Summer isn’t just about fresh produce. It’s also high season for many types of seafood. Scalloping season runs from July through September, and is the perfect time for making these dairy-free seared scallops with lemon, garlic, and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.
Perfect Dairy-Free Seared Scallops with Zesty Ingredients
More than fifteen years ago, Cate O’Malley shared a recipe for scampi-style scallops with us. She had adapted it form Good Housekeeping magazine. We’ve since updated her pan-seared scallops recipe, and have added some more information, notes, and FAQs.
Can I Use Frozen Scallops?
Yes, you can. But it’s best to defrost the scallops in the refrigerator overnight before using. If you’re short on time, you can thaw the frozen scallops in a sealed plastic bag submerged in cold water. This will take about one hour. See this Guide to Defrosting Scallops for tips and pictures.
Will Bay Scallops Work?
Bay scallops are much smaller than sea scallops. They’re harder to sear because they cook much more quickly. You can still use this recipe to make them, but you will want to cook the scallops for much less time. Consequently, they won’t really be seared. But the flavors are still great!
What Type of Pan Should I Use?
A cast-iron skillet is ideal, but not everyone has a cast-iron skillet large enough. Not to mention, they are very heavy! You can alternatively use a heavy-bottomed skillet or even a non-stick skillet. The latter won’t sear quite as well, but will help avoid sticking.
How Many Lemons Do I Need for this Recipe?
You’ll need just 1 juicy lemon with a nice peel for these dairy-free seared scallops. One lemon typically contains 2 to 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and up to 3 teaspoons of zest.
Should I Add Any Broth or Wine?
This is an alcohol-free version of dairy-free seared scallops, and no broth is needed either. If you want to make this into a scallop scampi recipe, over pasta, you can add a little broth, chicken stock, or wine, and possibly a little more butter alternative, to make it saucier.
Special Diet Notes: Seared Scallops
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, and optionally soy-free. Just be sure to choose the butter alternative that suits your dietary needs.
- 1 cup whole wheat couscous (can sub brown rice for gluten-free)
- 1¼ pounds sea scallops
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, divided
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pounds zucchini or yellow summer squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dairy-free butter alternative (optional)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or parsley
- Prepare the couscous as directed on the box.
- Pull off and discard any tough crescent-shaped muscle each scallop, and rinse them to remove any sand from crevices. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and place them in a medium bowl.
- Add the crushed garlic, ½ teaspoon lemon zest, salt, and pepper to the scallops and toss to coat.
- With vegetable peeler, slice each squash lengthwise into thin, long ribbons until you reach the core with seeds. Discard the core.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Add the scallops and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden on the bottom. Flip the scallops using tongs. Add the butter alternative, and cook for another 2 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom and just opaque throughout. Transfer the scallops to a plate.
- Add the squash ribbons to the same skillet. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook the squash for 2 minutes, stirring once. Uncover and cook the squash for 1 minute more or until crisp-tender. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and remaining ½ teaspoon lemon zest.
- Spoon the squash with lemon onto 4 plates, top with the scallops, and sprinkle with the parsley or chives. Serve with the couscous.