Slow-Cooker Three-Bean Chili Mac

Caregory : Dinner Ideas

Chili meets mac and cheese in this fix-it-and-forget-it slow-cooker dinner. Hot tomato sauce, a Mexican canned tomato sauce that also includes spices and chiles for heat, kicks up the flavor. If you can’t find hot tomato sauce, regular canned tomato sauce with a tablespoon of chili powder mixed in is a good substitute. You can cook the pasta separately and add it in at the end of cooking, or use our alternative method and cook the pasta in the slow cooker with a few adjustments listed below.


    • 2 (14-ounce) packages frozen tricolor bell peppers

    • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added red kidney beans, rinsed 

    • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added pinto beans, rinsed

    • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed

    • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained

    • 1 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese, divided

    • 1/2 cup unsalted vegetable broth

    • 1/2 cup canned hot tomato sauce (see Tip, above)

    • 1/2 cup evaporated milk

    • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese

    • 2 tablespoons low-sodium chili seasoning mix 

    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

    • 5 cups hot cooked whole-wheat elbow macaroni 

    • 1/2 cup sliced scallions, plus more for garnish


    1. Place frozen peppers, kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, 1/2 cup cheese, broth, hot tomato sauce, evaporated milk, cream cheese, chili seasoning, cornstarch, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker; stir until well combined.
    2. Cover and cook on High for 3 hours.

    3. Turn off the cooker; stir in macaroni. Sprinkle with scallions and the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Cover and let stand until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Garnish with additional scallions before serving, if desired.


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