Super meaty and flavorful vegan chili mac is easy to prepare and so versatile! Try it with tofu for a whole-food version or with store-bought vegan "beef" for an ultimate, beefy chili mac that will please even hardcore meat eaters. Vegan with gluten-free and oil-free options.
Using a 6 quart or larger Instant Pot, add everything EXCEPTthe beans and cheese/cheese sauce to the Instant Pot. Stir very well.
Lock on the lid and set to sealing (if applicable for your IP model). Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. It will take about 15 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure because of the large volume of food.
If making the cheesy sauce, combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.
After the 4 minutes of high pressure cooking are done, carefully quick release the pressure. Remove the lid, stir in the cheesy sauce (or shredded cheese) and the beans. Let stand for a few minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired.
Preheat a large soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the jalapeño and mushrooms and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
Crumble the tofu or vegan beef into the pot (beef chunks can be about the size of a nickel or quarter; tofu should be slightly smaller; see photo in post for reference). Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the spices and seasonings - chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, tamari, salt (1 tsp for tofu, about ½ tsp for pre-seasoned vegan beef), and black pepper. Stir well, then add tomatoes, broth, liquid smoke, if using, and beans. Bring to a boil. Add the pasta and stir. Return to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until the pasta is al dente, about 15 minutes.
If making the cheese sauce, combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. When the chili mac is done, stir in the cheesy sauce or shredded vegan cheese. Remove pot from heat, let stand 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cook time for various pastas in the Instant Pot:
Regular macaroni noodles cook in the Instant Pot in the specified time, but if using a whole-grain or special gluten-free pasta that takes longer to cook, you may want to increase Instant Pot cook time by 1 minute.
Use your favorite GF pasta and be sure to check labels to ensure gluten-free for the following ingredients: tamari, miso, and vegan beef and cheese. *Beyond Beef is gluten-free, as is Miso Masters white miso.
Stove leftover chili mac in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 days. Freezing not recommended because of the pasta.