Sweet Corn & Quinoa with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette


Sweet Corn & Quinoa with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette is the perfect summertime side dish.

The weather is playing all kinds of tricks on the Midwest, and quite frankly, my taste buds don’t know what to do about it.

After several weeks of rain and cold, when all I wanted to do was curl up with a big bowl of hearty soup, we’re back up into the upper 80s, which has me craving all things fresh! fast! and, gasp, summery!

I figure why fight it, so I did the damn thing and bought sweet corn – the culinary cornerstone of summertime in Iowa – at the grocery store this week. I know. It was $2 for 6 ears and I mentally scolded myself the entire time I shoved the unshucked ears into a bag.

It’s too early in the season for sweet corn! I tried to reason. Lord knows where it came from, not to mention half of it will taste like paste, the other half won’t taste like anything at all, and what will really kill you is that you had to shuck it all to find out!

I hate shucking corn.

Just then I looked up. The sign hanging above the display was splashed with encouraging words like Local! Iowa grown! and ‘Tis the season!…or something like that. Bingo! Apparently, because of the insanely warm winter and spring we’ve had, Iowa farmers are about 6 weeks ahead of schedule, and some sweet corn is now (barely) in season.

Sweet Corn & Quinoa with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette was added to this week’s menu on the spot!


This recipe, loaded with the bright and fresh summertime flavors of sweet corn, tart lemon, and warm honey, has been burning a hole in my back pocket for the past month now, and boy was I glad to have an excuse to make it.


Start the Sweet Corn & Quinoa by cooking the quinoa. Rinse 1 cup dry quinoa under running water in a fine mesh sieve, then combine it with 2 cups water in a saucepan.

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Bring it to a boil then place a lid on top, turn the heat down, and then cook until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.

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While the quinoa’s doin’ it’s thang, make the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette that’s destined to be drizzled on top of the sweet corn & quinoa. It’s freaking amazing.


Just combine 1 Tablespoon lemon zest, 2 Tablespoons lemon juice,

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1 microplaned garlic clove,

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and 1 Tablespoon honey.


Add in salt & pepper, then shake it all up, and set it aside for a sec.


Next, chop up 2 green onions, and slice the kernels off of 2 ears sweet corn. OH DEAR SWEET CORN, how I’ve missed you!


The easiest way I know how to cut kernels off an ear of corn without using any fancy gadgets is to slice a strip of kernels off the ear, rotate it, then cut off another strip, etc. This ensures that no corn kernels will go flying around your kitchen.


Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the green onions and corn, season with salt & pepper, and saute for 3 minutes or so. I like my sweet corn crispy, but you can cook it longer than that if you want softer kernels.

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Add the cooked quinoa on top, then pour on the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette.

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Turn off the heat, then mix everything together so that each morsel is thoroughly covered in its sweet-tart lusciousness.


Taste, add more salt & pepper if necessary, then devour the creamy, citrusy-sweet concoction.


Sweet Corn & Quinoa with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

Serves 3-4


Sweet Corn & Quinoa with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette is the perfect summertime side dish.


  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 ears sweet corn
  • salt & pepper
  • For the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette:
    • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
    • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1 garlic clove, microplaned or finely minced
    • 1 Tablespoon honey
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly under running water in a fine mesh sieve. Combine with water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, then place a lid on top and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette in a mason jar or small bowl, then shake or whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add green onions and sweet corn, season with salt & pepper, then saute until corn is tender, about 3 minutes. Add in cooked quinoa and Honey Lemon Vinaigrette, then toss thoroughly to combine. Taste, add more salt & pepper if necessary, then serve.


Adapted from Just a Taste

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.


This is summer. Right here, in this very bowl.


The corn and honey are fresh and sweet, while the zest and juice from the lemon are clean and tangy. Creamy, salty butter wraps everything together into an unbelievably satisfying bite.


Sweet Corn & Quinoa is good piping hot, warm, or cold out of the refrigerator. Not that I couldn’t keep my fork out the leftovers at all stages of the cool down process and would know for certain, or anything…


If you can’t find good sweet corn in your use frozen-then-thawed sweet corn as a simple swap!


Which food are you most looking forward to devouring this summer?

I am waiting on pins and needles for watermelon and peaches!

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  1. Kate 04.25.2012

    This look delicious! I just bought my first bag of quinoa EVER at the grocery store a few weeks ago, but I haven’t done anything with it yet! This might have to be my first quinoa recipe!

