and 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
Chili Mac Recipe
- 1 lb. whole grain macaroni pasta (cooked separately to package directions)
- 2 tsp. coconut oil
- 1½ lb. lean ground turkey
- 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
- Gather all your ingredients.
- Cook your pasta separately to package directions.
- In a medium to large soup pot or Dutch oven, 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 it into the pasta.
- Mix together all the sauce ingredients and add that to the bowl.
- Stir well and serve topped with parmesan cheese.
This recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted on 9/20/12.