Grilled Scallop Kabobs


When warmer weather beckons us outside, these easy grilled scallop kabobs quickly replace our go-to pan-seared scallops. The sea scallops are briefly marinated in oil, garlic, sumac, and Aleppo pepper, threaded onto skewers, grilled to perfection, and served with a smoky scallion and sumac sauce.

Two grilled scallop kabobs on a blue oval platter with a dish of dipping sauce on the side.

Adapted from Christine Sahadi Whelan | Flavors of the Sun | Chronicle Books, 2021

Sumac is my go-to spice when I need to brighten up a dish. Its tart, almost lemony flavor is an ideal complement to any fish or poultry that finds its way onto my grill. While scallops are quite delicate, I find that the extreme heat of grilling brings out their sweetness even better than pan frying, giving them a lovely caramelized crust that can stand up to this earthy puréed sauce.–Christine Sahadi Whelan

Grilled Scallop Kabobs FAQs

How can I select the best fresh sea scallops?

Look for scallops that are not pure white, and that are not stored in water. Pure white scallops have likely either been sitting in and absorbing water (which will add weight to the already considerable price per pound) or chemicals, which can cause them to lose nutrients and natural color.

Look for your fresh scallops to be pale beige to creamy pink in color, and if you can get close enough to smell them, they should have a clean, fresh aroma.

What should I serve with grilled scallop kabobs?

These grilled scallop kabobs are an easy entree that is perfect for casual entertaining. Add a Greek salad or pomegranate roasted beets and a basket of warm pita, and you’ve got a meal.

How spicy is an Aleppo pepper?

Aleppo peppers ring in on the Scoville Scale with 10,000 SCU. (Jalapenos can be 2000-2500 SCU, for comparison). They’re considered to be moderately spicy and are used as flavor enhancers – not just heat-makers. If you enjoy crushed red pepper flakes, you’ll enjoy Aleppo pepper flakes as they’re milder, but still flavorful.

Grilled Scallop Kabobs

Two grilled scallop kabobs on a blue oval platter with a dish of dipping sauce on the side.

These easy grilled sea scallop kabobs are briefly marinated in oil, garlic, and sumac, then grilled and served with a smoky scallion dipping sauce. An easy summer entree.

Christine Sahadi Whelan

Prep 10 mins

Cook 13 mins

Total 1 hr 10 mins

For the scallion-sumac sauce

Marinate the sea scallops

  • Dry the scallops thoroughly and use a sharp knife to pull off the tough strips of muscle on the side of each.

  • To make the scallop marinade, combine the oil, sumac, minced garlic, salt, and black and Aleppo peppers in a medium bowl. Add the scallops and toss to coat, then cover with plastic and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

  • When ready to cook, prepare a grill or preheat a ridged grill pan until very hot. Use an oil-saturated paper towel and tongs to oil the grates thoroughly. Thread the scallops onto pairs of skewers (this keeps them from spinning).

Make the scallion-sumac sauce

  • When the grill or grill pan is hot, place the scallions and the 2 garlic cloves in a grill basket and grill, turning often, until they start to char in a few spots, 4 to 6 minutes.

  • Transfer the scallions and garlic to a blender and add the parsley, oil, lemon juice, sumac, Aleppo pepper, and salt. Purée until smooth, then transfer to a small bowl.

Grill the scallop kabobs

  • Place the scallop kabobs over the hottest part of the fire and sear on one side until they are nicely marked and release easily, about 3 minutes. Turn and grill the second side just until cooked through to an internal temperature of 115°F (46°C), 1 or 2 minutes more. Do not overcook.

  • Transfer the scallops to a platter and sprinkle with the chopped herbs. Serve with the scallion-sumac sauce.

Serving: 1portionCalories: 370kcal (19%)Carbohydrates: 14g (5%)Protein: 29g (58%)Fat: 23g (35%)Saturated Fat: 3g (19%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 54mg (18%)Sodium: 2085mg (91%)Potassium: 650mg (19%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 1435IU (29%)Vitamin C: 31mg (38%)Calcium: 60mg (6%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Originally published June 14, 2022

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