Pan Seared Scallops & Zucchini Noodle Pasta
This simple Pan-Seared Scallops and Zucchini Noodle Pasta is a nutritious, healthy, and balanced weeknight meal. Dinner in 30 minutes!
Simple weeknight pastas that can be whipped up in 30 minutes are my jam!
While pasta can get a bad rap, filling it with plenty of veggies, healthy fats, and protein can make this comfort food incredibly nutritious and healthy.
- veggies provide plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals as well as dietary fibre
- healthy fats help to keep you feeling full, and also help to absorb the fat-soluble nutrients from the veggies
- protein also helps to slow digestion and keep you full
- this mix of fibre, protein, and healthy fat helps to balance your blood sugar and lessen any spikes in blood sugar from the carbohydrates in the pasta
- the combination of carbohydrates, fat, and protein provide all 3 macronutrients that your body needs to function!
Luckily, this pan-seared scallops and zucchini noodle pasta recipe ticks all those boxes. It’s delicious, nutritionally-balanced, and a nice light pasta for the warmer months (or all year round). Dietitian-approved pasta? You got that right!
Want more pasta recipe inspiration? Check out my roundup of 20+ easy, healthy pasta recipes for more ideas!
How To Sear Scallops
One of the easiest (and most delicious) ways to cook scallops is to sear them on a frying pan or skillet. All you need is a little butter or high-smoke point oil (I like avocado oil), salt, and pepper.
To start, make sure you pat your scallops dry with a paper towel. Season scallops with salt and pepper.
Heat your pan over medium-high and add about a tablespoon of butter or oil.
Ensure your pan is hot (it should sizzle with a splash of water) before adding the scallops to the pan with a pair of tongs. Space your scallops out evenly, and cook for 2 minutes before flipping them. Then, cook for an additional 2 minutes on the other side.
How do you know when scallops are done? They will become opaque and slightly browned. Remove them from your pan and set aside on a plate. Easy peasy (and so quick), right?!
How To Make Zucchini Noodles (“Zoodles”)
To make the zucchini noodles (“zoodles”), I simply use this handheld spiralizer. You spin the whole zucchini in the spiralizer, and a few seconds later you have beautiful noodle-shaped zucchini!
If you don’t own a spiralizer, you can use any vegetable peeler to make “ribbons” out of zucchini instead.
How To Make A Healthy Pasta
With just a quick glance at my blog, you know I am a huge fan of healthy pastas.
To make a pasta nutrient-dense and balanced meal, I try to make sure to have a source of protein, healthy fat, fibre, and lots of veggies. The benefits of this combination are outlined in the beginning of this post.
For healthy fat, this recipe uses both olive oil and avocado oil. The scallops provide the protein!
In this dish, you’re getting in fibre and greens from the zucchini noodles (“zoodles”). I love mixing zoodles with regular spaghetti to add bulk and nutrition to my pasta.
Scallop Nutrition Facts
These muscular shellfish are nutrition powerhouses!
For a standard 3 ounce or 84 gram serving (about 3 large scallops) you get almost 20 grams of complete protein.
Along with protein, you’re getting in plenty of :
- omega-3 fatty acids
- vitamin B12
- minerals like iron, zinc, copper, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
More Healthy Pasta Recipes
- Basil Walnut Pesto Linguine With Shrimp
- Mediterranean Canned Mackerel Pasta
- Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Cream Pasta
- Winter Pasta Salad With Roasted Vegetables
- Pasta With Vegan Cashew Cream Tomato Sauce
- Pasta With Veggies, Zoodles, Spinach, and Garlic Prawns
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Get the Recipe: Pan Seared Scallops and Zucchini Noodle Pasta
- Approx. 4 oz spaghetti (112 grams)
- 1 large or 2 small zucchini
- 6 large scallops, fresh or thawed
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- Approx. 1/4 cup fresh basil
- Approx. 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil (to sear scallops)
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, separated (plus more to serve, if desired)
- Salt + pepper to taste
- Juice from 1/2 to 1 lemon + freshly grated parmesan reggiano (to serve)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil (for spaghetti).
- While water boils, spiralize zucchini into noodles with a spiralizer. Chop parsley, chiffonade basil, and mince garlic. Set ingredients aside.
- Once water has boiled, add spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain and rinse in a colander once done.
- In a large pan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add minced garlic and saute for ~1-2 minutes, until browned. Add zucchini noodles and saute for 1 minute. Then, add drained pasta, additional Tbsp of olive oil, dried basil, and chopped parsley. Cook for about 2 minutes, mixing ingredients around. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
- In a separate pan, heat avocado oil over medium-high. Using a paper towel, pat scallops dry, then season with salt and pepper. Once the pan is hot, place scallops on the pan, leaving adequate space between each scallop. Cook for 2 minutes, then flip to the other side using tongs and cook for another 2 minutes. Scallops should be opaque and browned. Remove from heat.
- Serve spaghetti and zucchini noodle mixture into bowls, then top with scallops. Sprinkle fresh basil overtop, and serve with a squeeze of lemon, freshly grated parmesan reggiano, an extra drizzle of olive oil, and salt + pepper if desired. Enjoy immediately!
As a dietitian, I create recipes with whole food ingredients that provide the nutrients needed for optimal health. My nutrition philosophy does not focus on numbers; however, I understand that this information can be helpful.
Do note that the nutrition info provided is an estimate and I cannot guarantee correctness of the displayed values. These numbers will differ depending on brands used, recipe modifications, and amount eaten. If you require specific nutrition information due to medical reasons, please consult with your dietitian or physician.