Stovetop Diplomat

Honey Butter Quinoa and Corn

Honey Butter Quinoa and Corn


Lemon zest and scallions bring out the best in this honey butter quinoa and corn, a bright and summery side dish perfect for grilling season!

Summer is on the horizon, and (if everyone shapes up and flies right for just a little while longer), that means barbeque and picnic season is upon us! This healthy and easy side dish is durable enough to bring with you to such an occasion, while still delivering big on bright, summery flavor.

Fresh corn is mandatory for this dish, and part of what infuses the quinoa with extra-deep flavor is boiling the cobs in the cooking water first. This is the same thing I did to create the broth in my sweet corn and zucchini soup recipe. It adds such a delicate sweetness to the backbone of this dish. Fresh corn at peak season is going to be your best friend! Even frozen corn on the cob won’t be quite as delicious.

While I think this dish is best served warm, you actually can’t go wrong temperature-wise! That’s one of the things that makes this a great dish for outdoor grilling and get-togethers (and if we’re all good just a little longer we might be able to have those this year- get your vaccination). It can be served cold, room temperature or hot and is delicious any way. And with no mayo, it is a summer side dish that won’t kill you if left outside!

I am always pleased to discover how simple and fast it is to prepare this honey butter quinoa and corn. 45 minutes total time, most of which is waiting for varying things to boil. Any prep activities can be done during this time which is always a welcome boost in efficiency. When planning for this recipe, I have listed that it serves approximately 8 as a side dish- that’s about 2.5 total cups.

Honey butter quinoa and corn makes a great side for white fish or salmon (try my Hoisin Maple Salmon), chicken dishes, and burgers of all types- beef, black bean or veggie. If you’re looking for more of a light meal or lunch, it makes a great base for steamed vegetables. Pack it in meal prep containers and take it to work all week long! It stands up excellently to the fridge as well.

Lastly, I just want everyone to know that my father refers to quinoa as Inca Grits. End transmission.


Honey Butter Quinoa and Corn

Lemon zest and scallions bring out the best in this honey butter quinoa and corn, a bright and summery side dish perfect for grilling season!

Course Salad, Side Dish
Keyword barbeque, bbq side dish, grilling, meal prep, picnic side dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 people as a side


For Quinoa:

  • 2 ears fresh corn
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa (I use tri-colored)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch green onions / scallions

For Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder (optional)
  • a few cranks of pepper


  1. Slice kernals off both ears of corn and set aside. Place cobs in a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Cover and lower heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. When finished, remove cobs from the water and discard.

  2. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve under cold water. Add the quinoa, corn kernals and olive oil to the pot of water. Bring to a boil again, cover and lower the heat to simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.

  3. Remove the quinoa from heat and let it sit and steam for another 5 minutes.

  4. In the meantime, prepare the dressing. Melt butter in a small bowl. Whisk in lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne (if using) and a few cranks of pepper to taste. Slice the green parts of the scallions and set aside.

  5. Pour quinoa into a serving bowl and thoroughly stir in the dressing. Stir in sliced scallions. Serve warm.

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