Vegan “Scallops” And Risotto

I’ve written before about how much I loved shellfish before I went vegan, and how that was one of the only food groups I found difficult to give up. Previously, I’ve shared a recipe for vegan “scallops” with white wine cream sauce. The recipe featured “scallops” made from king oyster mushrooms with a decadent pasta bathed in white wine cream sauce. I really enjoy using oyster mushrooms in this application. When marinated well they provided a close approximation to both the taste and the texture of scallops. I created this new recipe with fine dining in mind. Nothing says fine dining quite like scallops. To keep the upscale feel I prepared it with a creamy herb risotto, pomegranate gastrique, and a garnish of fresh micro-greens.

I feel like there’s a misconception that “fancy” food is difficult to make, but it’s really minimalist and quite simple. Consider this one for your next date night in, or dinner party. This recipe doesn’t take too long to put together, and will impress even your carnivorous friends. The most time consuming part of it is stirring the risotto while the broth cooks out. Don’t skip out on making a gastrique for this dish. If you’ve never made a gastrique it may seem tricky, but it only takes a few minutes to throw together. The gastrique adds a light touch of citrus and pomegranate that adds some freshness to the scallops.


Vegan Scallops and Risotto

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Scallop Ingredients

  • 5-6 large king trumpet or king oyster mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth, or water mixed with vegetable bouillon
  • 1 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1/4 cup vegan white wine
  • 1 tbsp olive or caper juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • additional white wine to deglaze the pan
  • 2 tbsp earth balance or other vegan butter

Risotto Ingredients

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup blend of chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage
  • 1/2 a yellow onion
  • 2 shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cube not chick’n bouillon
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup vegan white wine
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp follow your heart grated vegan parmesan
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Gastrique and Garnish Ingredients

  • 1 cup of fresh micro-greens
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • seeds from one pomegranate
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • juice from 2 oranges
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegan white wine
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Cut down king oyster mushrooms into large scallop sized chunks excluding the caps. Score the “scallops” if you’d like (this helps add flavor), and set them aside.
  2. Dice the caps, and set them aside. You can cook these down and add them to the risotto for a nice textural element.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the marinade ingredients. Add the Oyster mushrooms to the marinade, and place into the fridge for at least an hour.
  4. Dice the onion, and mince the shallots and garlic for the risotto. In a large pan, or sauce pan, simmer the shallots, onion, and garlic in the olive oil. Add the diced mushroom cap, so that it can cook down.
  5. Add the arborio rice to the pan, and let it toast for about two minutes.
  6. Add the 1/2 cup of white wine, and let it cook down while stirring periodically.
  7. Add a cube of not chick’n bouillon to four cups of water. Microwave on high, and whisk to dissolve.
  8. Add the broth to the risotto one cup at a time. Allow it to cook down in between adding each cup.
  9. The risotto should be almost completely done cooking when you add the final cup of broth. When you add the final cup allow it to cook down half way, and then add in your fresh herbs, nutritional yeast, and vegan parmesan. If you can’t find vegan parmesan sub two additional tablespoons of nutritional yeast.
  10. While your risotto is cooking start the gastrique. Aim to start it about halfway through the cook time on the risotto to allow everything to finish around the same time.
  11. To make the gastrique cook minced shallot in butter in a small sauce pot until it becomes translucent.
  12. Add pomegranate seeds, orange juice, lemon juice, sugar, wine, and vinegar. Whisk periodically.
  13. Allow gastrique to cook down to about half the volume it originally was. Remove from heat, and strain. The sauce should thicken up as it cools, but if it still seems thin you can cheat a bit by putting it back on the stove, and adding a teaspoon of cornstarch mixed with a teaspoon of water to get it to thicken up.
  14. Once the gastrique and the risotto are fully cooked you’ll want to make the scallops. They only take about five minutes to cook, so just cover the other dishes to allow them to stay warm. In a separate pan heat some butter. I saved some herbs, shallot, and garlic to season the scallops with, and if you’d like to do this too add them in now.
  15. Once the pan is hot enough, you should hear it sizzle when you put the scallops down, add all of your scallops to the pan on one of the flat sides. You can add drip some of the marinade on top of them as they cook for added flavor.
  16. Keep a close eye on the scallops as they cook. Once they have a nice sear on the bottom immediately flip them. Once a nice sear is starting to develop on the final side deglaze the pan with a bit of white wine, and lemon juice. Top them with some sea salt and pepper, and then remove from heat.
  17. Plate your scallops, risotto, and gastrique up nicely with a side salad of undressed micro-greens. For our dishes we brushed on the gastrique, loaded the risotto into a small bowl to shape it, and placed it on the plate. We arranged the scallops neatly around the risotto, and garnished with citrus slices and micro-greens. Enjoy.

Vegan “Scallops” With White Wine Cream Sauce

For our first official recipe post we figured we should do something special.  These vegan scallops with white wine and garlic pasta are a little bit more “upscale” than a lot of the recipes we’ll be blogging about.  However, they are incredibly delicious and decadent.

Nick and I celebrated our second anniversary a few months ago, and it has become our tradition to make a special anniversary dinner that neither of us has tried before.  This was our first time making vegan “scallops”, and I think it turned out pretty great.  They were pretty dead on in flavor to actual scallops, and the white wine and garlic cream sauce  played really well with the saltiness.

