Quick Pan-Seared Scallops With Vinegar & Shallots
These quick + easy pan-seared scallops are cooked on the stovetop in just 5 minutes! They’re paired with the light, fresh, and unique flavours of white wine vinegar, lemon, shallots, and parsley – inspired by a recent trip to Spain. You may use either fresh or frozen scallops for this recipe.
Friends – today I have another recipe inspired from our Barcelona trip. We’re making seared scallops, but instead of the traditional garlic-butter-white wine pairing, they’re made with white vinegar, lemon, shallots, and parsley!
This is such a LIGHT and FRESH take on pan-seared scallops, thanks to the delicious scallops we ate at Lluritu (where I highly recommend dining at if you’re visiting Barcelona). Instead of butter, these scallops are cooked in avocado oil – an awesome, heart-healthy option for high-heat cooking.
As a dietitian, I absolutely love scallops as a protein source. They feel fancy, but are actually incredibly quick and easy to cook. Plus, they’re a true nutrition powerhouse, packed with protein, omega-3s, and so many micronutrients.
How long does it take to sear scallops?
Searing scallops on the stovetop takes under 5 minutes, depending on the size of your scallops. You’ll want to sear them about 2 minutes, undisturbed, per side.
You will know when your scallops are done when they become opaque, and each side is nicely browned.
Why use avocado oil to sear scallops?
I love using avocado oil to sear scallops because we want to cook them at a high heat! Avocado oil is not only a nutritious, heart-healthy oil, but it’s got a very high smoke point (unlike butter or olive oil). The scallops will brown beautifully and you won’t get any smokiness while cooking.
Avocado oil also has a very neutral flavour, so it won’t impact the taste of the other seasonings.
Can I use frozen scallops?
You bet! You can use fresh or frozen scallops for this recipe.
Be sure to thaw your frozen scallops completely before cooking them. To do so, you can place them in the refrigerator the night before.
If you need to thaw them quicker (within an hour), you can submerge them (in their sealed bag) in a large bowl of cold water. Make sure that they’re completely covered by placing something heavy overtop (I use another large bowl, filled with cold water).
Visual guide: step-by-step
STEP 1: make sure to thaw scallops (if frozen) and thoroughly pat them dry with a paper towel.
STEP 2: heat avocado oil in a pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is nice and hot, add the scallops, spacing them out evenly. Cook for about 2 minutes, undisturbed. You may have to work in batches, as needed.
STEP 3: flip each scallop and cook for another 2 minutes on the other side. When done, they will become opaque and each side will be nicely browned.
STEP 4: turn off the heat and return all scallops to the pan (if cooking in batches). Quickly toss in white wine vinegar and lemon juice.
STEP 5: Serve shallots in a bowl and pour all of the vinegar sauce overtop. Sprinkle with diced shallots and chopped parsley. Enjoy hot!
Full ingredient measurements and detailed instructions are located in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post!
What to serve with seared scallops
Since this simple scallop recipe is an excellent source of protein, I recommend serving it with a starch and some non-starchy veggies to make a complete meal. The vinegar flavour profile is perfect all year long – pair it with cozy winter meals, or lighter summer ones!
For a starch, why not try:
- cooked grains, like quinoa, farro, or rice – you can pour the extra sauce overtop!
- a simple spaghetti with olive oil, garlic, and lemon – or something like orzo or couscous
- roasted sweet potatoes or japanese sweet potatoes
- roasted white potatoes, or mashed potatoes
For non-starchy veggies:
Nutrition benefits of scallops
Scallops are a true nutrition powerhouse.
For a standard 3 ounce or 85 gram serving of scallops, you’ll get almost 20 grams of complete, quality protein and 333 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.
That same 3-ounce serving is rich in many micronutrients like:
- selenium (33% of your recommended daily value)
- phosphorus (27% DV)
- vitamin B12 (18% DV)
- zinc (18% DV)
- iron (15% DV)
- copper (12% DV)
- potassium (12% DV)
- magnesium (12% DV)
- calcium (9% DV)
Enjoy this recipe? You will love my 118-page eCookbook of 50 easy, delicious, and nutritious seafood dinner recipes. Get instant access from your phone, tablet, or computer – ad-free!
More quick + easy seafood recipes
- Almond Crusted Salmon
- Smoked Paprika Shrimp With Honey
- Baked Chili Salmon
- Turmeric Shrimp With Cumin
- Baked Herb Crusted Cod
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Get the Recipe: Quick, Pan-Seared Scallops With Vinegar & Shallots
- FOR FROZEN SCALLOPS: Please thaw before making this recipe. Place scallops in the refrigerator overnight. To thaw in 1 hour, place scallops in their sealed bag in a bowl of cold water, submerging completely.
- DRY SCALLOPS: Pat scallops dry with a paper towel. Set them aside on a clean plate.
- MIX SAUCE: In a small bowl, stir white wine vinegar and lemon juice together. Set aside (near your stove).
- COOK SCALLOPS: Heat avocado oil on a large pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is nice and hot (it should sizzle when you add the scallops), place scallops in the pan, spacing them out evenly. Cook for about 2 minutes, undisturbed. Using tongs, flip each scallop and cook for another 2 minutes on the other side. When done, they will become opaque and each side will be nicely browned.**Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to work in batches, setting aside cooked scallops on a clean plate. Add more avocado oil between batches, if needed.
- GARNISH: Immediately transfer the scallops to a bowl (you don't want to overcook them!) Pour all of the vinegar sauce overtop. Generously season with salt and pepper, and top with diced shallots and chopped parsley. Enjoy hot!
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.