Ninja Speedi Chili Mac is a creamy, spicy mix of macaroni and cheese, salsa, beans, roasted corn and jalapeño, topped with pico de gallo, green onions, and crema.
This is a super-easy vegetarian chili mac that can be customized with whatever you have on hand. Perfect for a quick weekday dinner!
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Kitchen Gear Needed to Make Ninja Speedi Chili Mac
This is a really simple recipe, mostly dumping ingredients into the Speedi, so you don’t need much gear. Here’s the list:
Ingredients & Substitutions for Chili Mac in the Ninja Speedi
Here’s the full list of ingredients to make Ninja Speedi Chili Mac, as well as some ideas for substitutions.
There are so many different ways to customize this recipe, so switch in your favorite ingredients. Here are a few suggestions:
Chili beans I prefer chili beans, so that’s what I use in the recipe. But I have also used black beans, pinto beans, and a three bean mix. You could also use kidney beans. Use whatever you have on hand or prefer. Just remember to drain them before dumping into the cooking pot.
Salsa I like to put salsa in the Level 1 ingredients because I think it gives the dish a truer tomato-based chili flavor. But feel free to leave it out, or just use it as a topping.
Frozen corn I don’t use canned corn, but I think it would be fine in this recipe. Frozen corn holds up well to the steaming phase and then gets a bit of a blister during the crisping mode. I’ve also used frozen roasted corn from Trader Joe’s and it’s perfect in this chili mac.
Jalapeno I typically use a jalapeño and sometimes a poblano pepper in this recipe. But really, any pepper should taste fine. I have even used a roasted red pepper once and it was delicious. I’ve also used a can of green chiles mixed into the cooking pot ingredients when that was all I had on hand.
Toppings This is where you can really customize the recipe to your liking. You don’t have to stick to the ones I listed in the recipe card. See the Tips sections below for a full list of suggestions.
Tips for Making Ninja Speedi Chili Mac
I make this recipe at least twice a month, because I love it so much. Here are a few suggestions based on my experience.
Perfect pasta There are lots of different Mac-n-cheese kits at the grocery, and the pasta isn’t the same in all of them. Also some kits have more pasta in them than others. This recipe calls for the cook time to be 10 minutes, but this is really a minimum. This is perfect for the pasta brand that I use, but you may need to add a couple more minutes to the time depending on the brand you prefer.
Roasting the pepper Like the pasta kits, there are lots of different peppers in all sizes out there. Depending on how big or small it is, the 10 minutes crisping time may be too long. You could wait a few minutes before adding it to the Crisping Tray in step 4 of the recipe. Or if you prefer, feel free to not roast it at all!
Make it dairy-free Prefer to avoid dairy when possible? Good news, this recipe is easily adapted to dairy-free. In fact, this is the way I prepare it almost every time! I use a dairy-free mac-n-cheese kit (this one) and use a plant-based sour cream product. Try this one.
Toppings & Mix-Ins
There are so many suggestions for toppings, but I like to keep it simple since this is a pretty hands-off recipe. Here are my favorites:
- Pico de gallo
- Diced black olives
- Sliced green onions
- Crema or sour cream
- Tortilla strips
- Shredded lettuce
- Diced jalapeno
Level 1 Ingredients
- 1 boxed Mac-n-Cheese kit
- 2 cups water
- 1 can of chili beans
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
Level 2 Ingredients
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 1/2 cup pitted black olives, halved
- Jalapeno or poblano pepper, cored, halved, seeds removed
- 1/4 cup diced green onions
- 1 cup pico de gallo
- Crema or sour cream
- Add to the cooking pot, the pasta from the mac-n-cheese kit and the rest of the Level 1 Ingredients. Stir with a silicone spoon or spatula.
- Put the Crisping Tray in the cooking pot in the elevated position. Add the frozen corn to the tray.
- Close the lid. Make sure the SmartSwitch is set to RAPID COOK. Press the POWER button and set the unit to SPEEDI MEALS. Set the temperature to 375° and the time to 10 minutes. Press START/STOP.
- The unit will steam for about 9 minutes before switching to the crisping function. When it switches over, lift the lid and add the jalapeno pepper and olives to the Crisping Tray. Close the lid and the unit will resume cooking.
- When the unit shuts off, lift the lid. Using silicone-tipped tongs, remove the jalapeno to a cutting board and cut into thin slices. Use the tongs to lift the Crisping Tray out of the unit, tilting it slightly to dump the corn and olives into the pot. Set the tray aside.
- Open the cheese packet that came in the mac-n-cheese kit and squeeze it into the cooking pot. Using a silicone spoon or spatula, stir the contents of the pot.
- Dish the chili mac into bowls and add the sliced jalapeno and your favorite toppings before serving.
More Ninja Speedi Meals
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