Side Dishes

What to Serve with Scallops (26 Best Side Dishes)

Elegant sides to go with your favorite scallop recipe.

Claire Onidi By
Claire Onidi
Passionate about food and pastries since always, Claire spends most of her time in the kitchen to develop new recipes. She is French but lived many years abroad.
Learn more about me
Updated January 21, 2023

Figuring out what to serve with scallops can be tricky. This delicate seafood is a favorite for date nights and special dinners, so it needs an equally elegant side dish!

what to serve with scallops

Scallops are part of the mollusk family of seafood, along with clams and mussels. Their flavor profile is tender, mild, and slightly sweet.

Preparing scallops at home can be intimidating because they’re expensive and easy to overcook. The trick is to use a hot pan and cook the scallops just long enough to give them a golden brown sear.

Due to their mildness, pan seared scallops tend to go well with bright, bold flavors. A nice tangy side dish highlights their delicate flavor and rounds out the meal.

Creamy lemon pasta or an elegant green salad are classic sides that will elevate any scallop entree – whether sea scallops or bay scallops. But if you’re looking for something new and interesting, I’ve also included some unique sides like beans and gazpacho.

Cooking scallops doesn’t have to be reserved for upscale seafood restaurants. Prepare your very own restaurant-worthy dish at home with one of these tasty side dishes.

what to serve with scallops recipe

01. Pesto Pasta

Pesto pasta is cheap and easy, but tastes expensive!

Fresh basil, sharp parmesan cheese, and olive oil give this pasta a sweet and savory flavor. This recipe blends cream with the pesto sauce to mellow out the sharpness just a touch.

The result is a creamy, bright pasta that can easily be served alongside any seafood. It’s delicious all on its own, or add fresh vegetables or roasted broccoli for more sustenance.

02. Risotto

This garlicky risotto is worth the effort!

Rich, smooth and creamy is the perfect way to describe this elegant risotto. Garlic and vegetable stock add flavor, while dry white wine gives it a touch of acidity to brighten the flavors.

Arborio rice is the best option for risotto because the high starch content helps make it creamy. Make sure you toast the rice first to infuse it with flavor.

03. Wilted Spinach

One of the healthiest vegetables, and the easiest to cook!

Spinach is excellent at absorbing flavors, so it can stand on its own as a side. Garlic infused butter adds salt and richness and a touch of red chili flakes adds some spice.

It’s best to cook the spinach over low heat, so the leaves don’t burn or crisp up. That way you’ll get tender, buttery spinach without any bitterness!

04. Steak

You can’t go wrong with classic surf and turf.

This pan seared steak takes just 20 minutes, and no need to use the oven! An aromatic rosemary butter sauce crisps up the edges, adding the perfect amount of fat to complement the red meat.

This dish goes great with cooked scallops and buttery potatoes. Together, it’s a meal fit for special events or holidays.

05. Parmesan Broccoli

Add some umami to your dish with this cheesy broccoli.

Garlic powder and shredded parmesan give this broccoli a sharp flavor that contrasts perfectly with mild scallops. A sprinkle of bread crumbs helps add crunch and texture to the dish as it bakes.

This recipe is so versatile that you can use it for other green veggies like asparagus and brussel sprouts.

06. Mashed Potatoes

These creamy mashed potatoes will complete just about any meal.

I like to use Yukon Gold potatoes for my mashed potatoes because of their dense, creamy texture. Cook them until fork tender and mash with a medley of roasted garlic, butter, salt, and parsley for color!

You can use margarine, but real butter will give you that mouthwatering richness. If you want fluffier potatoes, try whipping them with a hand mixer.

07. Savory Chicken Rice Pilaf

This filling rice pilaf is perfect for feeding a family.

Tender chicken thighs, carrots, and onion infuse this dish with savoriness. The ingredients of this dish are simple, but the way you cook them is everything.

Most of the flavor is added by cooking the rice in chicken broth. The broth seasons all the ingredients at once, making this one-pot meal a time saver too!

08. Succotash

This earthy dish is full of textures and tanginess.

Lima beans and corn are staples of this traditional Native American dish. Chopped bacon gives this dish saltiness and a meaty element to entice picky eaters!

Simple seasonings like butter, dill, and parsley allow the vegetables and grains to shine. Use frozen beans and corn to cut your cooking and prep time in half!

09. Mango Avocado Salsa

A sweet, tangy side that goes with almost any meat!

This bright salsa is made with sweet mango, mild avocado, and tangy tomato. A simple lime juice dressing accentuates all the subtle flavors and completes the dish!

Tangy sides like this are perfect for both rich and mild types of meat. Serve alongside butter seared scallops for a fresh, healthy dinner.

10. Cauliflower Soup

A dairy-free soup that’s full of comforting flavor.

It’s always best to roast your cauliflower because it brings out that delicious umami flavor. I like to add a few bulbs of garlic and a drizzle of olive oil for even more depth.

Instead of cream, add avocado to your soup before blending. It’ll add healthy fats, and still give you that smooth silky texture!

11. Warm Tuscan Beans

Protein-rich and so simple to make too!

White wine and chicken broth transform rustic white beans into something special. Baby spinach soaks up the aromatic garlic and basil and provides a burst of flavor in every bite.

This salad tastes even better if the ingredients have a night in the refrigerator to marinate. This will help soften up the beans even more as well.

12. Brussel Sprouts with Creamy Lemon Sauce Pasta

A rich smoky pasta to compliment seared scallops.

This carbonara-inspired dish is filled with smoky flavors from bacon and roasted brussel sprouts. The lemon butter sauce adds even more richness, with a hint of acidity for balance.

