Healthy Homemade Gluten & Dairy Free Chili Mac Hamburger Helper

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Homemade Chili Mac - Gluten & Dairy Free
Here is another one of those meals I remember fondly from growing up: Hamburger Helper.
There was a time I didn’t read food labels…I have to remind myself of that!  It has become so second nature at this point.
As a kid, I cared about one thing: taste!  I was a horribly picky eater, and figure any medicine my kids dole out in that department is only payback for my years of Top Ramen, Captain Crunch Berries, and Twinkies!
I was happy to create a version of Hamburger Helper that is not only allergy-friendly, but kid pleasing too!  This meal goes together quickly and is a great school night meal!
TIP: You could add any additional vegetables to this.  I bet bell peppers, carrots, spinach, or cabbage would all be good!
Serves 4-5
5 servings @ 483 calories approximate

5.0 from 2 reviews
Healthy Homemade Gluten & Dairy Free Chili Mac Hamburger Helper
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-5
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground meat of choice
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 14.5 ounce can pureed/crushed tomatoes (I used diced, but pureed them w/ my immersion blender first. The puree hides the big chunks of tomatoes that my kids won't eat)
  • 2 cups beef broth, homemade or store bought
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (you can use as much or as little as you like for your family)
  • 2½ cups gluten free noodles (I used Tinkiyada Brown Rice Elbows)
  • ½ cup shredded Daiya Cheddar Shreds
  • Optional garnishes: avocado slices, pickled jalapenos, hot sauce, fresh lime, shredded cabbage
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and saute until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add in the ground meat and garlic, stirring to break the meat up.
  4. When browned, add in tomato paste, canned tomatoes, beef broth, oregano, and chili powder. Stir to combine.
  5. Stir in the noodles. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the noodles are al dente, about 7-10 minutes. The noodles will continue to soak up liquid as it sits, so don't worry if it seems a little thin.
  6. Stir in cheddar shreds until melted. Serve!



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When her third child was born with severe food allergies, Tessa took to the kitchen to figure out how to feed her family well. Always up for a culinary challenge, their journey has taken many twists and turns! Lots of Paleo, and lots of top 8 free. Good food for families, that's what she's about!

Posted in Main Dish
22 comments on “Healthy Homemade Gluten & Dairy Free Chili Mac Hamburger Helper
  1. Thanks for this! I stopped making Hamburger Helper years ago…and yes, it wasn't until after I started reading those labels.

  2. Laura says:

    What a great idea! I used to love Hamburger Helper…not anymore. But homemade-for sure!

  3. Tessa says:

    We all must have grown up in the same era!! Enjoy!

  4. Stephanie says:

    This looks awesome! I too love hamburger helper but couldn't get myself to make it after seeing the ingredients. What a great alternative!

    New follower :)


  5. Tessa says:

    Glad to have you here Stephanie!

  6. Libby says:

    Chili mac? I'm fighting a losing battle with my inner midwesterner! Now that Daiya cheese has come out & the temps are starting to drop, it's going to be hotdish city around here! Thanks for enabling me!

  7. Daiya is a life saver Libby!! I am happy to enable you with this recipe (;

  8. Stephanie says:

    We made this and my hubby loved it, I loved how easy and quick it was. Thanks for the post!

  9. glad you liked it! Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Kelly says:

    Tessa, this was very good! I was nervous about only putting in 2.5 cups of pasta, but I trusted you and it was perfect. I like the added touch with the avocado slices. Even Jim commented that he liked that. WAY better than Hamburger Helper and nearly as quick and easy. Thanks!

  11. Sarah E. says:

    That sounds really good. I love making things homemade like that. Growing up, I hated HH because of its seasoning packet. I'm sure this tastes umpteen times better!

    Stopping by from Hunk of Meat Monday.

  12. Candice says:

    First I have to say, it really does taste just like hamburger helper!
    Even though I followed the recipe exactly, even using tinkyada elbow noodles, the noodles were still crunchy after the recommended time. Had to cook them over three times as long as it says!?

    • Hmm…weird?! I always have to cook my significantly less than recommended for al-dente…I am close to seal level…maybe elevation? Maybe texture preference? Glad you liked it Candice, thank for letting em know your experience…it always helps others when people comment on differences!

  13. I made this tonight and it was fantastic! We sprinkled ours with salt and GF Worcestershire sauce and the 4 of us ate all of it! I’m putting this on my Recipes That Shine pinterest board and it’s going to be part of our regular rotation :)

  14. jamie says:

    Looking forward to trying this recipe! Thanks so much for posting it!

  15. Rebecca says:

    This is surely one the kids will love, we can’t get cheddar shreds in the Uk, but am sure I can improvise! Always delighted you pop by Seasonal Celebration Wednesday! Rebecca @Natural Mothers Network x

  16. Jenna says:

    Looks delicious! I have family members that are gluten & dairy intolerant. I will definitely be passing your website on to them :-)

  17. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  18. This sounds great. I could easily make it veg for my family. I think it will be a huge hit! Its amazing when we look back at the things we ate “pre reading labels” :) LOL I ate all of the things you mentioned :) (and more!)
    Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)

    Thanks for linking back to the Gluten Free Fridays post!

    Cindy from

  19. jamie says:

    I made this tonight and my family LOVED it! My husband said it was really good and I should make it more often! I don’t ever get compliments like that from him! I left out the cheese since I didn’t have any dairy free. It was so simple to make too! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I will definitely be making it again and again and again! Haha! :)

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Welcome, I am happy you are here!

My name is Tessa, and I have learned to cook without almost all major allergens! I have a focus on making family foods as healthy as possible. Real food is my obsession. Gluten free, casein free, vegan, Paleo, sugar free: I have a little of something for anyone with restrictions., Take a peek, you're sure to find something delicious, and if you need any help, I am always willing to help you tweak things to YOUR tastes and dietary needs!

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