Quinoa Pilaf with Seared Scallops

Quinoa Pilaf with Seared Scallops

9 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2014

Make whole grains the center of your dinner plate with this citrus-studded quinoa pilaf recipe topped with sweet seared sea scallops. Be sure to buy “dry” sea scallops (scallops that have not been treated with sodium tripolyphosphate, or STP). Scallops treated with STP (“wet” scallops) are higher in sodium, have a mushy texture and do not brown properly.

Ingredients 4 servings

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  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 scallions, sliced, greens and whites separated
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 medium blood oranges or navel oranges
  • ¼ cup toasted sliced almonds (see Tip), divided
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound dry sea scallops


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  • Ready In

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add scallion whites; cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add quinoa; cook, stirring until toasted and fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, slice ends off oranges. With a sharp knife, remove the peel and white pith; discard. Working over a large bowl, cut the orange segments from their surrounding membranes. Squeeze juice from the membranes into the bowl before discarding them, if desired. Add the scallion greens, almonds, cilantro, ½ teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon coriander and salt to the bowl; gently stir to combine.
  3. Pat scallops dry and sprinkle both sides with the remaining ½ teaspoon cumin and ¼ teaspoon coriander. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallops and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. (To prevent overcooking, transfer the scallops to a plate as soon as they are done.)
  4. Add the quinoa to the bowl with the orange mixture and gently stir to combine. Serve the scallops over the warm quinoa salad.
  • Tip: For the best flavor, toast chopped nuts or seeds: Heat a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add nuts or seeds and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: about 3 scallops & ¾ cup salad
  • Per serving: 368 calories; 13 g fat(2 g sat); 6 g fiber; 41 g carbohydrates; 22 g protein; 126 mcg folate; 27 mg cholesterol; 9 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 338 IU vitamin A; 37 mg vitamin C; 84 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 597 mg sodium; 669 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (62% daily value), Folate (32% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 2 starch, ½ fruit, 2 lean meat, 2 fat

Reviews 9

January 12, 2018
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By: Vllygirl
I did add more seasonings, primarily black pepper & fines herbes, but the biggest issue was the quinoa. I used a tri-color quinoa that needed closer to 2 c of water rather than 1 c. If I do this again...and it’s going to be a big if, I will cook the quinoa in a vegetable broth to add flavor.
June 16, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
It was very bland I love quinoa and scallops but this recipe just didn't do it for me. It was very bland and even adding more spices and sea salt did not make it any better. I think it might have been the oranges that gave it a weird taste. Maybe lemon would've been better? Pros: healthy Cons: oranges made it taste weird
January 11, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Ingredients didn't work well together The dish at first glance (quinoa and scallops) looked good and I was excited to make it, but I found that the end result was not what we were expecting. Bland, yet strange flavors - cumin, blended with citrus notes, blended with scallops and a whole lot of other strange pairings made the dish odd and not something I would make again without significant modifications. I really wanted to like it, especially when spending a good amount of money on the scallops and quinoa. Pros: Healthy, clean eating, quality ingredients Cons: Combination of ingredients did not pair well
April 16, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Healthy and simple Make sure to rinse the quinoa first to get rid of the bitter taste, strain well. I added 2 cups of water instead of the suggested one and cut back on the orange juice. I added small chunks of orange without the casing for punch. Really delicious healthy dairy and gluten free recipe. Pros: healthy, quick, cheap, delicious Cons: needed to correct the water to quinoa ratio
March 12, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Great Quinoa Pilaf I made this and thought the flavors were great. I only had 1 orange, but still liked it. I did add more water as needed b/c my water disappeared before the quinoa popped. In the end it was probably about 2 cups of water plus the juice and it still was light, fluffy, and towards the drier side but not crunchy. Add some broccoli into pilaf and served with sauteed tilapia instead of scallops. Pros: Healthy Cons: May need more water for quinoa
January 07, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Pretty Good I made exactly as directed. It was tasty, light and fresh. Had no problems with the quinoa.
January 05, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
very tasty! I almost didn't make this because of the one or two lukewarm reviews but I'm glad I made it anyway. It was delicious! I am looking for high in protein low in carbs type of meals and this one fit the bill. And then some. It was so tasty I can't wait to have the leftovers for lunch! five stars from me! Pros: healthy, well-balanced meal
January 02, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Awesome combo of ingredients, healthy, & easy to make I made the quinoa with 1 cup of water and just watched it. I actually loved how it turned out since it comes out so mushy and gross when I make it according to package instructions. Plus, the quinoa needs to be on the drier side prior to adding it to the orange and juice mixture that you make separately. I thought this was the best mix of ingredients I've made so far with Quinoa. I typically can hardly stomach quinoa and force myself to eat it, but I ate my portion of this meal tonight and loved it! I love scallops so is was a winning recipe for me. I'd make it again-but maybe something else for my boyfriend (he's just starting to get used to eating healthier and clean). Haha. Pros: Easy to make, tasty, low cal high protein Cons: Boyfriend did not love (oh well he still ate it)
December 29, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
quinoa and water My quinoa uses 2 cups water for 1 cup quinoa, cook for 12 minutes, and let stand for 15. Seems like trying to cook in 1 cup water will resultin scorched quinoa after a short period of time Pros: quinoa is great Cons: not enough water
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