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If you love Chili Mac and want it to fit into your healthy eating lifestyle, you need this lightened up chili mac recipe. Delicious and healthy, this makes the perfect weeknight dinner.  Pasta, ground turkey, beans, chili spices, and tons of cheese make this a family favorite!
If you want to round out this dinner, serve my favorite Honey Candied Carrots Recipe.

Chili mac casserole collage picture

Lightened Up Chili Mac Casserole Recipe

This casserole is one your kids are going to beg you to make again and again! It’s filled with so many goodies, and using Ronzoni Smart Taste pasta will let you enjoy all of the pasta-deliciousness without feeling bad about it!
I love making this recipe on those nights when we are all craving comfort food, but also want an easy to prepare meal.  Since this is easy to adjust to suit kids preferences (removing beans or peppers), it is also super family-friendly, which makes my life and job as a mom ten times easier.
If your family likes chili as much as mine does, then you want to make sure you bookmark our Lean Ground Turkey Chili and my copycat Cinncinati Chili recipes for future meals!

What’s the Best Cheese for this Chili Mac Recipe?

While you can use any combination of cheese you like, my favorite cheese to use with chili mac is reduced-fat, shredded Mexican cheese blend. This cheese is reduced in fat and calories but it also melts nicely and has a great flavor. You can change this for low fat or fat-free cheddar or any other cheese you enjoy. Large orange baking dish filled with chili mac recipe

Can I Use Shells for this Chili Mac and Cheese?

While this is traditionally made using macaroni, you can certainly use any type of noodles. I think shells are perfect to use. The sauce, cheese, and meat can get into the shells and helps to get a little bit of everything in one bite.  When making a thick sauce or one in which you are including meat or beans, you will want to use pasta that is textured or has grooves for the sauce to cling to because it will give the best overall experience.

Rigatoni, penne, shells, elbow macaroni, and even fusilli are all great options for this casserole recipe.

Overhead picture of a white plate filled with chili mac casserole recipe

Ingredients for Chili Seasoning Mix

  • Chili powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Black pepper
  • Salt


  • Whole grain rotini pasta
  • Ground turkey
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Chili beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Green chiles
  • Tomato paste
  • Olive oil
  • Mexican cheese blend

Longer picture of a serving of chili with macaroni and cheese

How to Make a Healthy Chili Mac Casserole

As with any casserole, prepare your baking dish with non-stick spray, and preheat your oven as directed.

Next, you will cook the pasta according to package directions.  When al dente, drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, you will saute the onion, garlic, and ground turkey until turkey is browned and cooked through.

You will mix in peppers, chiles, beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, and spices and stir until everything is well combined.

Healthier chili mac recipe prepared and in baking dish to be served

Mix the “chili” with your pasta, and pour it into your prepared baking dish.

Cover with cheese, and bake as directed. If you want extra color on top, you can leave on broil for the last 3-4 minutes of the cook time.

Chili mac casserole on a white plate ready to be served
Overhead picture of a white plate filled with chili mac casserole recipe
5 from 1 vote
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Lightened Up Chili Mac Casserole Recipe

Created by: Brooke Farmer
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
8 servings
If you love Chili Mac and want it to fit into your healthy eating lifestyle, you need this lightened up chili mac recipe. Delicious and healthy, this makes the perfect weeknight dinner.


  • 1 cup whole grain rotini pasta
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 Tbsp garlic minced
  • 16 oz can chili beans
  • 14.5 oz can tomatoes diced
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 4 oz can diced green chilies
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup reduced-fat shredded Mexican cheese blend


  • ½ cup sweet peppers chopped


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cook pasta according to package instructions and add 1 tsp salt to boiling water.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, add extra virgin olive oil.
  • Brown onion, minced garlic and turkey for 7-10 minutes until onions have softened and turkey is browned and cooked.
  • Next add chopped sweet peppers (if using) and chopped green chilies.
  • Add in chili beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, ground cumin and black pepper.
  • Stir all ingredients together over low heat.
  • After pasta has been cooked and drained, add pasta to turkey and bean mixture.
  • Mix all ingredients together with a spoon or spatula, and transfer ingredients to a casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle 1 cup of reduced-fat shredded Mexican cheese blend on top.
  • Bake chili mac in oven for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.


Tip: This dish freezes nicely. To freeze, omit the cheese and baking. After mixing all the ingredients together on the stove, add to a container and freeze. Before serving, thaw mixture, add to casserole dish, top with cheese and bake to heat through.
WWP+: 7
*Optional ingredients not included in nutrition calculation.

did you make this recipe?

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Collage picture of chili mac casserole recipe

Chili mac in a baking dish and on a white plate to be served

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