Garlic Butter Scallops with Pesto Cherry Tomatoes & Spinach

Garlic Butter Scallops with Pesto Cherry Tomatoes & Spinach

Pesto-drizzled burst cherry tomatoes and sauteed spinach, with sweet, succulent scallops, all finished in herby lemon garlic vegan butter. Perfect as a main course for lunch or dinner or as an appetizer to share. Wonderfully simple with beautifully balanced flavors.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Seafood
Servings 2


  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1 tbsp vegan pesto
  • salt & pepper
  • 3/4 lb scallops
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley


  • Make sure the scallops are trimmed . Pat them dry and season both sides generously with salt & pepper. Set aside.
  • Heat 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying or sauté pan over medium-high heat, then add 1 clove garlic, stirring into the oil, careful not to burn.
  • Add the cherry tomatoes in a single row and let cook for about 10 minutes, until the juices are seeping out and the tomatoes have burst.
  • Add the spinach to the pan and continue cooking until spinach has wilted, about 8 more minutes.
  • Add 1 tbsp vegan pesto to the mixture and toss to combine. Using a slotted spoon, remove tomato/spinach mixture and divide between 2 plates. Set aside.
  • Rinse pan lightly in the sink and return to stove, raising the heat to high. Let the pan get very hot before moving on. You can test if it's hot enough by splashing a little water on the dry pan. If the water sizzles, you're ready for the next step.
  • Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and place the seasoned scallops in a single row. Lower heat to medium-high.
  • Using tongs to flip, cook scallops on each side 4-8 minutes, depending on size (see notes), until golden brown. Divide between the plates with your tomato/spinach mixture.
  • Using the same pan, lower the heat to medium, and melt your butter, stirring constantly to scrape up the brown bits left behind by the scallops.
  • Once butter has melted, add in remaining 2 cloves minced garlic and let cook for about a minute, allowing to brown lightly but not burn.
  • Add in lemon juice and chopped parsley.
  • Drizzle butter sauce over scallops and spinach/tomato mixture.


Cooking time will vary based on the size of your scallops — I usually use large king scallops, which take about 8 minutes per side. Smaller ones will cook faster, just keep an eye on them. You are looking for golden browning, as in the picutre above.
Keyword scallops, seafood, seagan
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