$5 and 15 Minute Scallops and Zucchini Recipe

$5 and 15 Minute Scallops and Zucchini Recipe

Scallops should not be a treat you only enjoy at a fancy restaurant for $20+ per plate. This scallops and zucchini recipe is a treat to be enjoyed in your own kitchen whenever the opportunity arises. And by opportunity, I mean a sale at the fish counter of your local grocery store. It’s time to stop associating “scallops” with “difficult to cook” and start associating them with “an incredible 15-minute option for dinner this weekend!”

Scallops and Zucchini Recipe

$5 and 15 Minute Seared Scallops and Zucchini

Looking for a recipe that will definitely impress, even at the last minute? This $5 and 15 minute seared scallops and zucchini recipe is for you!
Prep Time8 mins
Cook Time7 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: scallops
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 290kcal
Author: apartmentchefnick
Cost: $10


  • Medium prep bowl
  • Small prep bowl
  • Chef's knife
  • Spatula


  • 1/2 lb Scallops (6-8 scallops)
  • 2 shallots or 1/4 sweet onion
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped (1-2 zucchinis)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds, raw or roasted
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed or avocado oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • Chop the zucchini into 1/4″ cubes and set aside in medium prep.
  • Finely chop shallots and combine with sunflower seeds. Set aside in small prep bowl.
  • Rinse and pat dry scallops.
  • Heat up sauté pan to medium-high (~7 out of 10) and add 2 TBSP of grapeseed oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, place scallops in the center of the pan and then add zucchini along with half of the salt. Distribute the zucchini pieces as evenly as possible around the pan.
  • Cook without touching for ~3 minutes, then flip scallops and zucchini and add the remaining salt. Move the zucchini around to make little holes so that the other side of the scallops lays flat on the surface of the pan.
  • Once the scallops are laying flat, add shallots and sunflower seeds to the pan.
  • After more 3 minutes, serve immediately over $0.25 and 45 Minute Rice or polenta! Enjoy!


Calories calculated by MyFitnessPal app.
Scallops and Zucchini Recipe Close Up
It just looks better the closer you get!


Ingredients – Shallots taste like a cross between garlic and onions. If you can only find sweet onions, feel free to mix in some chopped garlic as well.

Step 1 – To chop zucchini, think chop into discs, then stack and slice.

Step 3 – Scallops usually have a small, slightly chewier piece of meat that is attached to the edge. After rinsing and drying, this piece can easily be removed with your hands as shown in the picture below. Personally, I don’t mind it. I see it as more delicious seafood. Here are your options:

  • Leave it on and cook everything. (Preferred.)
  • Remove and toss in the saute pan with 1 minute remaining. (Not a bad option.)
  • Toss the small piece in the trash. (Would not recommend. You’re literally throwing away money and delicious food!)
Scallop Prep
The small, slightly chewier piece of scallop.

Step 5 & 6 – You’re trying to get as much of the surface area of the food touching the pan as possible. It’s the contact with the hot pan that causes the scallops and zucchini to brown so nicely! Don’t get too worked up if all the zucchini slices aren’t touching the pan, odds are when you flip everything they’ll have their opportunity!

Step 5 – You can see monitor the scallop’s done-ness by seeing how much of the clear-ish flesh turns to white as they cook. Depending on the size of the scallops, you may need to add or remove a minute when deciding when to flip. Also, you don’t have to get it right the first time. No reason you can’t flip them over as many times as you want!


  • 1/2 lb of scallops – $8
  • 2 shallot ~ $0.50
  • 1-2 large zucchinis $1
  • 2 TBSP of sunflower seeds, raw or roasted ~ $0.25
  • 2 TBSP grapeseed oil ~ $0.25
  • 1/2 tsp salt – negligible

Total Cost per recipe ~ $10

Cost per plate (~2 servings) ~ $5

Scallops and Zucchini Dinner Plate
Are you in a 5-star restaurant or your own kitchen??


Making this recipe transforms your cafe into a 5-star restaurant in 15 minutes. If you can make this scallops and zucchini recipe on your own in only 15 minutes, what else can you make? Actually, what can’t you make? As you’ve seen through past Cafe4111 posts covering everything from $5 and 25 Minute Lobster Tail to $2.50 and 60 Minute Acorn Squash Bowls to $1.75 and 30 Minute Saag Paneer, no food is off-limits to the apartment chef, no food is set aside as a “restaurant” only meal! Whether you’re conquering meal prep staples or tackling spectacle sit-down dinners, you are capable now! So excited to see and hear about what you create!

As always, make informed food decisions. Know your ingredients, know your costs!

Scallop and Zucchini Feature
Your turn to show me what you got!

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