One-Pot Chili Mac with Sneaky Mushrooms


With meal recipes, it seems our theme lately has been quick, easy and family-friendly. There were those cute Meatloaf Muffins, the mild but flavorful Curry Chicken Nuggets, speedy but impressive Cajun Salmon Burgers, “kids can cook” Homemade Rice a Roni, and now this one-pot Chili Mac.

One-Pot Chili Mac with Sneaky Mushrooms - simple family-friendly recipe that's dairy-free, gluten-free, and allergy-friendly. Vegetarian option included.This one-pot chili mac recipe with photo was shared with us by the Mushroom Council.

A few years ago we shared a convenient, author-created Chili Macaroni & “Cheese” Recipe, which is a great recipe. But this chili mac doesn’t require any cheese alternative, and is more of a pure “chili meets comforting pasta” recipe. It’s perfect for a simple, homey dinner and leftovers are a great lunchbox solution.

Plus, this chili mac is a great way to sneak in some delicious mushrooms. They actually make the dish more flavorful, add moisture, and of course, offer some excellent nutrition. And since they are finely minced, even mushroom haters will be fooled.

You can use any type of mushroom variety in this chili mac, but we like creminis for their earthy flavor and accessible price. White button mushrooms are equally inexpensive and have a lighter flavor.

Special Diet Notes: One-Pot Chili Mac

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, and can generally be top food allergy-friendly.

For vegan Chili Mac, substitute your favorite vegan ground “beef” for the beef in the recipe, use tempeh (more pronounced taste, but nutritious – great for tempeh fans!), or try a great recipe like this soy-free Veggi-Full Ground Meat (made with cauliflower!). Also, use mushroom broth in place of the beef broth.

One-Pot Chili Mac with Sneaky Mushrooms
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8 servings
  • ½ pound mushrooms
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (see post above for vegan option)
  • 1 package dairy-free chili seasoning*
  • 1 can beef broth (see post above for vegan option)
  • 1 15.5-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 cup medium salsa
  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (gluten-free elbows, if needed)
  • Dairy-free sour cream, guacamole, or diced avocado (for serving)
  • Chopped cilantro (for serving)
  1. In a food processor with a metal blade, pulse mushrooms until finely chopped (or you can mince them with a knife).
  2. In a large saucepan, brown the meat (or meat alternative) and mushrooms with the chili seasoning.
  3. In another saucepan, mix the broth, kidney beans, tomato paste, salsa and macaroni. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. When the noodles are al dente, stir in the browned meat and mushrooms.
  5. Serve topped with dairy-free sour cream, guacamole, or chopped avocado and cilantro.
Favorite Seasoning: We like to use Simply Organic Chili Seasoning. It's made without top allergens, is vegan (if making the vegan version!), and comes in both Mild and Spicy to customize the heat of your chili mac.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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