This Gluten-free Chili Mac is a super easy dinner that the whole family will love! It comes together in one pan, and has a dairy-free option too!
I am always looking for easy healthy meals like our Pakistani Kima, Easy Baked Chicken Nuggets, Low Carb Shepherd’s Pie, Homemade Hamburger Helper, and Oven Barbecued Chicken. and this One Pan Egg Roll in a Bowl.
So you know I was thrilled to get this Healthy Chili Mac Recipe from Tessa of Tessa Domestic Diva. I love Tessa’s selection of healthy, attractive, and special diet friendly recipes (she’s got a beautiful site as well.) I hope you enjoy this post by Tessa as she shares with us some quick, easy, and healthful options for getting dinner on the table—FAST!
I can’t tell you how many times people around me have lamented how they wish they had more time to cook and put wholesome dinners down for their family every night.
Regardless of your time constraints: it IS possible.
The key is pre-planning and picking the right recipes that cook quickly or in a crock-pot while you’re away managing your busy day.
Take a moment to organize yourself! You will be saving yourself loads of money AND eating more healthy, wholesome foods than the grab and go fare you find in most grocery stores.
Best of all, you get to control what goes into your food. Let me show you how! With a little practice, this process of pre-planning should not take more than 30 minutes (unless you’re like me and adore pouring through recipe sources for pleasure!)
Tips for Easy Meals
1. I have a post on how to menu plan to help you learn how to get the ball rolling.
2. Check your pantry, fridge, and freezer to take stock of items that need to be used up.
3. Pick your recipes. Avoid recipes that have long cooking times or loads of prep work, save these for weekend cooking when you may have more time.
4. Make a grocery list. Whatever recipes you pick, make a corresponding grocery list to pick up the things you do not already have on hand. As I mentioned in my above menu-planning post, I keep pre-printed grocery lists on hand for this. I group the foods I need by type and have them on my list in the order I hit them in my favorite store.
5. Grocery shop with your list in hand. STICK TO IT to ensure you are only spending money on items you’ll use. We do this as a family (even with all the “bumps” shopping with kids entails). You may prefer to do it alone. An organized list helps you move through the store efficiently, and I give my older kids jobs to help the process.
6. Enjoy your newfound health and freedom! It feels good to feed your family well, and it is entirely possible and worth it. Less stress is better for your body too…but I didn’t need to tell you that, did I?!
Here are some quick and easy recipes to get you started.
- For tips on peeling garlic, see the Easiest Way to Peel Garlic.
- I used diced tomatoes, but pureed them w/ my immersion blender first. The puree hides the big chunks of tomatoes that my kids won’t eat.
- Here are some tips for making bone broth. This Homemade Veggie Broth works as well. If you’d prefer to buy broth, this company has amazing broth.
- For gluten-free noodles, I really love Tinkyada Brown Rice Elbows. Use veggie noodles, spaghetti squash or these noodles for a low-carb option.) Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta is also quite good.
- TIP: Add any additional vegetables to this. I bet bell peppers, carrots, spinach, or cabbage would all be good!
- If you would like to top with garnishes, avocado slices, pickled jalapeños, hot sauce, fresh lime, shredded cabbage are all great options.
- Grain-free Option: can be made grain-free using Konjac or another grain-free noodle.
Can I make this with regular pasta and if so, do I need to adjust the amount of liquid?
Gluten free pasta tends to absorb more water than regular, but I see other non gluten free chili mac recipes that use even less liquid than this one and I have made this recipe with regular pasta and it turned out just fine.
Healthy Chili Mac (gluten free)
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1 onion (finely diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 pound ground beef (or any ground meat)
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 14.5 ounces canned tomatoes (pureed or crushed; about 1 can)
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 tablespoon chili powder (or to taste)
- 2 1/2 cups gluten-free elbow pasta (uncooked)
- 1/2 cup dairy-free cheddar cheese (or favorite cheddar; omit for paleo. This DF Cheddar Powder looks like a great option.)
- Preheat a 10-12″ skillet with a tight fitting lid over medium heat.
- Add the oil.
- Add the onions and saute until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
- Crumble the ground meat and add in the garlic, stirring to break the meat up.
- When browned, add in tomato paste, canned tomatoes, beef broth, oregano, and chili powder. Stir to combine.
- Mix in the noodles. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cover. Cook until the noodles are al dente, about 7-10 minutes. The noodles will continue to soak up liquid as it sits, so don’t worry if it seems thin at first.
- Stir in cheddar shreds until melted. Serve with preferred garnishes.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
More Quick and Easy Meals:
(everyone asks for this recipe — not low carb but delicious!)
(ready in as little as 9 minutes – not low carb)
What is YOUR favorite super quick meal?