This hearty one-pot chili mac is the perfect plus-one to your next potluck or barbecue. Underneath the crisp, fresh chopped scallions is a layer of crunchy corn chips, followed by a layer of gooey cheddar cheese, followed by a layer of luscious, creamy chili mac. When it all comes together, it’s a flavor and texture explosion in your mouth. The secret to the gooey center is the Neufchatel cheese, which we fold in immediately after cooking. What makes this the ultimate party fare is that it’s not only delicious, but filling too—packing a whopping 27g of protein per serving.
- 1 tablespoon light olive oil, for frying and sautéing
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ pound ground beef (90% lean, 10% fat)
- 7½ ounces dark red kidney beans
- 6 ounces chickpea pasta, cavatappi or elbows
- 1 teaspoon dark chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 14.5 ounces crushed tomatoes, no salt added
- 1 cup Bare Bones Beef Bone Broth
- 2 ounces Neufchâtel cheese
- 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup Fritos, crushed
- 6 scallions, to serve
Make the spice blend and crunchy topping
In a small mixing bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, cocoa powder, and cayenne and mix together. Set aside. In another small mixing bowl, crush the Fritos using your hands or the back of a spoon until it resembles a coarse topping.
Fry the aromatics and beef
Heat olive oil in a 3-quart dutch oven over medium heat. Once fully heated, add the onion and sauté until translucent and soft—about 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until browned—about 1 minute. Add the ground beef and spices and cook, stirring occasionally to break the beef into small pieces, for about 3 minutes or until the beef is fully browned.
Combine and boil
Add the bone broth, crushed tomatoes, chickpea pasta, and kidney beans to the pot and stir to combine. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15–20 minutes and then remove the lid to check on the chili. The pasta should be plump and just al dente, the liquid should be mostly but not completely absorbed. If the pasta is not done, cover and simmer for another 2–3 minutes.
Make it cheesy!
Once the pasta is just al dente, remove the pot from heat, remove the lid, and gently fold in the Neufchatel and half of the cheddar. Once the Neufchatel is melted and combined, top the mixture with the remaining cheddar and put the lid back on. Let stand for 2–3 minutes or until the cheese has melted. If needed, broil on high until the cheese has reached the desired meltiness.
Garnish and serve
When it’s time to serve, top with crunchy Frito topping and plenty of scallions (white and greens all work here.) If you’re planning to reheat later, spoon into bowls before garnishing to keep the crunchy topping crispy and the scallions from wilting.
👨🏻🍳 Feeding a crowd? This recipe is easy to double—and remember to start with a a larger Dutch oven, at least 4 quarts.