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Sautéed Scallops with Orange-Avocado-Basil Salsa on Basil Quinoa

Kristine Kidd
Who needs a rich and flour-thickened cream sauce, when you can make a zippy salsa? Quinoa mixed with olive oil and a big handful of fresh herbs makes a refreshing bed for the scallops and sauce, and has become one of my favorite accompaniments to seafood. This recipe makes a generous amount of both the quinoa and salsa because I like to toss them together with crumbled feta cheese and pumpkin seeds for a light but filling lunch the next day. Makes 2 servings
Course Seafood, Sunday Suppers, Weeknight Dinners
Servings 2


  • 1 cup quinoa, preferably multi-color
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 2 oranges, peel and pith cut off
  • 1 large firm but ripe avocado, peeled and pitted, then finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons plus ¼ cup minced fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • teaspoon minced seeded red jalapeno
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10-12 oz sea scallops, patted dry


  • Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan. Rinse with cold water, drain. Repeat rinsing 3 more times, and then drain the quinoa and return to the pan. Add 1½ cups water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.
  • Meanwhile, cut the oranges in half, slice ⅓-inch thick and then cut into ⅓-inch cubes. Place in a medium bowl. Gently mix in the avocado, 3 tablespoons basil, shallot and jalapeno. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • In a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper, add to the pan and sauté until almost springy to the touch, about 2 minutes on each side.
  • Fluff the quinoa with a fork, and then mix in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and ¼ cup basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the quinoa on 2 warmed plates. Top with the salsa and then the scallops and serve.
  • Tip: This salsa is also good with shrimp or any fish as well as chicken breasts or turkey cutlets.
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