Pan Seared Scallops & Veggies

Pan Seared Scallops in Bacon Fat with Sauteed Veggies

How to Pan Sear Scallops in Bacon Fat for a 15 Minute Dinner

Pan seared scallops make for a fancy meal that you can whip up in 15 minutes or less! Savory, satisfying, and quick—you’ll even have time to cook a veggie saute to serve on the side. I’ll show you how to pan sear scallops in bacon fat (or any cooking fat you like), plus a simple side of sauteed squash, mushrooms, and spinach.

Scallops can seem intimidating if you’ve never cooked them before, but they are seriously one of the easiest proteins to cook. They literally only need 1-2 minutes on each side for a perfect sear, and they’ve got 4-5g of protein per ounce! I personally love Butcher Box’s frozen scallops because they’re wild-caught, I can keep them stored in my freezer, and they always thaw nicely.

Sometimes I’ll cook pan seared scallops in ghee or butter, and they always turn out delicious. But this time I’m showing you how to pan sear scallops in BACON fat for some added salty, umami flavor! Bacon wrapped scallops are a classic for a reason, and this method lets me enjoy the flavor pairing without dealing with the wrapping process.

Of course, if you’re not a fan of bacon or you’re pescatarian, just omit it! But if you’re open to it, the bacon pairs beautifully with the scallops and the veggies. The trio of butternut squash, mushrooms, and spinach is a perfectly hearty, comforting side dish to pair with the light scallops—but use any veggies you like!

Perfect Pan Seared Scallops

Perfect Seared Scallops Meal

Veggie Saute

2 slices bacon, cooked & chopped (optional)
¼ cup onion, diced
¾ cup sliced mushrooms
¾ cup butternut squash, small cubes
4 cups spinach
coconut aminos, to taste
black pepper, to taste
(no salt needed if including bacon)

Bacon Fat Scallops

4oz Butcher Box frozen scallops, thawed*
1-2 Tbsp bacon fat (or butter, ghee, oil)
pepper, to taste (salt is optional)

For Serving

½ lemon, juice & zest
fresh parsley
sesame seeds

*Note on Frozen Scallops

If using frozen scallops, be sure to transfer them to the fridge to thaw about 24 hours before you plan to cook them. Then, when you’re ready to cook, remove the thawed scallops from their packaging and place onto paper towels to dry. It helps to pat them dry and let them sit out at room temperature for a few minutes—this will help you get a better sear!

Butcher Box frozen scallops
Thaw frozen scallops in fridge for 24 hours, then rest on paper towels 5-10 minutes before cooking

Cook Bacon & Saute Veggies

First and foremost, if we’re going to cook our pan seared scallops in bacon fat, we need to cook the bacon! For this meal, I cooked 2 strips which I then chopped/crumbled, but you can cook just one, or none—whatever suits you. When the bacon is crisped to your liking, transfer onto paper towels to let some of the fat drain before chopping or crumbling.

Most importantly, for those who want to sear scallops in bacon fat, you’ve got to reserve some of the bacon fat that’s left in your pan after cooking. I just pour about half of it into a bowl to use for my scallops, and I keep the other half in the same pan to use for my veggie saute next.

I heat that same pan with the bacon fat, saute some chopped onion for a minute or two, and then add in cubed butternut squash. Chop into small cubes so they’ll cook faster! I also add in some sliced mushrooms and cover the pan to create some steam to help them soften and reduce. Then, after 7-8 minutes, add a generous heap of spinach and allow to wilt for about a minute.

Finally, season to taste! No salt is needed if you’re using bacon fat, so I just add a bit of coconut aminos and black pepper. Stir to integrate, then set your veggie saute aside (or in the microwave to keep it warm) while you cook the scallops. They’ll only take around 3 minutes!

Cook bacon and reserve some of bacon fat to cook pan seared scallops
Cook bacon and reserve half of bacon fat to cook pan seared scallops after veggies.
With remaining bacon fat in pan, saute onion, mushrooms and butternut squash until tender.
With remaining bacon fat in pan, saute onion, mushrooms and butternut squash until tender.
After 7-8 minutes, add spinach and cover to wilt for about 1 minute.
After 7-8 minutes, add spinach and cover to wilt for about 1 minute.
Season to taste with black pepper and coconut aminos, stirring in chopped bacon at the end.
Season to taste with black pepper and coconut aminos, stirring in chopped bacon at the end.

