Shell Game

Maybe it’s the heat, or maybe it’s the sun. Maybe it’s just the general summer attitude that’s disrupted the typical work routine, but focused, inspired opportunities to write have been far and few between. Grasping desperately for words that are sufficient at best and cramming them into confused, awkward prose, the irony of speaking at BlogHer PathFinder Day about becoming a published author is not lost on me. When there’s so much to share, from photos to recipes to review and beyond, but no words to tie them all together into one neat, professional package, what’s a blogger to do?

Surely you can relate. You might not be a blogger or a writer at all, but this frustrating state is universally understood across all disciplines, even amongst those terrifically passionate in their chosen field. An abundance of material sits unexplored, despite best intentions. Not even carefully laid plans could create a concise schedule when the words simply won’t flow.

These “lazy days” of summer have never been busier or more fulfilling. Projects are never-ending, and for a workaholic like myself, it’s a dream come true. All I can do is keep going, relishing every moment, and trusting that the words will come sooner or later. That’s why it would be silly to keep waiting for the perfect story to sum up this latest recipe, withholding something so delicious until its forgotten at the bottom of my archives.

That analogy is rather fitting, however, since these vegan scallops became buried underneath bags of frozen vegetables and pints of ice cream, far into the depths of the freezer, all for lack of that “perfect” preparation. Instead of fearing that I couldn’t do these rare savory morsels justice, it was high time to just make what sounded best in that moment. And you know what? It was a decision that turned out pretty close to perfection after all.

Spurred on by my mother’s memories of Coquilles St. Jacques, my interpretation came out naturally lighter, brighter, and tastier, in my entirely biased opinion. Still plenty rich, a buttery base of mushrooms and shallot lend depth to the seafood-free scallop, elevating it beyond the standard cream sauce approach. A tangy splash of lemon and and subtly herbaceous parsley round out the flavor profile, ensuring that the last bite is every bit as irresistible as the first.

There’s no shame in licking your plate here, especially if it’s a ceramic scallop shell. That could easily be chalked up to enjoying an “authentic” scallop experience.

Yield: Makes 4 Appetizer-Sized Servings

Coquilles St. Jacques, Re-Imagined and Revitalized

Coquilles St. Jacques, Re-Imagined and Revitalized

A buttery base of mushrooms and shallot lend depth to the seafood-free scallop, elevating it beyond the standard cream sauce approach. A tangy splash of lemon and and subtly herbaceous parsley round out the flavor profile, ensuring that the last bite is every bit as irresistible as the first.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 2 Tablespoons Vegan Butter, Divided
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
  • 1 Package Sophie’s Kitchen Lightly Breaded Vegan Scallops
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Large Shallot, Minced
  • 8 Ounces Cremini or Button Mushrooms, Minced
  • 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Dry White Wine
  • 1 Teaspoon All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Tarragon
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, Finely Minced
  • Salt and Ground Black Pepper, to Taste


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon each of the butter and oil in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Once the margarine has melted, carefully place the scallops in a single layer on the pan. Don’t try to move or flip them for at least 6 – 8 minutes, to achieve a better sear. If they still appear to be sticking and look pale on the bottoms, let them continue to cook, undisturbed for up to 5 additional minutes. When the undersides are nicely browned, give them a single flip over to the opposite side, drizzle with lemon juice, and saute until similarly golden. Transfer the scallops to a plate and set aside.
  2. Return the empty pan to the heat and add in the remaining butter and oil. Gently saute the shallot for 2 – 3 minutes, until translucent and aromatic, before stirring in the mushrooms. Cook over medium-low heat until tender; about 5 minutes. Stir together the almond milk, wine, and flour, beating out any potential clumps, and pour the mixture into the pan. Simmer gently for 10 – 12 minutes, until thickened and creamy. Stir in the tarragon and parsley, and finally season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Spoon a small mound of the mushroom mixture onto each serving dish and top with 3 – 4 scallops each. Serve right away while still hot.


If you don't have access to vegan scallops, king trumpet mushrooms can be used instead. Simply slice the stalks into 1-inch thick rounds an proceed with the recipe as directed.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 150Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 202mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g

15 thoughts on “Shell Game

  1. Such cute styling for this photo! Seafood and fish was actually the hardest thing for me to give up when I went vegan. I’d like to get my hands on some of those “scallops”. Writer’s block happens to everyone, don’t beat yourself up about it.

  2. While the recipe sounds delightful, I’m stuck on the scalloped dish! I just love the way it cradles its tender morsels so perfectly.

  3. Scallops AND mushrooms! This meal speaks to me on so many levels. And I agree about the summer thing. I always feel like there is so much I should be doing but then I just go read a book. And sometimes food doesn’t need a story, the food itself is enough (especially when it comes to your food!).

  4. I can’t say I was a fan of any type of seafood before I gave it up but I’ve always been so intrigued by vegan scallops. I’ve never lost the love of making and photographing recipes, but sometimes I wish I could post the recipes without having to actually write anything about them, and yes, for some reason this tends to always happen during the summer months!

  5. I’ve tried quite a few of their products but haven’t gotten around to the breaded scallops yet. They sure do look good! Love the ocean setting with the blue background and the sand and shells. :-) Oh yes, sometimes it takes me forever to find the right words. I guess it’s the curse of being visually oriented.

  6. Hi Hannah! apologies for not stopping by lately..realised how much i’ve missed!

    this is a beautiful post as always. and i love scallops! love how you served it with a mushroom, shallots base. would imagine it would taste wonderful!

  7. I love the real scallops but I wonder if I Will Enjoy the vegan ones! They look like the real scallops, I think. Very delectable appetizing dish! YuMMM???!!!

  8. I like this spin on scallops. I have never tried vegan ones before. But I will try just about anything once and if I like, I will eat it all the time. I think I will try this.

  9. What a cute display, but not a huge fan of scallops before I became vegan. I love Sophie’s Kitchen, the company is based in where I am born in, Taiwan :) hehe! Do you like their vegan crab cakes and fish? x

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