Beautifully pan seared Italian scallops with all the flavors of Tuscany in a dairy-free cream sauce ready in 25 minutes! The sauce with garlic mushrooms, sweet sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh spinach are the perfect foil for this shellfish.
Why this creamy Italian scallops recipe is so great
This Italian-inspired creamy sauce is bursting with flavor from sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, greens, and garlic and is a delectable coating for bay or sea scallops. But first, raise your hand if you like a good cream sauce but feel a little guilty or bloated after indulging in it? Now you can enjoy your rich cream sauce without the dairy and it is much healthier and lower in fat than traditional cream-based sauces!
What ingredients go into this recipe
- SCALLOPS: Jumbo sea scallops – fresh or frozen (thaw first completely)
- SAUCE FOR SCALLOPS: vegetable broth, plain unsweetened cashew milk or canned coconut milk, white wine, dairy-free sour cream, and corn starch
- ITALIAN FLAVORS: mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, fresh spinach and basil leaves
How to pan sear scallops
Use fresh or frozen scallops and pan sear them. If using frozen, make sure they are completely thawed first. Pat dry thawed sea scallops with a paper towel to remove any extra liquid – this step is very important for a nice crisp exterior. In a skillet or cast iron pan skillet let it heat first for about 2 minutes then add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and jumbo sea scallops and cook on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the scallops from the pan and set them aside while you make the sauce.
How to make Tuscan scallops
STEP 1: Sear the scallops per instructions in the recipe card. You can use frozen or fresh scallops for the recipe, just make sure they are fully thawed before cooking and patted dry with a towel to remove all extra liquid.
STEP 2: In the same pan, cook the mushrooms over medium heat, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until browned. Then add the garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Stir in the broth, cashew milk or canned coconut milk, wine, salt and pepper.
STEP 3: In a small bowl, stir together the dairy-free sour cream and cornstarch, then whisk into the skillet. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and basil and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and the spinach wilts.
The sauce gets thicker as it heats. So, if you make this in advance and heat it later the sauce will be very thick as the liquid has evaporated slightly. You can always add more dairy-free sour cream and broth to thin it down if needed.
What to serve with this recipe
We like to eat light dinners that are well-rounded and this Tuscan scallop seafood recipe has protein, vegetables, fat and is a a complete balanced meal in one! To expand on it, serve creamy Italian scallops as a side dish with a fresh salad like this chopped kale salad, or topped over pasta noodles, zucchini noodles, sweet potato noodles, or baked spaghetti squash noodles.
Faqs and expert tips
Sea scallops are nice a large and wonderful for searing in pan sauces. They are the common ones used in most restaurants as well. Bay scallops are bite-sized and smaller and best used in casseroles, pilafs, and quiches.
If you want to thicken the creamy Tuscan sauce just let it simmer longer before adding the scallops back into the frying pan. You can also add a dash more cornstarch and mix that in.
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Creamy Italian Scallops In A Dairy-Free Cream Sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound jumbo sea scallops
- 8 ounces mushrooms sliced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ½ cup cashew milk unsweetened and original flavor or canned coconut milk
- ⅓ cup white wine
- ½ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup dairy-free sour cream (optional to use dairy-free sour cream)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch (or arrowroot starch for grain-free)
- 1 cup sun dried tomatoes in olive oil drained and chopped
- 2-3 cups baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons basil fresh, chopped
- 1 lemon
- Pat dry fresh or thawed sea scallops with a paper towel to remove any extra liquid- this step is key to getting a nice crisp exterior. In a skillet or cast iron pan skillet let it heat for 2 minutes on medium-high heat to warm. Add the olive oil and jumbo sea scallops and cook on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the scallops from the pan and set them aside while you make the sauce.
Creamy Italian Sauce For Scallops
- In the same pan, cook the mushrooms over medium heat, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until browned. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Stir in the broth, cashew milk or canned coconut milk, wine, salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, stir together the dairy-free sour cream and cornstarch. Whisk into the skillet. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and basil and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and the spinach wilts.
- Turn the heat to low, add the scallops and serve with a squeeze of juice from the lemon! Serve right away with a side salad or over your favorite pasta noodles or vegetable noodles.
This post has been updated.