Lightened Up Chili Mac

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Looking for a healthy but super cozy, satisfying, and filling dish? Look no further! This chili mac is what winter chilly day dreams are made of! Its cheesy and cozy and all made in one pot! It doesn’t get much better:) This recipe came about when I really wanted to make another recipe I had for chili mac. It had a taco twist and looked amazing, but I didn’t have a majority of the ingredients. I thought, I can come up with something! I took my No Bean Chili recipe and added some pasta and some cheese, and it worked!

To make things a little lighter here I use Banza pasta, which is made with chickpeas. It is higher in fiber, a bit lower in carbs, and higher in protein than traditional pasta. There are a lot of store brands and big pasta brands that now make chickpea pasta. Another favorite of ours is red lentil pasta. I would say my kids like it more than regular pasta! Just be aware that if you over cook it, it will fall apart a bit. So be careful on the timing.

In this recipe I also use reduced fat cheese and don’t add too much of it, but it’s still really satisfying. The cream cheese makes it so creamy! Even the kids loved it! This dish would be great for meal prep as it reheats well and makes a good amount. The portions are a great size too.

Lightened Up Chili Mac

Course: DinnerCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time












  • 1 lb 93/7 Lean Ground Beef

  • 1 small onion, chopped (100g)

  • 1 poblano pepper, diced

  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced

  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce

  • 1 4oz can mild green chilis

  • 6 oz Banza (chickpea or similar) pasta

  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth

  • 1 cup water

  • 4 tbsp reduced fat cream cheese

  • 1/2 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

  • Green onions, sliced

  • Extra cheese for topping

  • Chili Seasoning
  • 2 tsp chili powder

  • 1.5 tsp cumin

  • 1.5 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  • 1/4 tsp paprika


  • Heat large deep pan or dutch oven over medium heat. Brown ground beef until cooked through, drain fat. Set aside.
  • Add onion and poblano pepper to the pan. Cook until soft. Meanwhile, combine chili seasoning spices.
  • Return beef to the pan with the onion and the pepper. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, chilis, chicken broth and water. Add seasonings and stir to combine.
  • Add pasta, bring to a boil and cook for 6-8 minutes (until pasta is done and water is absorbed).
  • Remove from heat and stir in cream cheese and shredded cheese.
  • Top with sliced green onions.


  • Be careful not to over cook your pasta. Chickpea pasta can fall apart if it is over cooked. I like Banza, but many stores also carry other brands of chickpea pasta. Red lentil is another favorite of ours.

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