Chili meets pasta in this easy Vegan Chili Mac recipe! It comes together in just 30 minutes for a simple weeknight meal. So satisfying and also family-friendly. (Vegan, oil-free, gluten-free option.)
This Vegan Chili Mac recipe is a big pot of satisfying comfort food made healthy!
It combines pasta, beans, and flavorful spices in a rich tomato sauce.
Plus it's quick and simple to prepare with only 10 ingredients that are mostly pantry staples.
We find the leftovers are just as delicious (or even more so) the next day.
Ingredients for Vegan Chili Mac
For this dish you will combine in a large skillet:
- Elbow pasta: Elbow-shaped macaroni pasta is typically used for chili mac, however you can substitute your own favorite shape. Use gluten-free pasta if desired.
- Yellow onion: Or you can use sweet onion or white onion if needed.
- Fresh garlic cloves
- Tomato sauce: Be sure to use a 15-ounce can plain tomato sauce for this recipe (not marinara sauce).
- Red kidney beans: Or you can substitute pinto beans or black beans if desired.
- Sweet corn: Either canned, frozen corn, fire-roasted, or cooked fresh.
- Chili powder: I use mild chili powder. Most chili powders have only a slight hint of heat, but it can vary depending on how much cayenne pepper they contain. If you're concerned about the spice level, simply reduce the chili powder and increase the other seasonings instead.
- Ground cumin
- Dried oregano: Be sure your pantry spices are fresh (not expired) for best flavor.
- Smoked paprika
Cheesy version: Add your favorite vegan cheese sauce, 1-2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast, or dairy-free cheddar shreds.
Make it "meaty": As you sauté your onion, also add vegan ground beef crumbles, crumbled tempeh, or even diced mushrooms for meaty texture.
Make it spicy: This recipe is mild (if using a mild chili powder), so add a dash of dried chipotle powder, chipotle in adobo sauce, cayenne pepper, jalapeno, or hot sauce to taste.
Vegetables: Add other veggies such as bell pepper, diced tomatoes, or stir in fresh spinach at the end.
Top your bowl with fresh cilantro, vegan sour cream, nutritional yeast, vegan cheese shreds, or cheese sauce if desired.
For more inspiration, also browse all easy vegan dinner recipes.
Vegan Chili Mac
- 8 oz. elbow pasta (gluten-free if desired)
- 1 yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 15 oz. can tomato sauce
- 15 oz. can kidney beans
- 1 1/2 cups sweet corn, cooked (I use frozen or canned)
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder (I use mild)
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- Optional: fresh baby spinach to stir in at the end
- Cook pasta, leaving al dente (firm not mushy). Drain when finished.
- Meanwhile, dice onion and mince garlic.
- In a large pan over medium-high heat, sauté onion for 8 minutes. (I use 3 Tbsp. water/broth for an oil-free sauté method, adding more as needed.)
- When onion is soft, add garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and smoked paprika. Stir and cook 1 minute.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add tomato sauce, kidney beans (rinsed and drained), and corn. Stir. Lightly simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add cooked pasta and stir to combine. Heat for 2-3 minutes. Salt/pepper to taste if needed and add any desired toppings.
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
If you are enjoying this easy vegan chili mac recipe, also check out:
- Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Mushroom Pasta
- BBQ Chickpea Chopped Salad with Avocado Ranch
- Avocado Veggie Sandwich