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Pan-Seared Scallops with Lemon-Garlic Pasta

This simple pasta and scallops dish fits the bill if you want a quick, delicious meal.

You can easily add color, flavor, fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients with sautéed dark leafy greens, peppers, asparagus, arugula, broccoli rabe, onions, or other vegetables of your choice.

Just sautée them before you begin, and then either serve them on the side, or mix them into the cooked pasta.

Pan-Seared Scallops with Lemon and Garlic Pasta
Prep time 10 minutes; Cook time: 10 minutes.
Makes 4 servings (4-6 scallops + 1 cup pasta each)


1 large lemon, grated for zest (and freshly squeezed for 2 Tbsp lemon juice)
1 Tbsp garlic, minced or pressed (about 2–3 cloves)
2 Tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil, divided into two 1-Tbsp portions
16-24 (1 lb to 1.5 lbs) large Alaskan or Atlantic sea scallops
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp ground black pepper
8 oz vermicelli or angel hair pasta*
2 Tbsp shredded parmesan cheese

*You may want to use whole-grain wheat pasta, or pasta made with gluten-free ingredients.


  1. In a 4-quart saucepan, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. When the water boils, reduce heat to simmer until you’re ready to cook the pasta (step 5).
  2. While the water is heating up, use a grater to take off small peels of the skin of one lemon into a small saucepan. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the pan and remove pits. Use the back of a large spoon to press the inside of the lemon to extract more juice. Add the garlic and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the saucepan. Stir to blend well. Place on stovetop on low heat.
  3. Heat a large nonstick pan or grill pan on high temperature until very hot. Sprinkle the scallops with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss to coat well.
  4. Place the scallops in the hot pan. Cook about 4 minutes on each side, or until scallops are well browned and firm and milky white to the center (to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F).
  5. After turning the scallops to the second side, drop the pasta into the boiling water. Set temperature on medium, and cook for 2 minutes or the shortest recommended time according to package directions.
  6. When the pasta is done, set aside ½ cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta. Return drained pasta to the pot, and toss with the warm olive oil mixture and the ½ cup reserved pasta water.
  7. Divide the pasta equally among four plates (about 1 cup per plate). Top each with four scallops.
  8. Garnish each dish with ½ tablespoon of shredded parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Nutrition per serving:
376 calories, 43 grams carbohydrate, 28 grams protein, 9 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 48 mg cholesterol, 429 mg sodium, 2 grams fiber

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