Serrano chiles add a relatively mild heat to this creamy chili mac ’n’ cheese, making it a family-friendly option for dinner. You can use chiles that rate higher on the Scoville scale if you like it hot, but make sure you don’t go too spicy and overwhelm the other flavors in this satisfying dish. Here, whole wheat elbow noodles are tossed in a simple dairy-free cheese sauce and peppered with sweet corn kernels, tender roasted bell peppers, and black beans for the ultimate Tex-Mex pasta dish. A touch of lime juice adds zesty acidity to the denser ingredients, and you could even top each portion with extra sliced chiles to dial up the heat. If you’re a fan of vegan comfort food, this recipe should be next on your list to try! 

For more inspiration, check out these tasty ideas:

By Ellen Boeke,


  • 12 oz. dry whole wheat macaroni
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 fresh serrano chiles, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons salt-free taco seasoning
  • 1 recipe No Cheese Sauce
  • 1 15-oz. can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained (1½ cups)
  • ½ cup chopped jarred roasted red peppers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Lime wedges


  • Cook macaroni according to package directions. Place corn and sliced chiles in a colander set in the sink. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water. Pour remaining pasta water and the pasta into colander to drain. Return pasta and vegetables to cooking pot.
  • Stir taco seasoning into No-Cheese Sauce. Add No-Cheese Sauce, beans, and roasted red peppers to pasta mixture. Toss to combine. Add reserved pasta cooking water a little at a time as needed to reach creamy consistency. Warm over medium-low until heated through, stirring occasionally. Stir in lime juice and season with salt. Serve with lime wedges.

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About the Author

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About the Author

Ellen Boeke

Ellen Boeke has more than 25 years of experience as a recipe developer and food editor. She holds Bachelor's of Science degrees in consumer food science and journalism from Iowa State University and attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France. Find her on LinkedIn.
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