healthy mac & cheese recipe (10 minute meal)

It's fill-in-the-blank late time on a weeknight, you just got home and dinner needs to be on the table. This is when the feeling of dread sets in and you debate the importance of needing to eat tonight. But your stomach is growling too loud to ignore it, so dinner must be made. Dave and I have become amazing at refrigerator roulette - open the door of the fridge, grab a few ingredients you like and throw a meal together. This is one of our favorite recipes but keep an eye out for more of these random, simple pairings! If you follow this blog, you will find I often use the same ingredients so these will be even easier to make when time is not on your side.

The "Mac" in this recipe is quinoa pasta. It keeps you full with far less carbs and calories than wheat-based pasta. Before my gluten-free days, I used to binge on pasta because I did not feel full but with quinoa pasta, I cannot eat much more than 1 cup before feeling completely satisfied. Now that you understand the "mac", let's move on to the "cheese." Since goat cheese is a soft, creamy cheese, it is an easy addition to recipes that call for a light, textured sauce. Goat cheese is tangy so the unexpected pairing of fresh lemon juice really gives this dish a kick and full flavor. With just four delicious ingredients, how can you go wrong?  #timeisonmyside

Serves: 2

Prep & Cook Time: 10 minutes


Fresh From the Market:

  • 1 tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 c. Goat Cheese Crumbles

From the Pantry:

  • 16 oz. Quinoa Pasta Shells or Elbows

From the Spice Rack:

  • 1/4 tsp. Sea Salt

Kitchen Gadgets:

  • 1 Medium Saucepan or 3 qt. Pot
  • Citrus Press or Juicer
  • Mesh Strainer

Uncooked Quinoa Pasta Shells

Cooking Instructions:

  • First thing is first. Throw some water in that pot over a high flame and bring it to a boil. I find I am most impatient when it comes to boiling water, so if you want this meal to be ready in 10 minutes, do that as soon as you walk in the door. And remember, a watched pot never boils, so you can keep yourself busy with the prep in the meantime :)
  • Measure the goat cheese so you are ready to add when the pasta is finished. If you like your mac cheesier, feel free to add more than 1/2 c. since goat cheese is not terribly unhealthy and is easier to digest than, say, the fake orange powdered cheese that comes in the box.
  • Cut the lemon in two and juice one half for 1 tbsp. of lemon juice. Since the goat cheese is tangy on its own, you don't want an overpowering taste of lemon so you might want to gradually add this to the dish, when ready.
  • Great, the water is boiled! Throw that pasta in, lower to a medium flame and let it cook thoroughly. Quinoa pasta can take a little longer to cook than regular pasta, but when it is ready, it can quickly get too mushy too fast. So this time, keep an eye on that pot! It will be ready when the water starts to turn yellow, bubbly and starchy.
  • Drain, rinse, drain again. Now add the goat cheese, lemon juice and sea salt, mix well and voila - you are ready to eat a delicious dinner in 10 minutes!

Jessica Flatley

My mission is to provide ideas and inspiration for the times life hands you a lemon. Learn how to manage a food allergy or intolerance, whether cooking for yourself or eating on the go. Let's turn lemons into lemonade together!