Scallops are an exquisite delicacy brought to us by the sea. Subtle as their flavors may be, the combination of sweet, buttery, and nutty always hits the right spot.
Plus, there’s something about their springy, yet juicy texture that makes them so addictive!
Since scallops aren’t exactly hearty, you’ll want to pair them with the perfect side dishes. Because of the subtle flavors, scallops go well with just about any dish! Salads, veggies, mashed potatoes, pasta — you name it!
You also need to be careful about pairing scallops with bold flavors. You don’t want them to be overshadowed; instead, you want them to shine!
Getting too overwhelmed? Relax! I’ve got you covered. Below are 24 of the best side dishes to serve with scallops.
Pair your scallops with these delightful dishes for a medley of flavors and textures your tastebuds won’t soon forget!
1. Spinach & Pomegranate Salad
In the mood for a restaurant-quality dinner at home? How about some seared scallops with a side of spinach and pomegranate salad?
Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or having an intimate date night, you can’t go wrong with this fancy meal.
This salad’s wide array of flavors goes perfectly with simple seared scallops. Not to mention, it’s chock full of antioxidants! Full of flavor and good for the heart – who can say no to that?
2. Brussels Sprouts with Creamy Lemon Sauce
This dish combines salty pancetta, nutty Brussels sprouts, and sweet scallops dressed in a tangy lemon sauce. It has it all! And the flavors are absolutely divine.
Plus, the dish comes together in just 25 minutes! How can something so glorious be this easy to make?
Paired with a glass of white wine, you’ll have an elegant home-cooked dinner.
3. Mango Avocado Salsa
This dish is ideal if you are serving scallops as a side dish or an appetizer. This mango avocado salsa is fresh, fruity, and flavorful! And on top of perfectly seared scallops, it’s phenomenal!
Top your scallops and salsa on a thin slice of baguette, and you’ll have a winning appetizer.
4. One-Pan Lemon Caper Pasta
Pasta and scallops go wonderfully well together. But you want to avoid tomato-based sauces as much as you can because the flavors can sometimes overpower scallops.
Lemon caper pasta does the opposite by enhancing the flavors of the scallops!
What I love most about this dish is how light and bright it is. Sometimes pasta can be too heavy, but this one isn’t. Rather, it’s light, exquisite, and absolutely delicious.
The key to this dish is to use thin noodles, such as angel hair pasta. The thinner the noodles, the easier the sauce will be absorbed, giving you a richer and tastier dish.
5. Fettuccine Alfredo
Another fabulous pasta dish that goes well with scallops is fettuccine alfredo. That rich and cheesy sauce does a fine job of contrasting the sweetness of scallops.
And since fettuccine alfredo comes together so quickly, it’s so easy to make!
6. Brown Butter Polenta
If you love shrimp and grits, this brown butter polenta is for you. Butter and seasonings give this dish a complex, yet fantastic flavor.
Trust me, this dish is a total crowd-pleaser. And surprisingly, it’s also incredibly simple to make! You might even fool your friends into thinking you took hours to prepare it, when in fact, it comes together in just an hour.
7. Warm Tuscan Beans
Pairing scallops with Tuscan beans gives them a Mediterranean flair and adds a wonderful consistency to your meal.
And that sauce? Wow! The combination of crushed red pepper, garlic, white wine, and basil is a lovely complement to seared scallops.
This pairing is already great as it is. But you can make it even more fantastic with some grilled garlic bread. The bread adds heartiness to your meal, plus you can use it to soak up that glorious sauce.
8. Lentil Salad
Lentil salad is a hearty dish that piars well with scallops. The combination of warm lentils, carrots, and kale adds textures that contrast the scallops wonderfully.
9. Summer Squash Salad
This squash salad is bright, refreshing, and fantastic with seared scallops. Together, they make such an ideal summer dish!
This pairing is anything but boring! Each bite offers unique flavors and textures that will truly delight your tastebuds.
It’s incredibly easy to make, too. Combine zucchini and squash strips, prosciutto, and feta. Then, coat them in a mixture of mint, oil, pepper, and lemon juice.
10. Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Shallots
If you’re like me, you might get shallots and scallops confused often. Thankfully, this recipe happens to have both, so there’s no need to worry!
Mashed potatoes complement just about any dish, scallops included. The rich and creamy flavors go so well with the briny and springy seafood!
11. Lemon Asparagus Risotto
Another great side to pair with your scallops, lemon asparagus risotto offers a nice mellow background to let your scallops shine. Don’t get put off by the timing, risotto can take a little while to cook correctly, but it’s so worth it.
This risotto is great with any white fish, but with some lemon zest in it, and lemon-seared scallops, it is absolutely to die for.
Succotash is a hearty Southern dish made of fresh cherry tomatoes, lima beans, corn, butter, and spices.
Whether you stick to just those veggies or add more, you can’t go wrong. You can even add bacon bits if you’d like!
It doesn’t matter whatever additional ingredients you put in there — succotash will always taste great with scallops.
13. Butternut Squash
Add vibrance to your plate with some roasted butternut squash. Apart from the pop of color, the squash’s sweet and nutty flavors also complement the subtle seafood well. Together, they make a healthy and satisfying meal.
