Wondering what to serve with scallops? I’ve got 25 ideas for delicious sides for scallops that you can whip up in no time any night of the week.
Scallops are known for their sweet flavor and buttery texture. They’re like the ocean’s answer to a tender steak. But even the most delicious scallops are looking for their perfect sidekick.
We’re not just talking about any old side dish here. We’re talking about the perfect pairing that complements the rich flavor of scallops without stealing the show.
So, grab your favorite scallop recipes, and let’s look at my favorite pairings, from the classics to more creative options.
Grilled Asparagus With Parmesan
Something about the smoky char on those green spears pairs so beautifully with buttery scallops. And the salty umami flavor from the Parmesan elevates the grassy green taste of asparagus. It’s simple, elegant, and has that ‘wow’ factor without any fuss. Plus, it’s a breeze to whip up. A drizzle of olive oil, a quick trip to the grill, and a dusting of cheese. Voilà! You’re all set to impress.
Parmesan Mushroom Risotto
The aroma alone for this risotto recipe is enough to gather everyone around the table. Sure, risotto asks for some attention while cooking, but the result is a rich, comforting dish worth the stir. I love to add a handful of sautéed greens on top for a pop of color and nutrition.
Brussels Sprouts With Creamy Lemon Sauce
Pan-fry your sprouts to get all crispy and caramelized, and when you toss in some salty pancetta, and topped with lemon zest, it’s like they were meant to be. That creamy lemon sauce is zesty, cutting through the richness and brightening everything up.
This dish is a bit of a project, so save it for a night when you’re looking to impress, like a cozy date night. Give yourself about 25 minutes, and you’ll have a side that’s as impressive as any upscale restaurant’s fare.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Garlic mashed potatoes, where do I start? They’re the fluffy cloud to your perfectly seared scallops. I’ve whipped up these potatoes with a generous helping of roasted garlic, and it’s always.
The creamy texture complements the scallops’ delicate nature, and that hint of garlic is just enough to say hello without overpowering. It’s a classic, sure, but when you get it just right, it’s a reminder of why some pairings are timeless.
Corn Succotash Salad
When those tender scallops hit the plate, a Corn Succotash Salad is the way to go. It’s a vibrant mix of sweet corn, bright tomatoes, and crisp bell peppers tossed with fresh herbs. This salad pairs beautifully with the sweetness of scallops, and the texture contrast of veggies hits just right.
Buttery Yukon golds are a match made in heaven for scallops. Toss in some sweet snap peas and a hint of bitter radicchio, and you’ve got a side that’s as colorful as it is tasty. The radicchio’s slight bitterness is a brilliant counterpoint to the scallops’ natural sweetness, and those peas pop with just the right amount of fresh.
This dish is a go-to for me when I’ve got friends over. It’s budget-friendly, and you’re dishing out gourmet vibes in less than half an hour.
Baby Spinach Salad With Pomegranate
Scallops and salad? Yes, please! The pomegranate brings a sweet and tart punch that’s downright sophisticated. Try tossing in some of your favorite nuts and seeds for contrast and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette. A little red pepper flake brings the heat, rounding out the flavors beautifully. This shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to toss together before you’re ready to dig in.
Bacon & Spinach Sauté
The smokiness of the bacon, the punch of garlic, and that sweet hint of onion create flavors that pair very well with scallops. After cooking the bacon, I seared scallops to a golden crust and then used the same pan to wilt the spinach in all that bacon-y goodness.
And when you toss in a handful of raisins or a sprinkle of nuts, suddenly, this simple dish has depth. It’s about 30 minutes from start to finish, and that’s perfect for those nights when you want to keep things easy but refuse to compromise on flavor.
Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles) With Pesto
Zoodles tossed in a vibrant pesto sauce are a fresh, light companion to the flavor of scallops. I’ve found that the key to perfect zoodles is not overcooking them. Just a quick sauté to keep that al dente texture will do, and toss them with a little homemade or store-bought pesto.
Mango Avocado Salsa
Mango Avocado Salsa is the refreshing sidekick your pan-seared bay scallops deserve. It’s a burst of fresh, fruity flavors that play nicely with the delicate taste of scallops.
The key to this side dish is ripe but still a little firm mangoes and avocados. They bring the texture and taste that make this dish stand out. And the best part? It’s ready in about 15 minutes, making it perfect for those summer evenings when the kitchen is the last place you want to be.
Maple Balsamic Kale Salad
Imagine scallops seared in a heavenly sauce of butter, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar, with a hint of pomegranate. But that sauce isn’t just for the scallops! Drizzle it over your kale and watch how it clings to every leaf, adding a sweet, tangy glaze out of this world. I like to throw in some creamy goat cheese for good measure. It adds a tang that complements the maple balsamic dressing like a dream.
Aromatic Rice With Spiced Butter
Aromatic rice is a fragrant side that turns a scallop dish into pure comfort food. It’s all about that rich, warm, spiced butter sauce. The secret is toasting spices like cardamom, cloves, and star anise right in the butter. It’s a simple step that infuses the rice with layers of flavor. Stir it into cooked rice, and voilà, you have a dish that’s a magnet for compliments. Plus, it’s a smart way to reinvent leftovers into something special.
