One Pot Chili Mac (Vegan & Gluten Free)

A nourishing plant protein-packed chili meets pasta in this One Pot Chili Mac! Easy and rather quick and made with simple whole food ingredients, this is a perfect hearty dinner thats budget-friendly too! This recipe is vegan (no animal products or dairy) and gluten free.

This is one of the easiest recipes to make and is quite hard to mess up. Nothing too fancy or complicated and very versatile. For time wise you’re looking at about 35-40 minutes!

Chili mac is traditionally made with meat, so I love the meatiness that mushrooms and tempeh bring. But if you’re not a mushroom fan, or need soy free (tempeh is made from fermented soybeans), just omit them and add an extra can of beans (or extra bunch of mushrooms).

I used a mix of kidney beans and black beans in this recipe but you could easily use whatever beans you have or enjoy most. Canned beans (rinsed and drained) are fine for this recipe. Get no added sodium and organic if possible.

For the pasta of choice I used Banza Chickpea Pasta for extra protein and nutrients, instead of just empty white carbs- stay away from regular, plain, white noodles. Get the legume based shells or veggie shells to help keep blood sugar balanced.

I go into more detail about why I recommend staying away from super processed white carbs in another blog post, you can read up on that here.

I always top my chili with cilantro and avocado, and sometimes chopped raw red onion. You can add the cashew cheesy sauce to the entire pot, or dribble some on each bowl and save some of the cheese sauce for tortilla chips even. You can also sprinkle on a generous amount of vegan cheddar cheese after cooking (optional). As always I recommend buying organic if possible to reduce the risk of pesticides, fertilizers, and chemicals that are disease promoting. Alright so let's get to the recipe!

One- Pot Chili Mac Recipe:


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (can sauté with water if on oil free diet)

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced

  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped  

  • 8 ounces (227g) mushrooms, chopped

  • 1 (8-ounce / 227g) block of tempeh, chopped or crumbled* 

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (regular paprika is also fine)

  • 1 teaspoon oregano 

  • 2 teaspoons cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for a slightly spicy version)*

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste 

  • 4 cups vegetable broth 

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black, kidney, or pinto beans drained and rinsed

  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, fire roasted 

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 (15-ounce / 430g ) can sweet corn, drained and rinsed

  • 10 ounces (280g) Banza elbow pasta or gluten free brown rice pasta

  • 2-3 teaspoons agave nectar, maple syrup, coconut sugar, or brown sugar* (optional for sweetness)

Toppings (recommended)

  • 1 diced avocado- I love garlic salt/ pepper on my avocados

  • Chopped fresh cilantro

  • Diced red onions or sliced scallions

  • 1 cup cashew cheese sauce

  • *or shredded vegan cheese (I did not use this in my own recipe but have before as I prefer the cashew cheese sauce over the vegan packaged cheese)

  • Sprinkle with nutritional yeast (which is like a parmesan alternative)


  1. In a large nonstick soup pot, heat the 1 tablespoon oil (or 1/3 cup water) over medium heat. Once the oil is hot (or once the water is simmering), add the onions and cook for 2 minutes, seasoning with a pinch of salt.

  2. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and crumbled tempeh, and cook for 5 more minutes.

  3. Add the chili powder, paprika, oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt. Stir the spices into the vegetables and cook for 1 minute. You might be tempted to just toss the onions, garlic, and mushrooms into the pot with all the ingredients and not sauté them first, but sautéing is critical.

  4. Pour in the vegetable broth, add in the beans, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, corn, and pasta. Stir well to combine.

  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through.

  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in the agave or other sweetener. Taste for seasonings again and adjust accordingly.

  7. If using vegan cheese or cashew cheese sauce*, sprinkle it all over the top of the chili mac. Cover the lid and let warm through for a few minutes. Allow chili mac to rest at least 15 minutes before serving and top with fresh chopped cilantro and any other desired toppings.

Cashew "Cheese" Sauce- A cheesy alternative to pour on top, also can be used in other cheesy recipes like nachos, dips, taco fillings, other pasta and so much more.


  • For the vegan cashew cheese sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews* (soak in water couple hours before hand)

  • 2 garlic cloves or 1tbsp minced garlic

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast

  • 1/2 to 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, plus more to thin if necessary

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions: 1. To make the cashew cheese sauce: soak the cashews in 3ish cups of water for at least 2 hours

2. Once the cashews have finished soaking you'll be ready to make the sauce: i like to make the sauce while the chili is simmering. Add drained cashews, garlic, nutritional yeast, almond milk, paprika, onion powder, dijon mustard, salt and black pepper to a high powered blender.

3. Blend until a thick sauce comes together. If you want a thinner sauce, add a bit more almond milk. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Add some hot spices like chili or chipotle if you'd like. I poured cashew cheese sauce directly into the pot and mixed in with the rest of the chili..... can even crush up some tortilla chips over top too! Like I said this is very versatile and hard to mess up!


I have some videos up on my youtube channel with a few more recipes right now, check those out too!

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