Scallops With Spicy Quinoa, Kale, and Pistachios Recipe

Scallops With Spicy Quinoa, Kale, and Pistachios Recipe

With the right cooking technique, scallops become an easy, delicious weeknight meal. [Photographs: Yasmin Fahr]

Seared scallops top spicy quinoa that's mixed with ribbons of kale and crunchy pistachios for a quick and easy weeknight meal.

Why this recipe works:

  • This foolproof method ensures perfectly cooked scallops every time.
  • Harissa is cooked with the shallots to create a spice-filled base for the dish.
  • Pistachios add a crunchy texture and great, nutty flavor.

Note: Lacinato kale is also sold as Tuscan kale, dinosaur kale, and cavolo nero. For best results, look for "dry packed" scallops that have not been soaked in a preservative brine; they're considerably more delicious, and because they aren't bloated with watery brine, they will brown more beautifully in the pan. If you like you scallops less cooked (or if they are thin), you can remove them from the heat sooner after turning them.

  • Yield:Serves 4
  • Active time: 20 minutes
  • Total time:20 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tablespoon harissa
  • 1 cup pre-washed or rinsed quinoa
  • 1 cups homemade chicken stock or store-bought, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups packed lacinato kale (see note), stalks removed and leaves cut into 1-inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon
  • 12 large sea scallops (about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds; see note)
  • 1/2 cup toasted and shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped


  1. 1.

    Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add shallot and cumin, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in harissa, then add quinoa and cook for 1 minute.

  2. 2.

    Add broth, season with salt, and bring to a boil. Boil for 9 minutes. Lower heat to medium, stir in kale, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add lemon juice and transfer to a serving bowl.

  3. 3.

    Wipe out the same skillet. Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat until lightly smoking. Season scallops with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Cook until browned on bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip scallops and cook until just cooked on bottom side, about 1 minutes longer. Arrange scallops on top of quinoa, garnish with pistachios and cilantro, and serve immediately.