  2. Lindsey 04.25.2012

    Looks delicious! Berries of any kind and peaches!

  3. Courtney 04.25.2012

    That looks amazing! I actually picked blackberries this week and it was the same case– warmer winter so we got a surprise blackberry season :) Yah! I cannot wait for basil and tomatoes!! Watermelon sounds delicious too… I am a sucker for everything in the summer harvest it seems!

  4. Trisha 04.25.2012

    This looks super tasty! I’m planning to whip up a corn & kale bisque tonight (we’re not getting that summery weather here in Wisco yet so I’m still in soup mode) but I’m sorta tempted to use my (canned) corn for this instead!
    I’m looking forward to devouring EVERYTHING that summer has to offer.All the things! :)

  5. Kelly V. 04.25.2012

    yum! I’m on a hunt for local corn now :)

  6. j3nn 04.25.2012

    Oooh, that sounds GOOD! I dig the honey vinaigrette part a lot. YUM!

  7. Melissa 04.25.2012

    I am waiting for peaches too! I live in a wonderful valley up here in Canada…we have an amazing selection of fresh fruits and veggies in the summer and early fall….not to mention grapes in the fall for wine!

  8. Heidi 04.25.2012

    Mmm… love your quinoa recipes! I’m totally trying this one!

  9. Mollie K 04.25.2012

    your pictures are SO gorgeous!

  10. Marta 04.25.2012

    SO excited to try this quinoa recipe! I just made quinoa last night with fresh basil and lemon and now I’m ready to try this one.

  11. Candy 04.25.2012

    Tomatoes, sweet corn, and peaches sound divine…summer hurry up!!

  12. Kayla 04.25.2012

    Thank you for sharing, Kristin! I will be making this this week, as I just happen to have two ears of sweet corn in my fridge leftover from my husband’s impulse buy last week. :) I’m thinking it would be delicious with some chopped red bell pepper — for more color and crunch. No?

  13. Corn is like my favorite thing ever. Can’t wait to try this!

  14. Ashley 04.25.2012

    This is just what I was searching for tonight. I made this, minus the onions, and threw in mango and cilantro. I then used your grilled asian tofu recipe to pair with it. It was a flavor explosion.

  15. Kim Bergkamp 04.25.2012

    I have tried several of your recipes…love them all!!!

  16. Oh wow! I’ve been on a fresh corn kick, and this looks like it totally fits the bill!

  17. Looks awesome! Last night I made a Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble, with Iowa rhubarb I should add, and it was just what I needed pre-summer! I love berry dishes!

  18. Ange 04.25.2012

    I may have to adapt this with what I have in the fridge.
    Thanks for sharing this one!

  19. You are too cute little miss sweet corn. I don’t think I’ve seen sweet corn anywhere near these parts of MN lately… you are lucky! (Or are you?… ;-)

  20. Shannon 04.25.2012

    Now this looks awesome. I can’t have butter, but I bet some bacon grease would taste marvelous! Pinned!

  21. Looks like a delicious summer dish! I’m definitely tucking it away until summer (and her produce) graces us with her presence!

  22. Jackie 04.26.2012

    This Sweet Corn & Quinoa sounds delicious. Do you make up your recipes or find them in other places. I’m an old dog, but I love new tricks.. And I do like Quinoa. Tough part is out here on the West Coast we don’t get yellow corn very often.. Mostly the white corn. I have made your mini cinnamon rolls.. omg I loved them too.

  23. Marna@Marna Cooks 04.26.2012

    I grew up in MN, was born in IA, but now live in VA. Every year there’s fresh corn available out of season here and I just can’t bring myself to buy it. It just goes against all laws of nature and how I grew up (I’ve got a bunch of family who are farmers), but I guess Mother Nature’s been playing with us this year, anyway. So why not? This looks delicious and would be a great picnic side dish! Can’t wait to try it!

  24. Shannan 04.26.2012

    Every summer since we moved into our house and started a vegetable garden with tomatoes, we’ve been hooked on a cold chicken salad of chicken, tomatoes, Miracle Whip and some salt (very little is needed)/pepper/onion powder, etc. It’s so simple, but having that on bread with a side of cooked, shelled edamame has become a summer obsession with us.

  25. Pinned! I’m just across the river in Nebraska, so I’ll take your word for it and grab me some corn on the cob soon!

  26. Morgan 04.26.2012

    Wow, this looks so fresh and delicious! I cannot wait for juicy peaches, they are my fav during the summer.

