Grilled Tilapia with Corn Salsa

 Grilled tilapia has to be one of the easiest dinners ever. Try this version with simple cajun seasoning and lemon-y corn salsa to use up the last of those summer veggies. 

Grilled Tilapia with Corn Salsa |  TheFoodCharlatan.comOne day not too long ago, I was holding Truman in my arms because we were out somewhere and he was sleepy. We were way past the “over-tired” stage and well into the “you will be punished for this, Mom” stage. He spent one moment resting his head on my shoulder but with any tiny disturbance would explode into back-arching wails, only to return to my shoulder seconds later, worn out.

If you don’t have kids, this probably sounds really weird. It is.

Grilled Tilapia with Corn Salsa |
Anyway, somehow on one of the back-to-the-shoulder collapses, Truman’s thumb ended up in his mouth. I watched it happen, as if in slow motion. It was like watching him eat ice cream for the first time. There’s NO GOING BACK.

Now that I have an official thumb-sucker, I asked my doctor about it. “Should I be worried?”
“Well, does he suck his thumb while he’s asleep?“
“I dunno.”
“You don’t know?”
“Well, I mean, he’s sucking his thumb when I put him down, but how am I supposed to know if he’s got it in there all night?”

The doctor opened his mouth a few times, like a fish, unsure how to respond. Almost as if he needed a good thumb-suck to work out his feelings about the fact that I’m clearly a negligent mother for not watching my baby WHILE HE’S ASLEEP.

Grilled Tilapia with Corn Salsa |

At least I feed them well. The kids actually loved this meal. I’m feeling proud of myself because I’m pretty sure I was an adult the first time I tried fish (excluding tuna). Sheltered much? I know.

All I did was sprinkle some cajun seasoning on the tilapia and toss it on the grill. The corn salsa is where it’s at though my friends. I love the freshness that the lemon and cucumber adds. I wasn’t planning on adding the feta, but threw it in on a whim and was glad I did. It adds the perfect tangy bite. If you don’t have a grill or have already put it away (!!!) there are broiling instructions below.

Come back on Saturday for some ethnic meatballs! That sounds weird. Whatever. It’s going to be awesome.

 Do you guys give up? Or are you thirsty for more?
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Grilled Tilapia with Corn Salsa |

Grilled Tilapia with Corn Salsa

Yield: Serves 4-6


  • 6 tilapia filets
  • 2 tablespoons cajun seasoning (or to taste)*
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn (4 ears)**
  • half of a medium cucumber, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • about 1/4 of a red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled


  1. Heat grill to high heat.
  2. Pat the tilapia filets dry with paper towels and sprinkle with cajun seasoning. Use your fingers to rub it on both sides.
  3. Oil the grill. Add the tilapia filets and cook for about 3 minutes per side or until it flakes with a fork.
  4. In a medium bowl stir together oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add corn, cucumber, jalapeño, red onion, cilantro, and cherry tomatoes. Toss to coat.
  5. Serve the tilapia with the corn salsa. Top with feta cheese, or you can add it to the salsa.
  6. If you don't have a grill you can broil the tilapia. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease well. Add the prepared tilapia and broil under low heat for 5-8 minutes or until it flakes with a fork.


*I didn't have any cajun seasoning so I made my own: in a small bowl stir together 1 teaspoon each salt and garlic powder. 1 1/4 tsp paprika. 1/2 teaspoon each black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, and thyme. 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes.

**If using using fresh corn, cook it first. Husk it and boil it for about 2-3 minutes until tender. Let cool, then cut from the cob. If using frozen corn, just thaw it.

Source: The Food Charlatan

Grilled Tilapia with Corn Salsa |

Don’t forget to pat the fish dry before rubbing with seasoning.

Grilled Tilapia with Corn Salsa |

Here’s how I like to chop my cucumbers for the salsa.

More fish recipes for people like me who don’t like fish that much:

Easy Parmesan Tilapia:

Easy Parmesan Tilapia

Honey Salmon with Browned Butter Lime Sauce:

Honey Salmon with Browned Butter Lime Sauce

 Beer-Battered Fish Tacos:

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

Other fish recipes from food blogs: 

Coconut Crusted Tilapia from Six Sisters’ Stuff
Cilantro and Lime Salmon from Closet Cooking
Asian Salmon with Rice Noodles and Asparagus from Julia’s Album





  1. says

    Haha! I totally understand you not knowing if Truman sucks his thumb when he sleeps. My daughter has a binky (which I really need to take away) but I don’t know if she’s sucking on it all night because there’s no way I’m going to take the chance of waking her by going in her room. Maybe you’re doctor has one of those fancy video monitors with his kids or is fortunate enough to have kids that will sleep somewhere other than their crib. Anyway, this tilapia looks delicious with that fresh veggie salsa on top!
    Melanie | Garnish & Glaze recently posted…Baked Ziti with Sweet Italian SausageMy Profile

  2. says

    Dang it, Karen! It’s not nice to tempt me with fish. Now I’m going to have to walk over to my parents’ house now and beg them to let me grill tilapia away from my husband’s sensitive nose. :D

    The pediatrician asked me last week if Micah passes toys and objects from one hand to the other. “Ummm, I think so? I think he does. I’m not really sure.” We have toddlers and babies! How can we notice all of these things? I’m trying to keep Wendy from feeding Micah the blue playdoh. Who cares if he passes a toy from one hand to the other?! Haha.
    Claire @ Lemon Jelly Cake recently posted…Decluttering My House: Pantry & Freezers UPDATE!My Profile

  3. Sarah says

    Watching people while they sleep? Isn’t that creepy, like an Edward Cullen thing to do? Also I should make this, since I just ate a bowl of cookies and cream ice cream for lunch, and this looks like the healthy antithesis I need. Yum yum corn salsa.

  4. says

    I sucked my thumb when I was little too. All night long. Made for a very not-so-cute overbite. My parents tried everything to get me to stop, before my teeth were basically sticking straight out. They found this nail polish that tastes really bad after it’s dried, and that did the trick. After getting braces, I was good as new : )

    This tilapia sounds so good! Especially topped with that corn salsa.
    Natalie @ Tastes Lovely recently posted…Grilled Lemon and Rosemary Flattened ChickenMy Profile

  5. says

    I know exactly the kind of tired you are describing…I kinda love it when my little guy gets that tired and passes out in my arms. He’s so busy lately I totally enjoy it! It makes me take a time out too ;)
    Your fish looks perfectly cooked! Love how you cut your cukes!
    Aggie recently posted…Buffalo Rotisserie Chicken SaladMy Profile

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