Quinoa Salad With Lemon & Herbs
This quinoa salad is light, zesty, and just the thing to balance out the richness of buttery scallops. The lemon and herbs are like a fresh breeze through your kitchen, waking up all the flavors. I toss in some chopped parsley, a bit of mint, and a squeeze of lemon juice, and it’s like summer in a bowl. The quinoa brings a delightful nuttiness and a satisfying bite.
Lemon & Caper Pasta
I’m all about that one-pan magic, searing the scallops to perfection and then using that very pan to whip up this lemony, caper-infused sauce. It’s a little trick that means less cleanup and more flavor.
Toss in some ripe tomatoes with your pasta, and you’ve got a dish that’s as vibrant to look at as it is to eat. It’s my go-to when I want to bring a touch of Italian elegance to the table without breaking a sweat.
Polenta & Mushrooms
Polenta & Mushrooms is a rustic, hearty side that’s a match made in heaven for scallops. Opting for regular polenta over the quick-cooking variety pays off in spades with a creamier, more robust flavor. It’s a bit of a slow burn, needing about an hour to reach that perfect, spoonable consistency, but it’s time well spent.
Spicy Curry Couscous
Spicy Curry Couscous is a vibrant side that’ll whisk your taste buds off to faraway places. I always make a bit more sauce than needed because it’s too good to skimp on, especially when paired with beautifully seared scallops. The best part? Once the couscous is done, it can keep warm while you’re searing scallops and serving everything hot at the same time.
Creamy Pasta is the comfort food side that scallops have been waiting for. It’s the dish I turn to when I’m looking to pair scallops with something satisfying and indulgent. The pasta is rich, thick, and enveloped in a velvety sauce that clings to every noodle. I always cook the scallops last, ensuring they stay succulent and tender, ready to melt in your mouth.
Soy Citrus Soba Noodles
Soy Citrus Soba Noodles are a zesty, all-in-one side that’s a hit every time I serve it with scallops. It’s the trifecta of protein, grains, and veggies, all tied together with a sweet and spicy sauce that’s downright addictive. To give the scallops that irresistible crust, I give them a quick sear before they dive into the marinade and join the noodle party. It’s a little tweak that makes all the difference, delivering that golden crunch with every bite.
Warm Lentil Salad
This is my go-to for transforming leftover lentils into something special. French lentils are ideal with their firm texture, but honestly, any variety you have on hand will do the trick. The dressing is a breeze, whisked together with ingredients you’ve likely got in your fridge. Toss in some kale and carrots, and you’ve got a robust, earthy salad that stands up and compliments scallops.
Tuscan Beans might seem off the beaten path, but trust me, beans bring a heartiness that beautifully complements scallops’ delicate nature. The Mediterranean flair of this dish, with its robust herbs and a hint of garlic, enhances without overshadowing the main attraction. And let’s not forget the grilled garlic bread that comes along for the ride! It’s perfect for mopping up every last drop of the flavorful sauce.
Cauliflower Puree With Pine Nuts & Raisins
As an alternative to potatoes, cauliflower puree marries the comfort of potatoes with the lightness of cauliflower. And those fancy-sounding toppings? They’re a breeze to whip up and add a delightful contrast in texture and taste. My tip is to focus on the puree first and then get pine nuts toasty. Save the scallops for last to ensure they’re just right.
Tomato Parmesan Bisque
Tomato Parmesan Bisque is a creative twist that brings a warm, comforting element to the table. To keep it from being too rich, I make sure to drain the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes, keeping the focus on the fresh tomato flavor and the savory Parmesan. If your evenings are hectic, let the crockpot do the heavy lifting during the day. Then, when you’re ready to sear those scallops, your bisque will be ready to bowl up.
Creamy Parsnip Puree
Creamy Parsnip Puree is a velvety, subtly sweet base that complements the scallops’ delicate flavor. I’ve found that simmering the parsnips in milk softens their strong edge, creating a more refined taste. And don’t hold back on the nutmeg. It adds a warm, spicy undertone. Whether you’re spooning out a small teaser or serving up a generous helping with a side salad, this puree is tasty!
Creamed Corn Puree & Broccoli Florets
I’ve tossed in a little fresh thyme to give the corn puree a homey feel that compliments its sweet notes. And while we’re at it, let’s talk about those broccoli florets. Roasting them unlocks a nutty crunch that steaming just can’t beat. Remember, we’re not going for baby food here. A chunky puree adds that textural contrast that makes each bite interesting. This combo is a no-fuss, full-flavor win.
Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese Salad
A roasted beet and goat cheese salad offers a sweet earthiness that complements the seafood’s delicate flavor. I’ve always enjoyed the contrast of warm, roasted beets against this salad’s cool, crisp greens. It’s a combination that feels indulgent yet wholesome. And when those little morsels of goat cheese melt slightly beside a freshly seared scallop, it’s pure magic on the palate.