Easy leftover scallop recipe ideas, from bacon-wrapped canapés to seafood pasta, and garlic lemon butter to fish cakes. Discover the best ways to reuse the world’s best seafood today.
Fresh scallops are daunting for home cooks due to their cost and propensity to overcook. But the truth is that once you master pan-frying or grilling scallops, they’re quick and easy to rustle up. But what do you do with the leftovers?
Save precious food and money by trying these genius ways to use your unused scallops. Whether it’s handcrafted homemade fish cakes, seafood linguine, or a slow-cooked curry, all of these leftover scallop recipes show that there’s plenty of mileage in the delicious seafood favorite. Let’s get cooking.
While traditional fish cakes often feature white fish or crab, sea scallops take them to a new level. As well as having a unique texture and mouthfeel that pairs beautifully with the breadcrumb coating of the fish cakes, it’s an inventive way to use up leftover scallops that look beaten up or shredded.
To make these fish cakes, coarsely chop scallops and mix with chopped onions, scallion, cilantro, and herbs and seasonings of your choice (sharp citrus such as lime works well in this batter). Shape the batter into round cakes, chill until set, and fry.
Try This Recipe: These incredible Thai-style fish cakes blend Asian makrut lime leaves with a peanut and chili dipping sauce.
Bacon-wrapped scallops make a perfect bite-sized appetizer or canapé and are a fantastic way to use leftover scallops if you don’t have enough to create a main course. Even better, the flavor profiles of the two ingredients match up beautifully. The saltiness of the bacon pairs perfectly with the brine of the sea scallops.
Beyond the ingredients of scallops and bacon, you’ll also need seasonings such as olive oil, salt, pepper, and parsley. Prepare the scallops by patting them dry and lightly pan-frying on each side. Then, wrap each piece with a slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Season the tops, then bake or broil.
Try This Recipe: These bacon-wrapped scallops show how adding bacon slices and a touch of maple syrup can turn the seafood into a delectable appetizer for all occasions.
If you don’t have enough scallops left over to make a main dish, toss them with pasta for a filling entrée. A good pasta sauce brings out the best of scallops’ mild, sweet flavor, even if you are working with limited qualities. You can also toss already-cooked scallops into a pasta sauce – just be careful not to overdo it when reheating them.
You can make your own variations on seafood pasta, but most recipes start with a long noodle, such as spaghetti or angel hair. Boil the pasta, then toss in a sauce made of pan-seared scallops, lemon, and herbs.
Try This Recipe: With oil and butter, this lemon garlic seafood linguini locks in the flavors of the ingredients, while the garlic and shallots make the scallops shine.
Nobody does seafood quite like the Cajuns do, which is why this twist on a traditional sandwich from New Orleans is a great way to use up leftover scallops. This hearty sandwich enhances delicate scallops without overwhelming them.
Traditional po’boy sandwiches consist of fried seafood on airy New Orleans French bread, dressed in melted butter and pickles (some versions add lettuce and tomato). You can deep-fry your scallops or sauté them for a healthier lunch.
Try This Recipe: With this easy twist on a New Orleans classic, lemon juice is paired with your favorite hot sauce to deliver a zesty flavor that’ll boost this incredible seafood sandwich.
For a twist on traditional flavor pairings with scallops, try adding a hint of the Mediterranean. Nestle the scallops in Mediterranean vegetables for an easy one-pot meal that will still feel fancy.
Besides scallops, you will need grape tomatoes, bell peppers, and seasonings such as olive oil, capers, garlic, and cumin. Sear the scallops in a pan while sautéing the vegetables in another pan. Once the scallops are almost done, finish cooking them in the pan with the vegetables for more flavor.
Try This Recipe: This easy dish infuses the flavors of the Mediterranean into one simple recipe. Sautée your leftover scallops over low heat with garlic, capers, and shallots for 20 minutes, giving you a classic light lunch or appetizer straight from the Greek coastline.
Seafood salad is a tasty way to use up any leftover scallops while getting in your daily serving of greens. This dish comes together quickly and the bright, fresh flavor of the vegetables and acidity of the dressing pair well with the mild scallops.
One of the best things about this salad is that you can adjust it to your preferences. Besides scallops, you need a bed of lettuce and vegetables of your choice, which can be potatoes, carrots, or whatever you have on hand. The dressing is also customizable, but an herby honey mustard dressing pairs well with scallops.
Try This Recipe: An easy scallop salad prepared with a balsamic, honey, and mustard dressing for the blend of flavors the seafood needs.
BBQ Spicy Skewers
If you’re sick of the same delicate, elevated preparations for scallops, this dish adds a bit of a kick. Add a punch to the normally mild flavor of scallops without overwhelming them thanks to this sweet, spicy BBQ sauce.
Besides scallops, you will need BBQ dry rub, or make your own with butter, oregano, chili powder, and other spices. Put the scallops on a skewer and marinate them in your spices. Then, grill the scallops, basting them with butter until opaque.
Try This Recipe: These grilled scallops are prepared in a honey and garlic marinade before flashed over high heat to provide a touch of char. This caramelizes the marinade’s sugars, giving you a deliciously sweet finish to your seafood.
Scallops with Mushrooms
One of the biggest decisions when preparing scallops is choosing a side dish. Luckily, this dish makes that choice for you. Earthy mushrooms pair well with mild scallops, and both sauté well.
Start this recipe with your choice of mushrooms (they can be canned or fresh). Sauté the mushrooms in melted butter, then add the scallops and seasonings such as salt, pepper, and cumin. To make this dish extra filling, serve it over rice.
Try This Recipe: Sauté scallops with mushrooms before serving with a spinach and nutmeg sauce. Add a little helping of bacon for salt and serve with steamed brown rice.
Garlic Lemon Butter
Scallops, lemon, and butter are a flavor pairing that always works well together. When you don’t know what to do with your scallops, you can always fall back on this tried-and-true recipe. Plus, it comes together quickly, perfect for a weeknight meal.
All you need to make the sauce for this dish is melted butter, lemon juice, minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Melt the butter and add the other sauce ingredients, stirring to combine. Sauté the scallops separately, then finish in the sauce for a delicate dish that comes together in minutes but still feels fancy.
Try This Recipe: These lemon butter scallops take under ten minutes to prepare but are loaded with flavor. The sauce provides a rich garlic and lemon tang to your leftover seafood and is topped with fresh parsley for visual appeal.
Toss scallops into a curry to eat this delicate seafood in a way that you’ve never had before. This fragrant, warmly spiced dish is a great way to switch up your scallop’s presentation and make the most of any leftovers, no matter the amount.
Scallop curry is endlessly versatile, but besides scallops you will need coconut milk and spices such as curry paste and chili powder. Toast the spices and cook the scallops in the curry sauce by combining tomato, coconut milk, and broth. Serve over rice or with naan.
Try This Recipe: Traditionally made with white fish, this Indonesian curry can be easy tweaked to use scallops instead. With a coconut and turmeric base, it blends in lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves for an incredibly well-rounded dish that only takes half an hour to make.