With fall in full swing I’m craving all the hearty Dutch oven comfort foods. Another thing that comes along with fall? Gatherings.. and lots of them. This easy lean chili mac can most definitely please a crowd! Even a tough one like my little boys.

easy lean chili mac recipe by www.lillieeatsandtells.com macro friendly comfort food

If you haven’t had chili mac.. either had I. Ha. It sounds like a meal that would leave you feeling sleepy and regretful! But this recipe is just as light and balanced as all of my recipes. It’s loaded with veggies, spices, ground turkey, and of course.. pasta! I use Greek cream cheese plus a little grated cheddar to add some cheesy goodness, and it’s simply divine. However, I know that Greek cream cheese can be hard to find. It’s just got a little less fat and a little more protein and still tastes amazing. But don’t stress if you can’t find it! Substitute with just ½ cups of “⅓ less fat cream cheese” and your macros (if you care) for one serving will essentially just be +1 fat, – 1 protein. No big deal!

easy lean chili mac recipe by www.lillieeatsandtells.com macro friendly comfort food

How to Make Lean Chili Mac

You’ll Need:

  • White onions, diced –I use the frozen diced for ease!
  • Zucchini, finely chopped
  • Red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 93/7 lean ground turkey
  • Chili powder (depending on heat preference)
  • Ground cumin
  • Dried oregano
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic, minced or frozen Dorot cubes
  • Tomato paste
  • Liquid smoke
  • Tomato sauce- or jarred marinara
  • Mild diced green chilis, undrained
  • Mild green enchilada sauce
  • Rotel, undrained (or canned diced tomatoes)
  • Chicken stock or broth
  • Cavatappi or other short pasta
  • Greek cream cheese (or reduced fat cream cheese)
  • Nonfat Greek yogurt
  • Grated cheddar cheese
easy lean chili mac recipe by www.lillieeatsandtells.com macro friendly comfort food

First…

You’ll start by heat your large Dutch oven (or any heavy-bottom pot you have!) over high heat. Spray with a spritz of avocado oil and let it get nice and hot. Add in the onion, zucchini, bell pepper and salt, and let it cook for 5-7 minutes. Just enough time to get everything tender and fragrant.

When the veggies are ready, scoot them to the side if possible and let the surface of your pot get nice and hot for a minute before adding your ground turkey.  Sprinkle the top of the meat with your dry seasonings (chili powder, cumin, oregano, and onion powder), and break it up until cooked through, stirring often and eventually mixing in the veggies.

Then…

When the meat is cooked you can add your garlic cubes, tomato paste, and liquid smoke. Make sure to stir everything well and leave it for about a minute. Then pour in your tomato sauce, green chilis, enchilada sauce, rotel, and chicken broth. Let it get nice and hot for a minute and then turn it down to medium before adding your pound of pasta. Simmer until your pasta is al dente (about as long as your pasta instructs you) — test for doneness and don’t overcook it! We don’t want mush.

Stir in the Greek cream cheese, and Greek yogurt. Top it off with the grated cheddar and cover to let the cheese melt. It will continue to thicken up as it sits. Serve with a simple side salad or some crusty bread and you’re ready to enjoy!

easy lean chili mac recipe by www.lillieeatsandtells.com macro friendly comfort food

Serving Suggestions

I wanted the veggies to really blend into the meat this time for my boys, so I used my salsa maker to essentially “rice” the zucchini and bell peppers! This is a great trick for any picky eaters if you want to “sneak” in more veggies.

Also, I’m using Fulton Farms organic ground turkey in my calculations which is labeled at 4.5 fat/4 oz if you want to use a different ground meat option that’s close!

