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Wondering what to serve with scallops? Here are all the best side dishes that pair well and are easy to whip up.

What to serve with scallops
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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!

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:

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Scallop pasta

What to Serve with Scallops

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


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)
  • 1 pound sea scallops, thawed if frozen
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil

For the sauce

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus zest for serving
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (tarragon, thyme, parsley, etc)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 handful baby greens (spinach or kale)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper


  1. Thaw the scallops, if frozen (see above).
  2. 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.)
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • Diet: Vegetarian

More sides to go with…

Need more side dish ideas? We’ve got you covered:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What is the purpose of putting the scallops in water before you cook them

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Brining the scallops improves the flavor and allows for a better sear!

  2. Alex Gallo says:

    My personal cooking level: competent to proficient.

    Oh wow! Needed to treat myself after a long day and this was the way to go. Even after a long day this didn’t feel like too much work for something that turned out so rich and flavorful. Never made scallops before but it turned out so good on a first try, they really walked you through the process with stress free instruction & pro tips. A perfect way to enjoy scallops. I used Thyme & Tarragon for my herbs, unsalted butter instead & fresh scallops keeping to the recipe verbatim so my review definitely reflects the recipe listed. Thanks again gang, I’ll be back to try some other recipes.

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      So glad to hear this! Thanks for making :)