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Dairy Free Seared Scallops with Corn Risotto

There is nothing better than date night at home! This elegant and refined Dairy Free Seared Scallops with Corn Risotto will turn any night into an occasion. The best part it comes together in less than an hour!

Dairy Free Seared Scallops with Corn Risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite dishes to create, for both a quick weeknight meal and also special occasion. Whether it’s Spiced Porkchops with Dairy Free Butternut Squash Risotto or this seafood studded star, there is just something both special and comforting about the decadent texture of a creamy risotto.


Dairy Free Seared Scallops with Corn Risotto combines fresh ingredients with one of my pantry staples, arborio rice. The combination of flavors and textures pair perfectly together, but individually the components are also delicious on their own. Feel free to make just the risotto and serve it with your favorite steak, or add the basil pesto to your favorite Gluten Free pasta or to top ripe tomatoes.

  • Scallops – Use sea scallops for this recipe. You want to make sure that they are dry pack scallops and not wet pack. Wet pack scallops are plumped with preservatives and chemicals not only changing their flavor and texture but making it impossible to give them that seared crust.
  • Dairy Free Butter – Used to sear the scallops and also sauté the onion in the risotto.
  • Garlic – Adds a pungent and savory pop to both the risotto and also the pesto.
  • Kosher Salt – Enhances all of the flavors of the ingredients.
  • Black Pepper – Adds an earthy, mellow note of spice.
  • Onion – Adds both sweetness and a savory note to the risotto.
  • Risotto Rice – Arborio is the classic choice. This short grain rice easily absorbs liquid and creates a creamy sauce.
  • Dairy Free Heavy Cream Adds richness and a silky texture to the risotto.
  • Vegetable Broth – Helps the rice cook while adding a layer of delicate savory flavor.
  • Water
  • Corn – Adds a burst of sweetness and pop of texture to the risotto.
  • White Wine – Wakes up the risotto with a bright burst of sunny acid.
  • Dairy Free Parmesan Cheese –
  • Lemon Juice – Adds brightness to the pesto.
  • Basil – This sweet herb is the classic star of pesto.
  • Spinach – Adds depth of flavor and a burst of color to the pesto.
  • Pistachios – Brings texture to the pesto while adding a butter note.
  • Olive Oil

How to Make Dary Free Seared Scallops with Corn Risotto

This meal will wow friends and family alike. It comes together in three easy steps, and portions of it can be made ahead of time making it ideal for any night of the week.

Time needed: 55 minutes

  1. Risotto

    Heat a stockpot over medium heat and add the Dairy Free butter and onion. Cook the onion until its translucent and fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients except for the heavy cream and parmesan. Stirring occasionally, allow it to cook for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender and it has thickened. Turn off the heat and stir in the heavy cream and cheese. Cover it and allow it to sit for ten minutes.

  2. Sear

    Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Thoroughly pat your scallops dry and remove the side muscle. Place the scallops in the hot skillet, careful not to crowd them. You can work in batches. Cook the first side 2-3 minutes before flipping, or until they easily release from the pan. Cook the second side about the same. They should be slightly firm to the touch but still have spring to them. Remove from the pan.

  3. Pesto

    To make your pesto add all of the ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.

  4. Assemble

    Plate your corn risotto. Top with the seared scallops. Garnish with the basil pesto. Enjoy!


This recipe is completely dairy free. However, you can use full dairy butter, cream, and parmesan cheese to make this risotto.


While scallops and corn go hand in hand, you can use your favorite seafood for this dish. Grilled or sauteed shrimp would work well, along with lobster tail!


The key to beautifully seared scallops is using a skillet that can withstand high heat. The Hestan NanoBond series is high heat tolerent up to 1050 degrees making it perfect for using in the oven and on the grill. It’s stain, scratch, and stick resistant and this Italian made cookware is just as beautiful as it is functional.


The pesto for Dairy Free Seared Scallops with Corn Risotto can be made ahead of time, making this dish come together even faster. Keep it stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and it will keep for up to a week.

Top Tip for Dairy Free Seared Scallops with Corn Risotto

There is nothing like the Instagram worthy display of a perfectly seared scallop. To make sure you achieve that perfect sear, always purchase dry pack scallops. Make sure your scallops are thoroughly dried before cooking. Only season them just before they hit the pan as salt draws out moisture. Always make sure your pan is fully heated before adding your scallops. And finally, when it doubt, temp check. You’re scallops are done cooking when their internal temperature is between 115-120 degrees.

Dairy Free Seared Scallops with Corn Risotto

Dairy Free Corn Risotto with Seared Scallops

Creamy and decadent corn risotto is topped with seared scallops and a bright, fresh burst of basil pesto.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Pesto: 5 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 stockpot
  • 1 Large skillet
  • 1 Food Processor


Corn Risotto

  • 2 tbsp Dairy Free butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups risotto rice, such as arborio
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 cup Dairy Free heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Dairy Free parmesan cheese

Seared Scallops

  • 1 lbs jumbo or colossal sea scallops
  • 2 tbsp Dairy Free butter

Basil Pesto

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pistachios


Corn Risotto

  • Heat a stock pot over medium heat. Add the butter and onions.
  • Sauté the onions for 3-5 minutes until they are translucent.
  • Add the garlic, salt and pepper, white wine, water, broth, corn, and rice. Stir to combine.
  • Allow the risotto to cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquids have reduced and thickened, and the rice is tender.
  • Turn off the heat. Stir in the heavy cream and parmesan. Cover and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Seared Scallops

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter.
  • Remove the side muscle from the scallops. Pat them dry and lightly season if desired.
  • Place the dry scallops into the skillet. Let the first side cook for 2-3 minutes or until you begin to see the side turn opaque white and they easily release from the pan. Flip and cook the second side another 2-3 minutes. They should feel slightly firm but still spring back when touched. Remove from the pan.

Basil Pesto

  • Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.


  • Plate your corn risotto. Top the risotto with the scallops. Garnish with basil pesto.
  • Enjoy!
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