scallop side dishes

What To Serve With Scallops?

Cooking scallops is not too hard, and it can be a delicious dish to eat at any time. However, the dilemma comes around when you are not sure what to serve them with. Instead of stressing out days ahead, why not try something easy yet delicious?

In this article, we’ll give you an inside scoop on the best side dishes for scallops to prepare an outstanding dinner that your guests or family will always remember!

What Are Scallops?

Scallops are a type of mollusk, which means they have a shell covering the inside muscle, just like clams or oysters. The white inside muscle is what we eat and what you probably see in the grocery store. Once cooked, they become very tender and soft, almost melting in the mouth.

The flavor of scallops is somewhere between salty and sweet, but these mollusks absorb the flavor of what you use for cooking. There are two types of scallops, sea and bay scallops, which have different textures and flavors. Sea scallops are salty and chewy, while bay scallops are sweeter.

Some ways to prepare scallops include grilling, sauteing, broiling, and poaching. Scallops go well with pasta, risotto, potatoes, and soups. Be sure to prepare scallops the same day you purchase them or store them in the freezer for longer periods.

Nutrition Facts

Four ounces (113 g) of scallops have the following nutritional content (*):

  • 80.2 calories
  • 17 g protein
  • 0.994 g fat
  • 0.994 g carbohydrate
  • 0 g fiber
  • 0.362 mg iron
  • 170 mg sodium
  • 24.9 mg cholesterol

As you can see, scallops are very low in calories but high in protein. They also have virtually no fat, so they are a good choice to stay healthy. You should beware of adding too much salt when preparing scallops because they already contain some sodium.

What Goes With Scallops Anytime

Below are some options for scallop side dishes that you can serve with scallops at any time!

#1. Lemon-Garlic Linguine

This side dish is perfect with scallops because it mixes citrus and pungency perfectly to accompany the subtle sweetness of your scallops.


  • ½ package dried linguine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your lemon-garlic linguine:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt while it is boiling. Cook your linguine following the instructions on the box.
  2. Heat the olive oil on a pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, until the aroma is truly released. Turn the heat off.
  3. Drain your pasta, place it on the pan, and turn the heat back on low-medium.
  4. Stir the pasta around, so it absorbs the garlic and olive oil. Add your lemon juice.
  5. Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve hot with scallops on top or the side.

#2. Creamy, Parmesan Polenta

Polenta is a fantastic side dish to go with scallops. This cornmeal fine porridge is smooth and creamy, mixing with the tenderness of your scallops for a melt-in-your-mouth final touch.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of fine, ground cornmeal
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your creamy, Parmesan polenta:

  1. Place the olive oil and garlic on a pan, for about 30 seconds. Turn the heat off.
  2. Pour water and stock in a pot, and add the olive oil and garlic. Bring to a boil.
  3. Once on a rolling boil, add the cornmeal. Stir constantly, so there are no clumps.
  4. After 15 to 20 minutes, stir in the Parmesan cheese, and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
  5. Serve hot, on the scallops’ side.

#3. Grilled Vegetables

This side dish is not only easy, but it also cooks quickly! You can choose your favorite vegetables and substitute the ones we have chosen below. Serve your scallops on top or the side for a tasty flavor.


  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your grilled vegetables:

  1. Prepare the grill to medium heat.
  2. Cut zucchini, squash, and onions into slices of the size you desire.
  3. Drizzle all your vegetables with olive oil.
  4. Place vegetables on the grill, and cook until they begin to char, watching each one individually as cooking times vary.
  5. Flip them and cook the other side until charred.
  6. Serve warm or slightly room temperature.

#4. Sauteed Spinach and Pine Nuts

Spinach is another great vegetable to serve with scallops, as it is buttery and smooth once sauteed. Pine nuts make for a great addition that adds crunch to your dish.


  • 2 pounds spinach, rinsed and dry
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your sauteed spinach and pine nuts:

  1. Pour olive oil onto a medium skillet. Add the garlic and allow it to cook for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the spinach, and cook until it shrinks and turns soft. Make sure to move it around to avoid burning. This process should take about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the pine nuts halfway through, moving them around as well.
  4. Salt and pepper the spinach to taste, and add a sprinkle of lemon juice if desired.
  5. Serve warm with scallops on top or the side.

#5. Risotto with Mushrooms

This side dish is a great recipe because risotto brings texture without overpowering your scallops, and the mushrooms will make the meal even more nutritious.


  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your risotto with mushrooms:

  1. Warm the water and broth in a pot over medium heat.
  2. Separately, warm the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the mushrooms, and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the rice to the second pot. Add ½ cup of your water and broth mixture until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the liquid ½ cup at a time, mixing well. This should take about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove your risotto from the heat, add the mushrooms, and serve warm with Parmesan cheese on top.

#6. Arugula and Citrus Salad

If you like a bit of bitterness and crunch, then this is the side dish for you. The citrus in this salad also pairs well with the sweet, buttery flavor of your scallops.


  • 2 oranges, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your arugula and citrus salad:

  1. Wash your arugula and dry thoroughly.
  2. Combine the oranges, arugula, lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Serve cold on the side.

Tip: you can add goat cheese and pistachios for a more filling salad.

#7. Fingerling Potatoes With Rosemary

This recipe is quick and easy but also extremely tasty. Your scallops will go well with fingerling potatoes at any time.


  • 2 pounds fingerling potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your fingerling potatoes with rosemary:

  1. Preheat your oven to about 430 degrees F.
  2. Combine the fingerling potatoes, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  3. Line a baking tray with tin foil. Spread your potatoes and the mixture of ingredients on the tray.
  4. Bake the potatoes for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until they are tender.
  5. Serve with a dash of olive oil on top and the scallops on the side.

How Can I Pick The Perfect Side Dish?

Before you choose anything, you have to pick which way to prepare your scallops. Be sure to cook them correctly, and they will become tender. Never undercook scallops, as they can be too chewy.

Once your scallops are ready, choosing the side dish to go with them is more about flavors and your taste. If you sautee your scallops, a dish that is also sauteed or creamy will probably match them better. You can choose the lemon-garlic linguine, the creamy polenta, or the risotto with mushrooms.

If you are grilling or broiling the scallops, you should go with something a little more flavorful and crunchier. Try serving them with the grilled vegetables, fingerling potatoes with rosemary, or arugula with citrus. You could also serve them with a citrus sauce, like peach chutney or mango salsa.

Finally, if you are poaching the scallops, the flavor and texture are both incredibly delicate. In this case, you may want to try pairing them with the sauteed spinach with pine nuts or the risotto with mushrooms only. You can also serve them with butter, garlic, and lemon juice.


Now that you know exactly how to prepare scallops, you can also choose a side dish to go with them. Try any of these options, which are not too difficult to make, but they are delicious. If you want, modify a few ingredients, and you’ll have multiple options when you wonder what to eat with scallops.

*image by RubinowaDama/depositphotos

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