  27. Jen Marie 04.26.2012

    It looks like a lovely bowl of yummy sunshine!

  28. Whitney 04.26.2012

    I simply cannot wait to make this! I too am ready for peach season – especially the Missouri ones from the farmer’s market!

  29. Renee 04.26.2012

    This sounds delish! I’m going to try this tonight, hoping that my kids will like it. I’m curious though, why do you have to rinse quinoa?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 04.26.2012

      Quinoa is naturally covered in a bitter coating called saponin. Rinsing gets rid of it!

  30. Cappy Girl 04.26.2012

    Looks DELISH! I haven’t tried quinoa yet, but this may be my first attempt!! Can’t wait for sweet watermelon. The “winter” stuff has zero taste. Have a great day!!

  31. Sarah 04.26.2012

    I’m waiting for watermelon, peaches, plum, nectarines, cantaloupe, and grapes! YUM!

  32. Sara 04.26.2012

    Looking forward to REAL tomatoes…not the “styrofoam” ones from the grocery store! Bacon & tomato sandwiches, here I come!

  33. LissKB 04.26.2012

    Trying this tonight! Recently I tried a tapas dish of Sweet Corn with Bacon, Chiles and Thai Basil. It was amazing! Such an unexpected flavor combo, but – let’s be honest – you can’t go wrong with bacon!

    I can’t wait for farm fresh tomatoes, especially after just returning to the states from Italy where the tomatoes were out-of-this-world fresh. Sigh, food depression :(

  34. Erin 04.26.2012

    This looks amazing! Sweet corn has popped up in Nebraska already, too. Will have to pick up some quinoa to make it!

  35. Kristin from MN 04.26.2012

    That looks sooo good! My dad planted his sweet corn already but it is not anywhere near being ready yet. I will definitely be making this once it’s ready! I cannot wait for sweet corn this summer and rhubarb this spring!

  36. Stacey 04.26.2012

    I live in Iowa too and have my own sweet corn planted… can’t wait for it to pop up so I can make this!! When I cut mine off the cob, I use the electric knife. Goes super fast but might not be worth the cleaning effort for one or two ears. Works great for freezing the corn though!

  37. EEEEE I can’t WAIT for sweet corn to make it’s way to the east coast. I adore it.

  38. This is definitely going on my “to-make” list. Can I have a bowl NOW please? Like right now????

    But, seriously. :)

  39. How can it be that my husband doesn’t like corn? I don’t get it.. I love it!! This dish looks delicious!

  40. Nancy 04.26.2012

    Local strawberries will be available here this weekend, thanks to the unseasonable winter and spring we’ve had — almost a month ahead of time. Yum!

  41. Holy YUM! This sounds incredible!

  42. Dawn 04.26.2012

    I have frozen sweet corn (off the cob)in the freezer…how much should I use for this recipe?

  43. Erica 04.26.2012

    Is this something that can be served chilled?

  44. Chi Chi 04.26.2012

    Yum! Any suggestions for the substituting the lemon? I have an 8 year old who loves everything EXCEPT lemon…go figure.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 04.26.2012

      You could use any olive oil based Italian dressing. (If you’re local, Bisignano’s Italian Dressing would be divine!)

      • Chi Chi 04.26.2012

        Ooooh, I’m in Sacramento, CA., but this gives me a great idea for other options. THANKS!

  45. dina 04.26.2012

    you should enter this in the trader joe’s quinoa contest!

  46. Robyn 04.26.2012

    Yum! This looks FAB! I cannot wait for the Farmer’s Market to roll around! It is right outside my front door!! I am dying to make fried green tomatoes, that is my summer ritual!!

  47. Kathy 04.26.2012

    Can’t WAIT to try this! I am on a Quinoa kick lately & I am actively looking for recipes! Thanks for a fabulous one!

  48. Elly 04.27.2012

    IGE — I just saw this on Pinterest and thought I’d share: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-never-shuck-corn-again/step3/Sliding/

    Basically, you microwave corn in the husk, cut off the end, and it supposedly slides out clean! Genius!

  49. Lacy 04.28.2012

    Made this tonight – it was fantastic! I added a bit of olive oil to the dressing. Perfection :)

  50. Laura 04.28.2012

    I made this last night and I am officially putting that dressing on everything. It’s so good!

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