Vegetarian chili mac is a classic comfort food recipe that’s made in one pot in just 30 minutes. This recipe is great for weeknight dinners and is super easy to make!
This is the meal that I find myself making more than any other recipe on the blog. It’s flavorful, cheesy, family-friendly and one of those recipes that even the pickiest non-vegetarians love!
Why make this recipe
Quick and easy: Made in one pot in just 30 minutes!
Vegan and gluten-free optional: You can make this recipe vegan by omitting the cheese or replacing it with vegan shreds. Make it gluten-free using gluten-free pasta.
If you like my vegetarian taco pasta recipe you’re definitely going to love this!
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Kidney beans: I use a mix of light red and dark red kidney beans. Pinto beans, red beans and even black beans also work well. Choose cans labeled “no added salt” or cook dry beans to limit extra salt.
Tomatoes: Crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce make the chili base.
Pasta: Elbow macaroni is my go-to pasta for chili mac because it’s what is usually used in mac and cheese. However, any short or medium grain pasta will work. Try using whole wheat pasta or protein pasta for a healthy swap.
Cheese: Shredded cheddar is my go-to, but you can also use Monterrey jack.
Step by step instructions
- Sauté onions and mushrooms until softened.
- Add garlic and sauté until aromatic. Stir in the spices, stirring frequently, and cook for 30 seconds to bloom the spices.
- Pour in the vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Once boiling, add the pasta and beans. Stir to prevent pasta from sticking together. Reduce to a rapid simmer and simmer until pasta is cooked.
- Stir in the cheese and serve.
Expert tips and FAQ
- Mushrooms: Several readers have noted that they don’t like adding mushrooms to this recipe. I chop them very finely and add them for their “meaty” texture. Omit them if desired.
- Toppings: Sour cream, extra shredded cheddar, sliced green onions, cilantro and a dash of hot sauce are my go-to toppings.
- Cook times for pasta will vary based on brand. Cook until the pasta is al dente, or fork tender, for best results.
- Want a more traditional chili mac texture? Vegetarian/vegan “meatless grounds” (AKA meatless ground beef) can be added after cooking. Or try adding vegan tempeh taco meat.
- Spice: For a touch of spice, add in finely chopped jalapeno with garlic or 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne.
Refrigerate leftovers in a closed container for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, or until warmed through. Add an extra splash of vegetable broth as needed.
Yes. Simply replace regular pasta with your favorite gluten-free pasta.
Yes. Let the chili mac cool before transferring to a freezer safe container. I like to freeze it in individual portions for quicker meals. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
More vegetarian dinner ideas
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