Similar Recipes

Looking to add a few more hearty yet macro friendly soups and chilis to your cold weather recipe bank? I’ve got you. Here are a few more of my most satisfying favorites,

Creamy Chicken Pot Pie Soup – Lillie Eats and Tells

Easy Beef and Veggie Soup – Lillie Eats and Tells

One Pot Skinny White Chicken Chili – Lillie Eats and Tells

Instant Pot Creamy Tomato Chicken Soup – Lillie Eats and Tells

I’ve got a whole cookbook full of healthy twists on single dish comfort foods… because I REALLY love my single dish comfort foods. So if it’s approved by me, you know it’s good! If you do make this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram! (@lillieeatsandtells) I love seeing your creations!

easy lean chili mac recipe by www.lillieeatsandtellscom.bigscoots-staging.com

Easy Lean Chili Mac

An easy to make delicious, hearty, and macro friendly lean chili mac that can most definitely please a crowd.
5 from 17 votes
Course one pot, Soup/Chili
Cuisine Comfort
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 366 kcal

Disclaimer: the grams I’ve listed manually after each ingredient are accurate for a single recipe, but they will not multiply if you choose the 2x or 3x option. Please make sure and multiply on your own!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups white onion diced (340 g– I love to use the 12 oz bag of frozen diced onion!)
  • 2 cups zucchini finely chopped (490 g)*
  • 2 cups red bell pepper finely chopped (400 g)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 ½ lb 93/7 lean ground turkey** 700 g
  • 2- 3 Tbsp chili powder depending on heat preference
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 7 cloves garlic minced or frozen Dorot cubes
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste 30 g
  • 1 Tbsp liquid smoke 15 g- optional
  • 1 15- oz can tomato sauce 425 g – or jarred marinara
  • 1 7- oz can of mild diced green chilis undrained (198 g)
  • 1 10- oz can mild green enchilada sauce 283 g
  • 1 10- oz cans of rotel undrained (or canned diced tomatoes) (283g)
  • 3 ½ cups chicken stock 720 g
  • 1 lb cavatappi or other short pasta 453 g
  • ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp Greek cream cheese 110 g***
  • ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt 120 g
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese 56 g

Instructions

  • Heat a large dutch oven or heavy-bottom pot over high heat. Spray with a spritz of avocado oil and let it get hot. Add onion, zucchini, bell pepper and salt, and cook for 5-7 minutes until tender and fragrant.
  • Scoot your veggies to the side if possible and let the surface of your pot get nice and hot for a minute before adding your ground turkey. Sprinkle the top of the meat with your dry seasonings (chili powder, cumin, oregano, and onion powder), and break it up until cooked through, stirring often and eventually mixing in the veggies.
  • Add garlic cubes, tomato paste, and liquid smoke and cook for a minute, stirring well. Then pour in your tomato sauce, green chilis, enchilada sauce, rotel, and chicken broth. Let it get nice and hot for a minute and then turn it down to medium and add your pound of pasta. Let it simmer until your pasta is al dente (about as long as your pasta instructs you), stirring often. Check for doneness, but don’t let it get too soft, since it’ll just get softer over time. Turn off the heat.
  • Stir in Greek cream cheese, and Greek yogurt. Top with grated cheddar and cover to let the cheese melt. It will continue to thicken up as it sits. Enjoy with a simple side salad!

Notes

* I wanted the veggies to really blend into the meat this time for my boys, so I used my salsa maker to essentially “rice” the zucchini and bell peppers!)
**I’m using Fulton Farms organic ground turkey in my calculations which is labeled at 4.5 fat/4 oz if you want to use a different ground meat option that’s close!
 
***I know Greek cream cheese can be hard to find. It’s just got a little less fat and a little more protein and still tastes amazing. But don’t stress if you can’t find it! Substitute with just ½ cups of “⅓ less fat cream cheese” and your macros for one serving will essentially just be +1 fat, – 1 protein. No big deal! 
 
The macros below reflect traditional pasta. But here’s what they’ll look like if you choose a different pasta.
 
