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Perfectly Seared Scallops with Bacon and Kale Pesto {gluten free}

  • Author: Nyssa Tanner
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x


These perfectly seared scallops with bacon and kale pesto are the perfect dinner for any night of the week! Healthy, crave worthy, elegant, and OH-SO-DELICIOUS! Gluten free & ready in less than 30 minutes!



Kale pesto

  • 1/2 cup roasted almonds – smoked almonds are delicious, but regular roasted almonds also work great
  • 1 1/2 cups packed kale, tough stems removed
  • 1/2 cup packed parsley 
  • 1 large clove garlic 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt – may need less if your almonds are already salted
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil + a little extra if needed

Corn & bacon sauté

  • 4 pieces of bacon 
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels 


  • 68 sea scallops 
  • about 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • about 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil


  1. First, make the pesto. Add all kale pesto ingredients to a food processor and process until mostly smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Thin with a little extra olive oil if desired. Taste and add more salt and lemon juice if needed. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees, and then turn off (the oven is only warmed to keep the corn and bacon warm while the scallops cook).
  3. Dice bacon into small pieces. Have corn ready in a measuring cup. Heat a skillet (cast iron or non stick is my preference) over medium heat. Add bacon, and cook, stirring frequently, until bacon is done to your liking. Add corn, and continue to cook another 2 minutes or so, until corn is thawed and bright yellow. Remove bacon and corn from the skillet using a slotted spoon, leaving as much of the bacon grease behind as possible. Season to taste with salt and move to the oven to keep warm.
  4. Rinse out skillet and wipe clean. 
  5. Thoroughly dry the scallops using paper towels, and season generously with about 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper. 
  6. Heat skillet over medium high heat with 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  7. When the pan is nice and hot, add the scallops, being careful not to crowd them too close together. 
  8. Cook, about 2-3 minutes per side, until they’re golden brown and they easily release from the pan. Remove from the pan and set aside to avoid over cooking. 
  9. To serve: spoon kale pesto onto a large plate, top with bacon corn sauté, and seared scallops. 


  • If you can’t find high quality scallops, you could easily substitute shrimp or another type of fish.
  • To make this recipe nut free substitute the almonds in the pesto for sunflower seeds.
  • If you’re pescatarian, leave out the bacon and simply sauté the corn in a little bit of your fat of choice.
  • For a paleo option substitute the corn with baby spinach, broccolini, or green beans.
  • Most likely you’ll have extra kale and parsley pesto. Store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week and serve with pasta, potatoes, or another cooked protein.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: saute
  • Cuisine: seafood

Keywords: scallops, bacon, corn, kale, parsley, almonds, dinner, date night, brunch, seafood