These rich and flavorful Easy Vegan Scallops are served in a flavorful garlic butter sauce over pasta with sun dried tomatoes and fresh herbs. This dish feels fancy enough for date night or a dinner party, but it’s easy enough for a weeknight meal.
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Hey Internet, continuing on my vegan seafood kick, I’ve been wanting to try vegan scallops for a while. I had some great non-vegan ones at a restaurant many years ago and I’ve been missing them ever since.
This recipe is honestly amazing, though I’ll admit I sound pretty conceited saying that… But I don’t care, it's so dang good my husband and I both yelled in excitement when we tasted it.
So the vegan oysters are made of king oyster mushrooms! The stems are thick and you can slice them into an oyster shape. But the flavor also imparts so much, and with the right marinade, it really does taste like scallops. So good.
These are king oyster mushroom scallops, but you can also make hearts of palm scallops. They’ll just be smaller--cuter!
And you can serve these with whatever you like. I chose pasta because I wanted to use up the leftover marinade (I mean, why let delicious go to waste) and I incorporated it as a pasta sauce. SO, so, SO good.
Ok I need to stop saying so good, but really, it is.
Finally, I slapped some sun dried tomatoes and herbs in there because hey, it was looking kinda beige--but the flavors actually work!
Feel free to throw in some spinach or kale and let it wilt in there for extra greens or serve it with a side of veggies.
Alright, let’s jump into this deliciousness.
What You’ll Need
- King oyster mushrooms: Since scallops are a pretty specific look, you’ll need king oyster mushrooms, that are very thick and mostly stem. You can often find them at Asian grocery stores or other international markets with a produce section. Alternatively, you can use hearts of palm that come in a can or jar. These are slightly smaller but work well. The mushrooms tend to absorb a little more of the marinade because they’re a little spongy, so that’s why I prefer them in this recipe.
- Roasted garlic broth OR vegetable broth: So I LOVE Better Than Bouillon stock paste. The one I used here is Roasted Garlic Better Than Bouillon and it’s SO GOOD. I can find it at my normal grocery store, it’s vegan, and it lasts forever in the fridge. If you’ve never heard of this brand, it’s a jar of concentrated stock paste and you just mix a spoonful with hot water to create broth (about a teaspoon per cup, but I find that you can use less). Alternatively, just use vegetable broth and MOAR GARLIC if you are a crazy garlic fiend like my husband and I are.
- Fresh garlic: Speaking of which, we’ll saute fresh minced garlic at the base of this sauce, and it’s so good so I don’t recommend skipping unless you can’t have garlic. Minced shallot or onion is also a nice option here.
- Vegan butter: If you are not oil-free, I recommend sauteing the garlic in vegan butter because it’s just delicious, especially in this recipe--especially if you want it to be a little fancy. If you are oil-free, skip it and saute in a little broth.
- Miso paste: This helps give an umami seafood-ish flavor. If you can’t have soy, try chickpea miso--it tastes just as good.
- Soy Sauce: I use a less sodium soy sauce (the regular stuff is a little too salty for me) to help flavor the sauce. If you are gluten-free, substitute reduced sodium gluten-free tamari. If you are soy-free, use No-Soy or Coconut Aminos.
- Ume plum vinegar or dulse flakes: To really get a seafood flavor into the vegan scallops, you need either ume plum vinegar or dulse flakes. Crumbled nori sheets can also be used in a pinch! If you don’t care about them having the seafood flavor and just want it to be savory, skip this altogether and they’ll still be delicious.
- Smoked paprika: It’s optional, but a pinch of smoked paprika really amps up the flavor for such a small addition.
- Pasta for serving: You can really serve these king oyster mushroom scallops with whatever you’d like, but I used this thick bucatini pasta.
- Nutritional yeast: It’s optional, but I used it to slightly thicken the pasta sauce at the end. You could make a little cornstarch or arrowroot powder slurry at the end if you prefer. But the nutritional yeast does not play a huge role in the flavor if you do add it--it’s not overwhelming.
- Sun dried tomatoes: Admittedly it’s mostly for color but they are very flavorful here! Note that if you are oil-free, you’ll want the kind in plastic rather than the jarred kind which is packed in oil.
- Fresh parsley and vegan Parmesan cheese for garnish - I like Violife vegan parmesan cheese but I also have a homemade vegan Parmesan topping that’s really good.
How to Make Vegan Scallops
- Start by mixing the marinade ingredients in a bowl or measuring cup.
- Cut the mushroom stems into thick 1-inch rounds. Save the heads for a stir-fry like my vegan chop suey. Score one side of the mushrooms by drawing light lines with your knife across it. This helps the mushroom absorb more marinade and flavor. Add the mushrooms to the marinade and let them soak for 6-10 minutes, flipping or tossing them with your hands (gently) halfway through the process. DO NOT discard the leftover marinade as it will be the base of our sauce.
- If you’re serving this with pasta, start the pasta water since it won’t take long to cook the scallops. Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve a little starchy pasta water if draining, but I like to just use tongs to transfer cooked pasta directly to my sauce.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet (I use All Clad Nonstick--safe and good quality) over medium high heat. Add a little vegan butter or a splash of broth to the pan and add in as many scallops as will fit with a little breathing room (about ¾-inch). Do two batches if you need to. Allow the scallops to cook for 5-6 minutes on one side undisturbed (I’d go 3-4 if not using vegan butter), then flip and cook another 2-4 minutes until nicely browned on both sides. Set them aside.
- If you’d like to add a little more vegan butter or broth do that now. Add the garlic and sun dried tomatoes and saute for a minute.
- Add the remainder of your marinade or broth mixture and stir well. Let heat for a few minutes, and then transfer the cooked pasta to the pot with tongs. Stir well and taste the sauce. If it’s too thick, add a splash of the starchy cooking water. If it’s too thin, add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, or you can make a little slurry from 3 tablespoons of water and a tablespoon of arrowroot powder or cornstarch. Mix until thick and to your liking.
- Stir in most of the chopped parsley, serve and sprinkle with remaining parsley. Give it a grind of black pepper and a sprinkle of vegan parmesan. Enjoy!
- Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days, but like with most pasta dishes, this is best the first night.
More Fancy Vegan Food
Like your food on the fancier side? I mean, I love cooking so much that it’s often a good choice for date night or when entertaining guests.
Here are a few of my favorite fancier vegan recipes:
- Vegan Steak
- Vegan Carbonara
- Lemon Tahini Broccolini
- Vegan Pasta Puttanesca
- Vegan Paella
- Tofu Poke Bowl
- Vegan Swedish Meatballs
- Vegan Baked Feta Pasta (I used homemade vegan feta)
More Vegan Seafood
I’m starting to really love making vegan seafood! Here’s the ones I’ve published so far--be on the lookout for more!
- Vegan Tuna Casserole
- Vegan Tuna Melts Side note: What else can I do with vegan tuna?
- Vegan Lobster Rolls
- Vegan Fish Tacos
- I also made vegan lox, an exclusive recipe in my Plant Based Jewish Recipes e-book.
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. Mr. Zardyplants loves it too--it reminded us both of when we first tried scallops at a fancy restaurant together 3 years after we started dating.
These vegan scallops are:
- And perfect for a date night or dinner party, but easy enough to make any night of the week you’re feeling fancy. Grab a wine glass and drink wine (or juice) with your pinky out.
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!