Who Says You Can't Make Chili Mac Vegan?
When you take a bite of this creamy, cheesy dish, you'll be surprised to know that it's 100% vegan. You'll be sure to impress all of the carnivores in your life with this Vegan Chili Mac recipe that's perfect for a cozy fall afternoon. Ingredients such as turmeric add some anti-inflammatory components to the meal, while the fair amount of beans and lentils in the chili ensures a significant amount of protein. Plus, the avocado topping (optional, but recommended) offers some healthy fats and makes this recipe the total, nutrient-dense package.
This recipe is also a great way to use up leftover chili (can you say, meal prep?). If you don't have any leftovers on hand, it also includes a quick, vegan chili that can be ready in minutes. Who says plant-based meals can't double as comfort food?
Vegan Chili Mac
- 3 cups (594 g) cooked lentils or (516 g) black beans, or 2 (15.5-ounce, or 425-g) cans, rinsed and drained
- 1½ cups (390 g) tomato salsa (hot or mild)
- 3 tablespoons (48 g) barbecue sauce
- 2 to 3 teaspoons (5 to 8 g) chili powder, plus more as needed
- Salt, to taste
- Ground black pepper, to taste
Cheese Sauce Ingredients:
- 3 cups (720 ml) plain unsweetened nondairy milk
- 1¼ cups (175 g) unsalted raw cashews, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes and drained
- ⅓ cup (20 g) nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 16 ounces (454 g) elbow macaroni, or other small pasta
- Nonstick cooking spray, for preparing the baking dish
- ¾ cup (47 g) crushed tortilla chips, or corn chips
- 1 ripe Hass avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
To make the chili:
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine all the chili ingredients.
- Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through and the flavors are well blended, about 5 minutes.
- Add as much water as needed to create a sauce-like consistency and prevent the chili from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until heated through and any raw taste from the chili powder is cooked off, about 15 minutes.
To make the sauce:
- In a high-speed blender, combine all the sauce ingredients.
- Blend until very smooth and creamy.
- Set aside.
To make the pasta:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
- Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta and return to the pot.
- Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss to combine.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking dish with cooking spray.
- Spread the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spread the chili evenly on top of the pasta.
- Sprinkle the tortilla chips on top of the chili.
- Bake for 20 minutes until hot.
- Serve topped with the avocado.
Recipe excerpted from Vegan Mac & Cheese. Text © 2019 by Robin Robertson, reprinted with permission from Harvard Common Press.