Before I went vegan shellfish were one of my favorite things to eat.  This recipe really delivered in its ability to mimic that unique shellfish flavor, so this makes a great dish for a dinner party with non-vegan friends and family.

There are a few things to consider when it comes to choosing ingredients for any recipe, especially if you have dietary restrictions. Choosing to eat vegan usually entails making the most ethical choices in regards to your ingredients. You may already know that a lot of wines and beers aren’t vegan as they often use animal products during the clarification process. We chose to use Bonterra Chardonnay. Bonterra’s white wines are vegan, however, their reds are not. If you need help finding alcohol for cooking, or drinking, that is vegan http://www.barnivore.com/ is a great tool.

We used king trumpet mushrooms for this recipe, simply because we couldn’t find king oyster mushrooms at our local food co-op where we normally shop for produce.  King Oyster mushrooms are just a larger version of King Trumpet, so if you would prefer having bigger scallops you might want to search for the King Oyster instead.  Just be aware that this substitution may slightly alter the cooking time of the scallops, but the flavor should remain the same.

Vegan Scallops with White Wine Cream Sauce

Scallops

  • 7-10 large king trumpet mushrooms
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 Not Chick’n Bouillon
  • 1 tbsp White Miso Paste
  • ½ Cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp Tamari
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Caper juice
  • Splash of green olive juice (optional)
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance Butter

Pasta and White Wine Cream Sauce

  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 shallot
  • 4+ large cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ earth balance butter
  • 1 ¾ cup oat milk or other non-dairy milk
  • ¼ dry white wine
  • 1 package of spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • Black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Begin by marinating the “scallops”. Wash the mushrooms and cut them into scallop sized pieces. You’ll want them to be about 1-1 ¼ in thickness. If you’d like, you can dice up the caps to add them to the sauce later. Set the caps aside.
  2. Combine the brine marinade in a mixing bowl. Add in the Not Chick’n Bullion and White Miso. Pour the warm water over top. Make sure the water is warm enough to dissolve the bullion with a little bit of stirring. Whisk the ingredients together until there are no clumps. Add the vegan white wine. Add the tamari, olive oil, caper juice, and a splash of green olive juice. The green olive juice is optional, and you might want to give your brine a taste before adding it to ensure that it doesn’t become overly salty. You’ll want it to be pretty salty, so that the scallops pick up all of that flavor, but you should still be able to taste the other notes of the wine and miso.
  3. Score your scallops if you desire. Throw the scallops in with the brine, and refrigerate for at least an hour. This is a good opportunity to prep all of the other ingredients while you wait.
  4. Start prepping the other ingredients needed for the sauce. Mince shallot and garlic, and set aside in a bowl. Cut down the parsley into thin ribbons. Cut the lemon in half, and squeeze the juice into a bowl. You can squeeze it directly above your saucepan if you wish, but squeezing them into a bowl is a great way to make sure seeds don’t end up in the sauce. Separately measure out the non-dairy milk, and white wine.
  5. Once you’ve finished prepping and the mushrooms have brined for long enough you’re ready to start making the sauce, and pasta. Start a pan of water to boil on the stove.
  6. While you’re waiting for the pot to come to a boil, start putting together the sauce. You’ll want to simmer it for a while, so that it can build a robust flavor. Start by making a roux in the pan. Add your vegan butter. Once it’s melted down add your flour, slowly stirring to combine. It’s important that you measured out the oat milk, and white wine, so you can add them quickly to prevent the roux from sticking to the pan and burning. Make sure there are no lumps left in the roux and then add the non-dairy milk, followed by the white wine. Now is when you’ll add in the minced shallot and garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and mushroom caps (if you’ve chosen to use them). Add a dash of salt, and a whole lot of pepper. Taste it as you go. You can always add more as you go, but you can’t take it away.
  7. Once the water has come to a boil add the spaghetti in. Set a timer for a few minutes shy of the time provided by the cooking instructions on the box. This should end up being about 6-8 minutes depending on the pasta. You’ll want the pasta to be just shy of al dente when you strain it, because you’ll be adding the pasta into the cream sauce to simmer for another minute or two.
  8. At this point the cream sauce should have started to thicken up. In a separate pan start searing the scallops, so they finish up at the same time as the pasta. Heat the pan, and add the earth balance butter. Melt the butter down, and gently add the “scallops” to the pan. Season them well with salt and pepper. Make sure you do this on the other side when you turn them over. They’ll cook for about four minutes on each side, and will start to get a nice sear when it’s about time to flip them. If they start sticking to the pan at any point you can deglaze them with a bit of the brine, or a little of your white wine. Set your scallops aside on a plate when they’re finished.
  9. Strain the pasta when it’s done boiling, and add it into the cream sauce. Use tongs to turn it over in the sauce, and make sure it’s thoroughly coated. Now would be a good time to add a few of those capers from the caper juice you used earlier if you’d like a little extra pop of flavor throughout. Cook for a minute or two until pasta is al dente.
  10. To plate your pasta hit it with a little bit of lemon juice, some additional salt and pepper, and parsley. Gently set the scallops on top, or off to the side.