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The Homemade Diaries

Real Food. Made Simple.

  • ashleylynn

Seared Scallops with Lemon Basil Cauliflower Risotto

Creamy, lemon basil cauliflower risotto topped with buttery, ghee-seared scallops.

Whole30. Paleo. AIP. Glutten Free. Grain Free. Dairy Free.

Creamy Cauliflower risotto with seared scallops
Soooo, apparently I was really hungry, and this glamour shot is the only photo I got of this dish. Guess I'll just have to make it again to get some photos. Darn.

Risotto is often perceived as a luxury food. Creamy rice, slow cooked in broth until its just al dente makes for a comfort food classic that is second to none. But when you eat a limited diet like we do most of the time, rice is a strict no-no.

Cauliflower rice has be a saving grace. Anyone that is eating less grain and starch has had their fair share of cauliflower rice. We put it under all our stir fries, we make fried cauliflower rice, and I'm even working on a grain free cauliflower dolma! So, why not cauliflower rice risotto?

So maybe you still eat rice and aren't doing a Whole30, eating Paleo, or on a grain free diet. This recipe is still worth a try! It's lighter than rice, dairy-free, and works extra veggies into dinner. Bonus - this risotto is 1000x easier to make than traditional risotto. So if you want that creamy rice dish, without the risk, keep on reading...

Now let's quickly talk scallops. You can top your risotto with anything really, but I chose scallops as our protein to mix it up. I felt the sweet, plump scallops, when seared golden brown and salty, would be the perfect compliment to the herb-y and tart lemon basil risotto. When seared correctly, the scallops get a little crust on the outside that adds a bit of texture to an otherwise creamy dish. If scallops aren't your thing, try fish, shrimp, or even mushrooms for a vegetarian option.

Quick note on cooking scallops: When cooking with scallops, make sure to clean them properly and dry them! If you don't clean them, they can be gritty, which is a good way to ruin a great dish. To clean your scallops, all you really need to do is give them a quick rinse. Check to make sure the side muscle has been removed. I had a few with it still on ( just a little flap on the side). All you need to do is pull it right off. It will come away super easy.

As for drying them, put them on a paper towel and then place a paper towel on top and gently pat until the paper towel is damp and sticking slightly to the scallops. If you don't do this, you won't get a proper sear.

Alright, enough chit chat. Here's the recipe!

Seared Scallops with Lemon Basil Cauliflower Risotto

Printable Recipe


1/2 lb scallops, cleaned and dried

1 T ghee or butter

kosher salt

Lemon Basil Cauliflower Risotto

1T ghee or olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

12 oz frozen cauliflower rice

1/2 cup cashews

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon tapioca starch

1/2 cup vegetable broth (could use chicken or fish as well)

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/4 white wine (optional)

2 T basil, chopped

2 T parsley, chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Starting with the risotto ingredients, add ghee or oil to a pan and heat over medium-low heat. Add onion to the pan and cook until translucent, about 5 mins. Add the garlic to the pan and cook just until warmed through, about 30 seconds. Add in cauliflower rice and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 T ghee in a heavy pan (cast iron is great for this) over medium-high heat. Pat your scallops dry and salt to taste (I go a little heavy). When pan is hot, add scallops salt side down, and salt the now-face up side. Cook the scallops for just a few minutes (only long enough for a nice golden-brown crust to form) and then flip. You do NOT want to over cook your scallops.

  3. While your scallops are searing, return to your risotto prep. To a blender or food processor, add in your cashews, yeast, and tapioca starch. Blend until smooth.

  4. Stir your risotto mixture, then add in your broth, lemon juice, and wine. Allow the broth to warm and soak into the rice a bit, about 1-2 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, remove your scallops from the pan to avoid over cooking and place on a paper-towel lined plate to rest for a few minutes.

  6. Add in the cashew mixture to your risotto, a little at a time. Depending on how liquid-y it is, you may not need all of it. You're going for an oatmeal-like consistency. If its too thick, add a little more broth, too thin, add a little more cashew mix. Once it's the consistency you want, turn off your heat, and stir in the basil and parsley, plus salt and pepper to taste.

  7. Portion out your risotto between two bowls or plates. Place half the scallops on each pile of risotto, spoon some of the scallop pan juice over the top and garnish with basil, parsley, and lemon if desired.

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