Scallop Tostadas with Herb Vinaigrette.

Crisp corn tortillas topped with avocado, black beans, arugula, red cabbage, cotija or feta cheese and sauteed bay or sea scallops then drizzled with a simple herb vinaigrette made with chopped cilantro, scallions, extra virgin olive oil and lime juice.

This is a stunning small plate that celebrates fresh, local sea or bay scallops.

Scallops are one of our favorite splurges. And we prefer to make them at home versus get them when eating out (even pre-Covid) because restaurants overcook them 99% of the time. We buy and love both bay scallops and sea scallops, but used the bay scallops in these tostadas.

What’s the difference between sea scallops and bay scallops?

Sea scallops are much larger than bay scallops (usually at least 3 times the size). They are more meaty, but still rich, luxurious and delicate with a clean taste, just like the sea.

Bay scallops are smaller, sweeter, more tender and a bit more delicate than sea scallops – they’re basically sea candy. They are typically available from November through February or March, but I’m told that this year the season is going to extend until May (good news for us bay scallop lovers!). They are pricey at $40/lb, but they are worth the spend for a treat.

We have made this recipe with both bay and sea scallops. Use whichever scallops you prefer or whichever you can get your hands on for these tostadas. When purchasing scallops, make sure you buy dry packed scallops, which have not been treated with any chemicals – there should be nothing added to the scallops you buy. Wet packed scallops have been treated with a chemical solution that makes the scallops appear white and preserves them, causing them to release water when they cook – so you can never get a good sear with them.

How do you prepare these scallops?

Our favorite way to prepare scallops, as you likely know, is to briefly sear them. We prefer them slightly undercooked in the center, so I’ll always take them off the heat once they have a nice sear on both sides and I see only their middle is translucent. I seared the scallops for these tostadas.

These tostadas were inspired by …

These tostadas were inspired by a lunch about 6 years ago at a local Mexican Bistro here on the Cape called Anejo. At the time I had an amazing scallop tostada topped with bacon, guacamole, salsa, cotija cheese and more. The sea scallops were fried and they were oh so good. This tostada is a spin off of Anejo’s, but it’s a lighter version (nothing fried here), with lots of fresh, flavorful toppings.

How do I make these scallop tostadas?

You’ll brush the tortillas with olive oil, then bake until crispy and golden. Meanwhile, you’ll make an easy cilantro scallion vinaigrette. Then pan sear the scallops. Then assemble to tostadas by layering the corn tortillas with black beans, arugula, red cabbage, avocado, cotija (a firm-textured fresh white cheese – slightly salty, mild and tangy), scallions, cilantro and seared scallops. Then drizzle with the herb vinaigrette and serve with lime wedges. So good!!

These tostadas are perfect as an appetizer or an entree. They would also be great for a dinner party or a tapas style get together … if we ever get back to doing those “normal” things.

Here’s how to make these Seared Scallop Tostadas with Herb Vinaigrette:

An overhead image of a scallop tostada

Seared Scallop Tostadas

Crispy baked corn tortillas are topped with black beans, arugula, red cabbage, avocado, cotija or feta, seared scallops and an easy cilantro scallion vinaigrette.
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 543 kcal


For the corn tortillas

  • 8 small corn tortillas
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

For the cilantro scallion vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup cilantro divided (you'll use half in assembly below)
  • 4 scallions divided (you'll use half in assembly below)
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lime, juice of
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the scallops

  • 1 teaspoon sunflower oil or other high heat oil
  • 1 teaspoon salted butter
  • 1 lb sea or bay scallops side muscle removed
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For assembly

  • 1 avocado sliced or cut into chunks
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 15.5 ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 ounces cotija or feta cheese crumbled
  • cilantro, roughly chopped reserved from above
  • scallions, thinly sliced reserved from above

For serving

  • 1 lime cut into wedges


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place tortillas on baking sheet. Brush lightly with olive oil on both sides. Bake for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until crispy and lightly browned.
  • Make the vinaigrette by finely chopping 1/4 cup cilantro and 2 scallions. Add to a small bowl with extra virgin olive oil, lime juice and salt.
  • Heat a saute pan over medium high heat. Add oil and butter. Swirl fat when pan is hot. Add scallops. Cook on one side until a nice crust develops. Flip and cook until the center is still transparent, but the top and bottom are opaque with a nice crust. Cook time will vary depending on the size of scallop, type of scallop and your preference.
  • Assemble the tostadas by laying the corn tortillas flat, then topping with avocado (smash if you prefer), arugula, red cabbage, black beans, queso fresco or feta, scallops, cilantro and scallions. Drizzle with vinaigrette.
  • Serve tostadas with lime wedges.


Time saving tips:
  • Use pre-shredded red cabbage 
  • Skip baking the corn tortillas and just warm them on the stovetop and serve as tacos instead of tostadas
  • Skip the vinaigrette and just top with sliced scallions and chopped cilantro


Calories: 543kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 21gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 797mgPotassium: 743mgFiber: 8gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 921IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 168mgIron: 2mg
Keyword scallop tostada
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A PIN of scallop tostadas

This post was originally published on May 21st, 2016, but was recently updated with new images. 

Looking for more scallop recipes?

Baked Scallops with Panko

Scallop Tacos with Corn Salsa

Scallops with Bacon

Scallop Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette