Tilapia and Quinoa with Feta & Cucumber

anniversary dinner

Thank you for all of your comments on our anniversary!  You are too sweet!!!

This is what we ate for our special anniversary dinner. It’s a simple recipe to execute after a long day at work!  You don’t have to make special trips to the grocery store to find exotic ingredients either!  It’s a healthy, fresh and light meal perfect for the 70 degree weather we’ve been experiencing here in the Bay Area.  It’s a shame that our patio furniture is in hiding right now or we would have totally eaten this outside. We have it rough living in California, huh?

This recipe is TOTALLY adaptable. I added a little butter to the pan when cooking the fish because Casey begged me to. Good call, honey!  I also topped our fish with a little pre-made tzatziki dip from Trader Joe’s to bring more Greek into the dish.  Next time I make this recipe, I may play around with spices on the tilapia and serve it with some pico de gallo, cilantro and corn tortillas for a nice Mexican vibe. Pair it with a Corona and lime and we are totally in business!

I must admit that I am somewhat timid when it comes to cooking fish. I worry too much about overcooking it and have had a few experiences with not-so-fresh fish in the past. This recipe helped me realize that pan frying a fish fillet is ridiculously easy. Why was I such a wuss? I am totally going to start making more fish at home! Another food fear conquered this year!

Let’s get started!

Here’s the quinoa in a pot with some water. Cook it!

off to boil

It’s cooking, assemble the ingredients.

main ingredients

Sprinkle the fish with paprika, salt & pepper.

seasoning fish

Once the quinoa is done cooking, toss it in a bowl to cool for 5 minutes. Now stir in the goodies!


Mix it up and add lemon juice and olive oil.  Now you ready to cook your fish.


Once you are done with the fish, plate the quinoa. Top with fish and add a few lemon slices to make it pretty!

soo light & fresh

You now have an incredible meal in no time. Pat yourself on the back. Go you!

Tilapia and Quinoa with Feta & Cucumber

(recipe adapted from Everyday Food)

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless tilapia fillets, divided into 8 pieces
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup English cucumber, diced small
  • 1/3 cup roughly cut basil (fresh dill was in the original recipe)
  • 1/3 cup feta, crumbled
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill (my addition)

1. In a small saucepan, bring quinoa, 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a medium simmer and cook until water is evaporated, about 15 minutes (I assumed you covered the quinoa, so I did). Transfer quinoa to a medium bowl and let cool 5 minutes.

2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil over medium heat. Pat the fish dry and season with salt and pepper; sprinkle with paprika.  Cook fillets until opaque throughout, about 4 minutes, flipping halfway through. Stir cucumber, basil, feta, 1 teaspoon oil and lemon juice into quinoa. Season with salt and pepper. Divide quinoa among plates and top with fish.  Serves 4

***I added a tablespoon of butter to the pan when cooking the fish to add extra flavor. ***

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  • sara

    Thanks for posting this recipe! This looks so nice and simple and I’ve been looking for more light recipes to try out.

  • Michelle

    Looks wonderful. I’ve look for quinoa at my local grocery stores and can’t find it. Any tips on where to look?

    • Tracy

      Michelle-do you have a Whole Foods near you or a Healthy food store? I get mine in the bulk section at our local Whole Foods. They also have it at Trader Joe’s too. I think you should be able to use couscous in this recipe too. It has almost the same flavor profile.

  • mulling « rhymes with spoon

    […] recipe to share: Another new recipe I tried was Shutterbean’s Tilapia and Quinoa with Feta & Cucumber.  I’m thinking about taking a beach vacation in May and in the interest of looking remotely […]

  • Mairi

    I have made this TWICE this week already! We LOVE it! I added some cherry tomatoes to the salad–yum! The second time I made it, I pan fried the tilapia in some of the oil from Rick Bayless’ Slow Roasted Garlic Mojo: http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/view?recipeID=244 It added a really great layer of flavor to the dish. (cuz it’s yum–seriously, you should try it!) Thanks so much for posting this one! I’m always looking for new tilapia recipes!

    • Tracy

      oh hot dang!! that woulds scrumptious! I made some last week and topped in on some spanish rice with sliced avocados and finished it with cilantro and lemon juice! You should try it! Thanks for this recipe. I love Rick Bayless!

  • love.boat. | milk. and. honey.

    […] + eat: Tilapia and Quinoa with Feta & Cucumber […]

  • Daily Dish – March 2nd, 2011 – So hungry… | Transformed and Scaled

    […] Go figure. It’s tilapia with cucumber quinoa and tzatziki, and it’s based on another Shutterbean recipe. We didn’t have any fresh basil, like she used, or fresh dill, like her original recipe […]

  • Greg (Transformed and Scaled)

    This is a fantastic recipe! Quick, simple, delicious and healthy. It’s one of our favourites! I hope you don’t mind, but I wanted to share it with others so I linked to your recipe on my blog.

    Thanks, and keep the recipes coming!


    • Tracy

      Thanks Greg!! I love how clean it all tastes. Thanks for trying it out & thanks for linking me! :)

  • dale

    get more quinoa for your money. buy it from costco. bought 2 bags today. 1 bag is 4 lbs, cost $9.49 plus tax.

  • Lillian

    Thanks for this! It was my first time cooking fish and quinoa. I over did it a little on the salt, pepper, and feta, but it was still edible and almost as beautiful as yours!

  • neha gattani

    Thanks for this quick recipe. My husband loves tilapia, so cooked a fish for the first time. He just loved it. :)

  • kristine

    What is the white cream sauce shown on top of the tilapia?

  • Blomkålsris med grønne bønner, agurk, feta, basilikum, lime og pinjekerner

    […] ret er inspireret fra denne blog og har virkeligt en rar sammensætning. Den er let og frisk, men samtidig fyldig nok til at være […]

  • Teresa

    Tried this recipe tonight and it was amazing, thank you!! I’m also weary of cooking fish and I’m trying to do it more because my boyfriend loves fish. I added white onion, garlic power, and a lil’sugar to the quinoa with cucumber and basil, so yummy! I absolutely love your blog btw!

    • Tracy

      Fantastic! I’m glad you loved it. Your comment reminds me that I need to make it soon!

  • Aldina Grimard

    What is the white sauce on top?

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