Roasted butternut squash is easy to make, to boot! Just roast the veggie with brown sugar, butter, and sage, and it’s good to go. Your tastebuds will thank you afterward.
14. Chorizo and Corn
This dish is creamy, smoky, and has a little bit of a kick! The combination of flavors complements seared scallops oh-so-well. Together, they form a unique and satisfying dish.
When making this dish, be sure to cut the chorizo in thin slices. Chorizo has such bold flavors, and you don’t want it to overpower the star of your meal.
Fry the chorizo along with the corn, and you’re done. Don’t discard the oil you cooked it in just yet, though. Sear your scallops in it for added flavor!
15. Simple Grilled Veggies
They say that sometimes, the simple things are the best. This is definitely true for scallops. All it takes are some grilled veggies to make the most extraordinary meal.
I love pairing grilled eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, and red peppers with scallops. They’re colorful, flavorful, and they taste great with scallops! The zestiness of the veggies offers a great contrast to the sweetness of the scallops.
Grilled veggies are very easy to whip up as well. Coat those veggies with olive oil, season with salt and fresh herbs, pop them in the oven, and they’re done! Congratulations, you’ve made a tasty and healthy dish.
Oh, and here’s a tip: since veggies cook fast, you’ll want to grill them 30 minutes before you sear your scallops.
16. Rice and Quinoa
You can’t go wrong with carbs and protein. That’s why rice works well with scallops!
If you want some starchy rice with your scallops, I suggest a savory chicken rice pilaf. It’s very easy to make — just keep in mind to cook it properly to get the right consistency.
But if you’re pressed for time, you also can’t go wrong with a simple steamed white rice flavored with butter, cardamom, cloves, and star anise. Yum!
For a healthier option, you can also opt for quinoa. Cooked in garlic lemon butter sauce, the nutty quinoa gets a rich and robust flavor that goes well with scallops.
Just like rice, couscous also gives your scallops that heartiness it yearns for.
There are various ways to flavor couscous, but I like adding curry to mine! Apart from the lovely contrast in flavor, it also adds a nice Indian flair to your meal.
You might think it’s redundant to pair scallops with another protein dish, but come on, who can say no to bacon?
It’s not exactly a side dish, because you won’t be serving bacon on the side. Instead, you’ll be wrapping that smoky goodness around your scallops for a bombshell of a dish.
It doesn’t matter what you call it; all that matters is that this pairing is ridiculously good.
This dish tastes divine whether you grill it or cook it on the stovetop. But if you want even more mind-blowing flavors, pop it in the oven. When baked, the flavors of the bacon and the scallops marry into one lip-smacking treat.
Think surf and turf! Sure, this combo may be too heavy, but who cares — it’s delicious!
Who doesn’t love that combination of sweet seafood and meaty steak? Together, steak and scallops make such a sinful, tempting dish!
And it doesn’t matter however you want to flavor your steak. Whether you go the simple salt and pepper route or the spicy Cajun seasoning, that big hunka steak will still taste insanely amazing with seared scallops.
Double the seafood, double the fun! Shrimp and scallops? Oh boy, it’s two of the best things the sea has to offer on one plate!
Whether you fry, grill, or sear shrimp and scallops, those flavors will complement one another beautifully.
The only thing you need to worry about is overcooking them! So, keep an eye on them as you cook, otherwise, you’ll get a rubbery mess. (I’d still eat it, though!)
21. Creamed Corn Puree
If you want to incorporate your scallops in a light soup, then a puree is perfect for you. But don’t worry, just because it’s light doesn’t mean it lacks flavor.
In fact, this creamed corn puree is packed with corn kernels, grilled scallops, and roasted broccoli! It’s so flavorful!
Oh, and if you think this dish will be complicated, think again. This rich dish comes together in just 30 minutes!
22. Tomato Parmesan Bisque
Another fantastic soup that tastes great with scallops is this tomato parmesan bisque. I know I said earlier to avoid tomatoes when dealing with scallops, but this one’s an exception.
This bisque uses sun-dried tomatoes, which have that perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors. Add scallops and parmesan cheese, and you’ve got a wonderful bisque that’s perfect for any weeknight dinner.
23. Cauliflower Puree
If you can’t get enough of nutty and velvety purees, try this cauliflower puree! Complete with capers, raisins, and pine nuts, this thick soup is definitely not lacking in flavor and texture.
And it’s easy to make, too! Done in less than 25 minutes, you’ll get a thick and tasty soup that tastes great with scallops.
Now, if you’re like me and can devour seared scallops with no sides, this last side dish is for you.
Sure, scallops taste fantastic on their own, but you can enhance their flavors even more with sauces!
What I love about sauces is that there is no one perfect recipe for any of them. You can tweak them according to your preferences and dietary requirements! With sauces, you can let your creativity shine.
And since scallops have such a subtle flavor, there is a wide variety of sauces that go well with them. Try a sweet chutney or a spicy curry sauce for an Indian twist.
Or how about an avocado with honey and dijon mustard dip for a sweet and savory twist?
You can also go for a citrusy cilantro lime sauce or a spiked jalapeno bourbon sauce. Seriously, your options are endless!