Protein Pasta: 361 cal, 45.3c, 7.8f, 29.2p, 6.4 fiber
Banza Pasta: 358 cal, 42.5c, 9.3f, 29.8p, 6.4 fiber
 
MFP Lillie Eats and Tells Lean Chili Mac

Nutrition

Serving: 366gFiber: 6.4gCalories: 366kcalFat: 7.7gProtein: 26.6gCarbohydrates: 48g
Keywords chili, comfort food, ground turkey, macro-friendly, one pot, one pot meal, pasta

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About the Author

Hello. My name is Lillie. I’m not a registered dietitian, or a macro coach, or a public figure or culinary genius. I’m a mommy of four who FOUND macro-counting and fell in love with this balanced approach to food...

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is so wonderful! I’ve shared the recipe with several friends because it’s such a yummy and healthy meal that pleases picky eaters. I forgot to buy cream cheese at the store so I subbed it for more greek yogurt. It was still great. Thank you!

    1. 5 stars
      I’m making this recipe today given the race reviews and the need to use up some ground beef. I’m feeling a little dense as I’m unable to locate the serving size for the listed macros. Can anyone help? Thank you for the recipe!! Xx

      1. Hi! It’s listed as 366 grams! If you don’t use grams, it’s 1/10th of the recipe!

  2. My husband has grown up LOVING good ole chili mac. For me, even the two words in the same sentence makes me cringe LOL. Made this two nights ago and he hasn’t stopped talking about it! We both loved it (so much so we had the leftovers for lunch AND dinner the next day!) and will definitely make this a staple in our house. You have to try it! You wont be disappointed. I will no longer think of chili mac as a bachelor meal… this is 100% the only way we will be making chili mac from now on! 😉

  3. 5 stars
    Oh, easy lean chili mac, where have you been all my life? This is the perfect dish for when it’s cold, you’re hungry, nobody knows what they want but they want something comforting but not heavy, healthy but filling, cheesy, pasta-y, and yes, chock full of veggies. This is my favorite recipe from Lillie’s site/cookbooks.

  4. 5 stars
    I love all of Lillie’s recipes, but this one gets requested by my very huNgry boyfriend all the time, so you know its good and hearty. Portion size is amazing for the macros. Just love.

  5. 5 stars
    I made this last week And we all love it. My husband, my teenagers and i all loved it aNd fought Over the LEFTOVERS. Such good flavor and so many veggies. This WIll Be a new staple at Our house.

  6. 5 stars
    I did not expect to like this this much, or for the serving to be so large! My husband is already requesting it again and neither of my kids complained (in this house that’s a win!). Saving this one for sure!

  7. 5 stars
    Wowow just made this for lunch and it’s SO SO SO good!!! I even swapped the cream cheese and cheddar cheese for vegan alternatives and I can’t even taste a difference. Definitely adding it to my meal prep rotation. Thanks Lillie!

  8. Ah-mazing!!! Kids and adults loved it. So perfect for after winter sports meal. Very comforting. We fought over who would get the leftovers the next day!

  9. 5 stars
    I made this with Banza Pasta for lunch for the upcoming week. It turned out amazing! Highly recommended this recipe.

  10. 5 stars
    Soooo good! So far my favorite of your recipes! So comforting and filling and it makes a ton! Next time I may up the ground meat (I prefer chicken so used that) so it’s slightly higher in protein but that depends on your macros.

  11. 5 stars
    This was so dang good! I didn’t have the liquid smoke, but it wasn’t exactly missed. So don’t hesitate to make it without it! I doubled the recipe as I have a million children and I just knew I’d want leftovers.

    We track macros, and this was a really good hearty, comfort food sort of meal that fits in well. This will definitely be made over and over!

  12. 5 stars
    Incredible!!! It’s Lillie; are we surprised?! Trust that the noodles WILL continue to cook with heat off and cover on. I’ll turn the heat off sooner next time. Used all frozen veggies and this came together in less than 20 minutes. Lean comfort food?? Sign me up. This will be a staple all fall and winter. Thanks, Lillie!

  13. 5 stars
    Incredible!! It’s Lillie; are we surprised?! Trust that the noodles WILL continue to cook with heat off and cover on. I’ll turn the heat off sooner next time. This will be in rotation all fall and winter. Lean comfort food—just awesome! Thank you!