Backyard BBQ

One-Pot Corn, Tomato & Quinoa Pilaf

June 29, 2018
7 Ratings
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 4
Author Notes

Inspired by deensiebat’s One-Pot Kale & Quinoa Pilaf, this takes advantage of all that summer has to offer. Sweet corn and juicy tomatoes, perked up with salty feta, fresh mint, and crunchy sunflower seeds. —Emma Laperruque

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 1 large lemon)
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds, toasted, plus more to top
  • 1/2 cup roughly mint, plus more to top
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  1. Add the water to a pot and bring to a boil. Add the salt and quinoa. Stir, cover, and lower the heat until it’s at a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, covered. Uncover, top with the corn and tomatoes, then re-cover. Cook another another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to steam for 5 more minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, combine the lemon zest, scallions, feta, and olive oil in a big bowl.
  3. After the quinoa has steamed for 5 minutes, check how it’s doing. The water should have absorbed. If it hasn’t, cover and cook on the lowest-possible heat for another few minutes until it has.
  4. When it’s done, fluff the pilaf and transfer to the waiting bowl with the remaining ingredients. Add the sunflower seeds and mint on top and toss. Season with salt and red pepper flakes to taste.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Cheryl
  • Ashley
  • Gal
  • LK Robinson
    LK Robinson
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

6 Reviews

Cheryl September 20, 2021
I thoroughly enjoyed this. I followed suggestions elsewhere to leave all raw (except quinoa) and it was refreshing. I used 2 ears corn, basil instead of mint, added halved Kalamata olives, didn't have scallions (I'm sure they would be good), and more tomatoes. To make it vegan, I made herbed tofu feta. I am inspired to find other quinoa salads and/or to riff on this one. Thank you!
Ashley June 15, 2019
This is a great recipe to riff on, especially when you have a smattering of random vegetable that need to be eaten! I used roasted corn kernels, cucumbers, and spring onions, goat cheese instead of feta, and a combination of dill and basil for the herbs.
Emma L. June 17, 2019
So glad you made it your own—those ingredients sound wonderful together!
Gal March 16, 2019
This is extremely simple and quick to prepare! I, too, prefer this as a salad.
If you have fresh basil, you could add some in with the mint. Their tastes will go together very well! You can also add some Kalamata black olives for a 'Mediterranean' flare.
The lemon zest really brings a touch of brightness to this salad, so don’t skip it! And be careful not to add too much salt, as the feta cheese (And olives, if using) are salty.
I liked the Sunflower seeds, it was also fantastic when I tried cashews (raw, unsalted, organic).
I used only two steps in this recipe: I cooked the quinoa, and mixed all the ingredients of the salad together. Simple, healthy, versatile, delicious! (This recipe can be kept for several days in the refrigerator).
(Note: This can easily be made from leftover quinoa that you’ve already cooked. So if you have other recipes with quinoa that you make, you can go ahead and cook a little more to make this salad).
heidi July 22, 2018
After making this, I would agree with LK. That is how I will make in the future - only cooking quinoa. Garbanzo beans were a great addition. Sunflower seeds make the dish!
LK R. July 13, 2018
I think I would prefer this as a salad...cook only the quinoa and toss when chilled.