Fall is my absolute favorite season. I love when the summer heat and humidity breaks and we end up with cool, breezy days that require a sweater but are in no way cold. The hint of upcoming holidays are in the air. Above all, warm comforting food becomes a staple when those nights start to get chilly. What better compliment to chilly nights than chili mac. Cheesy, savory, pasta that’s just a little bit spicy always hits the spot.
I’m a huge proponent of enjoying all food groups, in moderation, and without guilt. Pasta is never off limits, but to make this a more balanced meal I’ve made my chili with ground turkey and made sure to load it up with lot of vegetables. Best of all, this is an easy, one pot meal. The base of this dish is almost identical to my actual chili recipe, with more liquid added to account for the added pasta. I’ve also swapped out the pasta for rice or quinoa. Although, if making quinoa you’ll want to cook it separately and then mix with the chili mixture.
1 pound ground turkey (chicken, beef or bison are good options too)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 bell peppers, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 32 ounce crushed tomatoes
1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups chicken or beef broth
12 ounces elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium high heat. Add ground turkey and break apart. Cook until all the pink is gone. Remove from the pot.
Lower heat to medium. Add 1 tbsp oil to pot along with the peppers and onions. Cook until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent (about 5 minutes). Add minced garlic and cook for additional minute, making sure it doesn’t burn.
Add cooked ground turkey back to the pot with the peppers and onions. Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes with chiles, and black beans. Add spices and herbs. Once mixture is heated through, add chicken broth (I normally use low sodium). Bring to a boil.
Add macaroni to the pot. Lower heat to a simmer. Cover and let cook for 8-10 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the macaroni is cooked. Stir occasionally to e sure nothing sticks to the bottom.
Serve with your favorite chili toppings. I always serve mine with shredded sharp cheddar, green onions, and a generous splash of hot sauce. Pickled jalapenos would also be a great addition.