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.

How to make Grilled Tilapia

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.

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.

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

More Fish Recipes

Easy Parmesan Tilapia:

Honey Salmon with Browned Butter Lime Sauce:

 Beer-Battered Fish Tacos:

Cilantro and Lime Salmon from Closet Cooking

Asian Salmon with Rice Noodles and Asparagus from Julia’s Album

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Grilled Tilapia with Corn Salsa |


Grilled Tilapia with Corn Salsa

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 6 minutes
Total: 16 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
 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. 


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


  • Heat grill to high heat.
  • Pat the tilapia filets dry with paper towels and sprinkle with cajun seasoning. Use your fingers to rub it on both sides.
  • Oil the grill. Add the tilapia filets and cook for about 3 minutes per side or until it flakes with a fork.
  • 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.
  • Serve the tilapia with the corn salsa. Top with feta cheese, or you can add it to the salsa.
  • 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


Serving: 1fillet | Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 526mg | Potassium: 841mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1615IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Calories: 309
Keyword: Corn, grilled, salsa, Tilapia
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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  1. 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!

  2. Bahaha – how dare you not stand over him staring creepily while he sleeps.

    This fish looks super refreshing! Go you for feeding your kids fish from a young age:)

  3. This looks delish! We love tilapia, but I have never grilled. I see that is about to change. That corn salsa look amazing too!

  4. I’m pretty sure not a single person stares at their kid while they sleep all night. If they do, that’s pretty creepy. I’m going to need all of the tilapia.

  5. Put the grill away? Pssssh. I’ll be grilling until end of October at least! I was also close to adulthood before I had fish, but now I love it. And who knew it was so easy to prepare? My cherry tomatoes are still going strong, so I could totally pull this together. Great idea!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. Looks so healthy and fresh. Love! And I tried to get all of my boys to suck their thumb and none of them did. How much money would I have saved on pacifiers? I think we lost one a week times two years times three boys… see what I mean?

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