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A close up of easy chili mac and cheese in a bowl

Easy Chili Mac and Cheese from Easy Whole Vegan

Vegans don’t need to go without mac and cheese! This chili version is comforting and cheesy without using any dairy. It’s super-easy to make and can be done in the slow cooker while you’re not even home.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 556kcal
Author Sophia DeSantis


  • crock pot (optional)


  • 2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic , or 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cups diced tomatoes (or one 28-ounce 794 g] [can diced tomatoes, drained)
  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans (or one 15-ounce 425 g] [can pinto beans, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup cooked green lentils
  • teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt , or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika , plus extra for garnish, optional
  • 4 cups water , reduce to 2 cups if making the stove top version
  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups vegan cheese sauce ( or the Macadamia Nut Cheese Sauce from the book below)
  • Chopped green onion for garnish , optional

Macadamia Nut Cheese Sauce

  • 2 cups raw macadamia nuts, soaked in water overnight (see note)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt , or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder


For stove top version

  • Saute onions and garlic with a drizzle of oil or broth until softened.
  • Add the tomatoes, beans, spices and salt and cook until bubbly.
  • Add the water and pasta, cook until the pasta is al dente.
  • Mix in the cheese sauce.
  • Serve and enjoy!

For crock pot version

  • Combine all the ingredients except the macaroni and the Macadamia Nut Cheese Sauce in a large slow cooker. Cover, turn it on high, and cook for 3½ hours.
  • Meanwhile, make cheese sauce. Drain and rinse the nuts. Add them to a high-power blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth.
  • Add the macaroni and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pasta is done.
  • Pour in the cheese sauce and stir well.
  • Garnish with more paprika and chopped green onions, if desired, and serve immediately or refrigerate for later. This will keep in the fridge for at least a week. It can also be frozen for up to 6 months.


  • If you want some extra heat in this recipe, you can add ½ teaspoon cayenne or even some diced chile peppers.
  • If you forget to soak the nuts for the cheese sauce overnight, you can boil them for 30 minutes to soften. You can also grind them dry in a coffee or spice grinder.
  • This cheese sauce will last a couple weeks in the fridge. I store mine in a large mason jar. You can also freeze the sauce for up to 3 months.
Credit line: Recipe from Easy. Whole. Vegan.: 100 Flavor-Packed, No-Stress Recipes for Busy Families © Melissa King, 2016. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. theexperimentpublishing.com


Calories: 556kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 894mg | Potassium: 731mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 245IU | Vitamin C: 11.2mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 4.8mg