This recipe uses spaghetti, but you could swap it for penne to add more bite. If you need an elegant dish that will impress, this pasta is surely it.

13. Roasted Butternut Squash

Give warmth and depth to your meal with this fall favorite.

The sweetness of butternut squash is the perfect companion for subtly sweet seafood. Since the squash is already so rich, all you need to do is add salt and thyme and roast it.

The heat from the oven brings out the sugars in the squash and helps caramelize the edges. It’s an easy way to infuse fall flavor and earthiness into any meal.

14. Lemon Caper Pasta

This light and tangy pasta is perfect for summer meals.

Capers add a pop of acidity and salt to this simple but fresh pasta. Caper brine, white wine, and butter keep the sauce balanced with just the right amount of fat and flavor.

You can make this dish in one pot to keep things easy. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese, or just lemon juice if you want to retain that freshness.

15. Yellow Tomato Gazpacho

Add a Spanish twist to your seafood meal with this popular chilled soup!

Although gazpacho is usually made with red tomatoes, this recipe changes things up with yellow heirloom tomatoes. Simple ingredients like cucumber, peppers, and onion allow the fresh tomatoes to shine.

This is a great dish to make on those unbearably hot summer days. Just add the ingredients to the blender, chill, and serve!

16. Grilled Vegetables

Barbecue season means it’s time to make these mouthwatering grilled vegetables.

Marinating your grilled vegetables is a must so they become infused with flavor. I like to use a balsamic vinaigrette because it cuts through the bitterness and caramelizes the vegetables.

Give your vegetable five minutes on each side, and don’t be afraid of a little char. The black parts are filled with smokiness and give the vegetables a lovely crispy texture.

17. Pomegranate Salad

Put this underrated fruit to use!

Pomegranates are an iconic fruit from the Mediterranean, known for their juicy pink seeds. They add the perfect pop of sweetness and tart acidity to any simple green salad.

The lemon zest dressing of this salad perfectly complements the slightly spicy arugula greens. Just add a crack of black pepper and you have an understated and elegant side dish.

18. Crusty Bread

The tastiest bread ever, and no kneading necessary!

This yeast leavened dough needs to rise for 2-3 hours to get those beautiful bubbles in the bread. Steam helps create a perfectly crispy crust while keeping the inside moist.

This bread is a great companion for soups and stews or a saucy scallop dish. This bread freezes well, and tastes just as fresh as the day it’s made when reheated!

19. Green Beans with Garlicky Pistachio Vinaigrette

Never have boring green beans again!

Green beans have a bad reputation as chewy and maybe a bit boring. The trick is to blanch them before cooking so they become tender, but stay bright green!

The salty, tangy pistachio vinaigrette infuses the green beans with richness. These green beans taste best when cold, so let them marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours before serving.

21. Browned Butter Polenta

This cheesy polenta comes together in just minutes.

Browned butter gives this polenta richness and warmth–everything you want in a comfort food. The deep flavors from the chopped sage evoke a cozy autumn feel.

Parmesan cheese adds sharpness and a gooey texture that makes this dish so mouthwatering. Top with seared sweet scallops and you have a deceptively easy date night dinner.

21. Parmesan Tomato Bisque

This tangy soup is a perfect complement to fried dishes.

If you can, use fresh Roma tomatoes as they tend to have the most flavor. A medley of onion, garlic, oregano, and basil helps give this soup its classic Italian flair.

Top with crispy homemade croutons for a rustic touch. This hearty soup is filling enough to serve on its own, or with other delicious sides from this list.

22. Fettuccine Alfredo

Everyone’s favorite comfort food, made easy!

This creamy alfredo sauce includes egg yolks for added richness. Minced garlic and parmesan give the sauce a classic savory flavor.

Garnish your alfredo with a handful of minced parsley for color. Then top with your favorite chicken, seafood, or grilled vegetable recipe!

23. Lentil Salad

Trying to stay healthy going into winter? This lean lentil salad is full of antioxidants!

This Moroccan-inspired salad is seasoned with warm spices like cumin, cinnamon, and paprika. The cinnamon helps bring out the natural sweetness of the carrots and raisins.

Pumpkin seeds give this dish a nuttiness and crunch that’s irresistible. Serve this hearty salad warm or cold, for dinner or lunch!

24. Summer Squash Salad

This salad proves you don’t need a lot of ingredients for a dish to taste great!

Steamed summer squash and zucchini keep this dish low-carb and fresh. The vegetables still have a lovely crisp exterior, but the flesh is nice and tender.

A bit of salt and stevia powder brings out the natural sweetness of the squash. Fresh cherry tomatoes give this dish acidity and make every bite juicy and fresh!

25. Chorizo and Corn

A simple skillet meal, inspired by Southwest flavors.

Sweet corn and spicy chorizo balance each other perfectly in this dish of dualities. The char from the skillet infuses both with plenty of smokiness.

This mixture would make an excellent filling breakfast with eggs and toast. For a light dinner, add this chorizo and corn to a warm pasta salad.

26. Couscous

A fresh, herby dish that’s perfect for backyard barbecues.

Lemon juice and fresh herbs like thyme and parsley give this dish its bright zestiness. This recipe uses pearl couscous, which is bigger than Moroccan couscous and tends to absorb more flavor.

This is a great time-saving dish since the couscous only takes 20 minutes. Add in your favorite grilled or fresh vegetables for even more nutrients.

What to Serve with Scallops (26 Best Side Dishes)

Directions


  1. Choose your favorite scallop side dish from this collection.

  2. Go shopping for your ingredients.

  3. Whip up a flavorful side and sear your fresh scallops.

  4. Serve up an elegant but easy meal!

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