Wondering what to serve with scallops? Here are all the best side dishes that pair well and are easy to whip up.
What’s better than the buttery crunch of a pan seared scallop? Scallops are perfect for special dinners; they have an air of sophistication vs the standard shrimp or salmon. But what to serve with them? It can be hard to figure out just the right side dish that contrasts in color, shape, flavor, and nutrition. It’s got to contrast their mild, delicate flavor, but complement it just enough. It’s also got to be easy enough to whip up while you’re searing up the seafood.
Here are 15 ideas for what to serve with scallops! From pasta to asparagus to green beans to salads, we’ve got all the best options that pair seamlessly to make a perfect meal. Ready to get started?
And now…top ideas for what to serve with scallops!
First up on what to serve with scallops: pasta! Noodles are the perfect pairing with sweet, buttery and delicate seared scallops. Set them atop tender pasta and accented with flavors of lemon, garlic and herbs.
Another fantastic side to serve with scallops: the simplest arugula salad. It’s quite possibly the easiest salad you’ll make. You don’t even have to make a salad dressing! In 5 minutes, you’ve got an elegant salad that goes with literally everything.
Another idea for pasta to serve with scallops: Parmesan pasta! The basic cream sauce is so creamy and full of flavor, and get this: it doesn’t even use cream! All you need is a handful of ingredients you probably already have on hand. It takes just 10 minutes: enough time to make the pasta.
Here’s a perfect pair with scallops that's a great color and shape contrast: easy bakedasparagus! It’s baked in a hot oven until tender, but still beautifully green. Then it’s spritzed with lemon: the way to make this healthy veggie taste over-the-moon good. The finishing touch: melted Parmesan cheese shavings.
Here's an elegant side that goes with just about anything: fennel orange salad! It features beautiful juicy oranges, with their vibrant color and citrusy flavor. Add to that sliced raw fennel, which adds a subtle licorice essence. Throw it over greens with a zingy homemade citrus vinaigrette, and it's stunning. Orange and scallops are the perfect flavor combination!
A sweet tart Brussels sprout salad is a great way to accessorize scallops! The raw greens aren’t bitter at all: they’re sweet and feathery, with irresistibly tasty flavor. Combine them with a sweet and tangy Djion mustard dressing, apples, and dried cherries, and they’re pretty darn perfect.
Grab another pan alongside your scallops, and let's make sautéed green beans! They make a perfect side dish: delicious, healthy, and easy! It might sound too simple, but you do need a few tricks to sauté green beans perfection. This recipe is our tried and true method that works every time.
Fire up your oven before you cook your scallops, and pop in some Parmesan broccoli! It’s crispy, crunchy, and impossible not to take another bite. (We dare you.) Roasting broccoli brings a sweetness and lightly charred edges to this healthy green vegetable. Combine that with savory Parmesan cheese, and it’s got rock star status.
Fruity flavors pair well with scallops, like this pomegranate salad! Crunchy pomegranate seeds make a beautiful confetti over the top of leafy greens. Add tart green apple slices, toasted pecans, and goat cheese or feta crumbles, and it’s a true symphony of flavor!
Roasted broccolini matches the sophistication of scallops well, if you can find it! This unique variety of broccoli has long, elegant stems, a sweet flavor and tender crunch. It roasts up even more quickly than broccoli, making it a fast and easy side dish.
Fruit pairs well with scallops, so here's our favorite spinach apple salad! It’s got a tangy balsamic dressing and crunchy maple-glazed walnuts (or pecans). No one will believe it took only minutes to put together! It’s that good.
Here's a fantastic side to serve with scallops: sautéed mushrooms! The amount of savory umami flavor you get from cooking mushrooms and onions with a little butter and Worcestershire sauce…it’s out of this world. Pair it with almost anything for an outstanding meal.
These Brussels sprouts really are next level, and here’s why. They’re impossibly crispy, baked until they’re caramelized and the outside layers flake off into darkened crunchy chips. Then they’re draped in a tangy maple balsamic glaze that heightens the flavors to their peak.
Last up in our favorite sides to serve with scallops: a colorful pile of veggies! These sauteed vegetables are beautifully colored, bursting with flavor and crisp tender in texture. They’re the perfect side dish you’ve never had.
Favorite scallop recipes
Of course, we couldn’t leave you with only what to serve with them! Here are some of our favorite scallop recipes:
This scallop pasta makes a stunning dinner! Impress everyone around the table with this elegant recipe seasoned with lemon, garlic and herbs. Accessorize with some of the side dishes in the list above!
For the scallops
8 ounces linguine noodles or other long noodles (gluten-free or legume pasta if desired)
Cook the pasta: Start a pot of well salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until it is just al dente. Start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside; usually around 7 to 8 minutes. Drain the pasta. (If it finishes before the sauce, add it back to the pot with a drizzle of olive oil so it doesn’t stick.)
Brine the scallops (10 minutes): Meanwhile, in a shallow dish, mix together 4 cups room temperature water and 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Place the scallops in the water and wait for 10 minutes.
Sear the scallops: Remove the scallops and dry thoroughly. Lightly season with a several pinches kosher salt. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. If using a medium skillet, cook the scallops in two batches. Once the oil is hot, add the scallops and cook without turning for 2 to 3 minutes, until an even brown crust clearly forms on bottom.
Flip scallops with tongs. Cook additional 2 to 3 minutes on the other side, until a crust just forms on bottom and the center of the scallop is almost opaque. Remove the scallops from the skillet to a plate.
Make the sauce: Reduce the heat to medium. Add the butter, lemon juice, minced garlic and chopped herbs. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to release flavor from any browned bits stuck to the pan. Cook 1 minute until fragrant.
Add the milk, pasta, kosher salt, and greens and cook until greens are wilted. Return the scallops to the pan and cook for a few seconds until just warm. Add lots of fresh ground black pepper. Taste and add additional salt if necessary. Serve with drizzle of olive oil and lemon zest.