How to Pan Sear Scallops in Bacon Fat

You can wipe out the same pan that you used for the veggies, then  add the reserved bacon fat (or cooking fat of choice) for your pan seared scallops. Heat the pan over medium-high to high heat, until it’s really hot and the bacon fat is almost smoking.That’s when you should add your scallops to the pan, and just let them sit still for 1-2 minutes so they can get a good sear!

Season to taste while they cook—I just used pepper, no salt needed because of the bacon fat. After about 90 seconds, I flip my pan seared scallops to reveal a browned, crisp edge and let them cook for another 1-2 minutes on the other side. After that, they’re done! Finish with lemon juice and zest, some fresh herbs and sesame seeds if you like, and serve alongside your veggie saute.

How to pan sear scallops in bacon fat, seasoning to taste.
Add scallops to hot pan with bacon fat and season to taste with black pepper. (Add salt if not cooking in bacon fat.)
After about 90 seconds, flip scallops and cook another 90 seconds on other side. Finish with lemon zest, juice, and fresh herbs.
After about 90 seconds, flip scallops and cook another 90 seconds on other side. Finish with lemon zest, juice, and fresh herbs.

15 MINUTE Meals – Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas!

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Perfect Pan Seared Scallops & Veggie Saute

Pan Seared Scallops & Veggie Saute

How to pan sear scallops in bacon fat, served with sauteed butternut squash, mushrooms, and spinach.

  • Author: Alyssia Sheikh
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 serving 1x
Scale

Ingredients

Veggie Saute

2 slices bacon, cooked & chopped (optional)
¼ cup onion, diced
¾ cup sliced mushrooms
¾ cup butternut squash, small cubes
4 cups spinach
coconut aminos, to taste
black pepper, to taste
(no salt needed if including bacon)

Bacon Fat Scallops

4oz Butcher Box frozen scallops, thawed*
1-2 Tbsp bacon fat (or butter, ghee, oil)**
pepper, to taste (salt is optional)

For Serving

½ lemon, juice & zest
fresh parsley
sesame seeds

Instructions

To Cook Veggie Saute:

  • Cook bacon as desired. Remove bacon from pan and rest on paper towels. Reserve some of the bacon fat for cooking the scallops, and leave the rest of the fat in the pan for the veggies.
  • Add onion to heated pan and saute 1-2 minutes over medium-high heat. Add butternut squash cubes and mushrooms. Cover and cook over medium heat for 7-8 minutes, until reduced and softened to your liking, stirring occasionally.
  • While veggies cook, chop bacon.
  • Add spinach and cover for about 1 minute, until wilted. Stir in a dash of pepper and a splash of coconut aminos, if desired. (There’s no salt needed when cooking with bacon, so season to taste.)
  • Remove veggie saute from heat, stir in chopped bacon, and set aside.
  • Wipe out pan and cook scallops with reserved bacon fat.

To Cook Scallops:

  • *If using frozen scallops, transfer to the fridge to thaw 24 hours before cooking.
  • When ready to cook, remove thawed scallops from package and pat dry with a paper towel. Rest 5-10 minutes on paper towels at room temperature. (Make sure they are very dry for a nice sear!)
  • Heat reserved bacon fat (or butter, ghee, oil) in a pan over medium-high to high heat for 1-2 minutes, until it’s hot and almost smoking.
  • Add scallops and season to taste with pepper. (Salt is optional if using bacon fat.) Don’t move them on the pan! Cook 1-2 minutes and then flip once browned. (If pan is getting too hot or smoky during cooking, turn heat down slightly.)
  • Season again after flipping, cooking for another 1-2 minutes on the other side.
  • Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice, some lemon zest, and a sprinkle of fresh parsley. Transfer to a plate with veggie saute, garnish with sesame seeds, and enjoy!

Notes

**If you’d rather omit the bacon or don’t want to cook in the bacon fat, you can make perfect pan seared scallops in whichever cooking fat you prefer: ghee, butter, or a high smoke point oil.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4oz scallops + veggies
  • Calories: 339
  • Sugar: 9g
  • Fat: 15g
  • Carbohydrates: 28g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 25g