10-Minute Dinner: Quinoa Mac, Greens and Cheese

Photo by Nicole Reino

Mac and cheese: It's a dish childhood dinner memories are made of.

Generally that magical meal came from a blue box filled with elbow noodles and a packet of orange powder. As a kid, you had no clue what that powder was—nor did you care. All you knew was it tasted good, and Mom could whip it up in 10 minutes.

Although your days of ingesting orange mystery dust are likely in the rear view, chances are you still cherish a bowl of mac and cheese.

The good news: There's a healthier version that calls for quinoa pasta, which is high in protein and an adequate source of all the essential amino acids, and raw-milk cheddar. Raw milk and its cheese contain 10 percent more B vitamins and 25 percent more vitamin C than pasteurized milks and cheeses, according to Care2 Healthy Living.

To boot, this recipe boasts plenty of fresh basil and spinach, which are rich sources of vitamin K and powerful antioxidants. And, like Mom, you can cook this recipe up in 10 minutes flat.

More: Active Cookbook: 1 Week of Dinners With 6 Ingredients or Less


  • 8 ounces quinoa pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/4 cup raw-milk sharp white cheddar (or your favorite raw-milk cheese)
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a rapid boil. Stir in the pasta. Cook uncovered for 6 to 7 minutes. Strain the pasta, and set aside.

Over medium-low, heat the olive oil in the same pot you cooked the pasta. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously so the garlic doesn't burn. Turn off the heat, and add the pasta back to the pot.

Add the cheese, basil and spinach, and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Serves 4

More: Pasta With Broccoli-Rabe Pesto

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About the Author

Nicole Reino

Nicole Reino is the nutrition editor for Active.com. She's a yogi, runner, cook and real-foods enthusiast.

Nicole Reino is the nutrition editor for Active.com. She's a yogi, runner, cook and real-foods enthusiast.

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