Sweet and Sour Scallop Kabobs.
Succulent sea scallops, crisp broccoli florets and sweet pineapple chunks brushed in a quick soy ginger marinade, grilled to perfection and served with a soy ginger peanut sauce. This is an easy, kid-friendly and over-the-top-delicious meal idea perfect for busy back-to-school nights.
Thanks to my friends at the Seafood Nutrition Partnership for sponsoring this post, as part of an ongoing partnership. As always, all opinions are my own.
Happy August! I have SO been looking forward to this month for many reasons:
1.) TIME OFF. This mamma had a lot of projects in June and July, so those lazy summer days were pretty much nonexistent. This month looks to have many more beach days, more bbqs on the deck, more evenings at our local clam shack eating fried scallops and lobster rolls, trips to the ice cream shop and hopefully many more hours unplugged.
2.) FAMILY FUN. My parents are renting a place in Wellfleet (further down the Cape) right on the water for a couple weeks, so we will be spending lots of time with them, my sisters/nieces/nephew/brother-in-law. Adrian’s sister and family are also visiting right now, so Lucca and Lexi are getting a few days of fun in the sun with their California cousins.
3.) SEAFOOD. I know you’re thinking, “but Jenny, you are always talking about seafood.” Yep. I know. But … this month is really all about the seafood. I’ve taken the pledge to eat #Seafood2xWk and am partnering with the Seafood Nutrition Partnership to bring YOU easy, kid-friendly and delicious recipes (including these Sweet and Sour Scallop Kabobs) this month as we gear up for the busy back-to-school season. Together, we want to make it easier for you and your family to make healthy, delicious and easy seafood meals 2x/week in your kitchen.
Why Seafood 2xWk?
- Seafood is rich in nutrients needed for overall health and growth and development. Eating 2 servings/ wk, as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association and many other leading health organizations — is an easy way to make a positive commitment to your health and the health of those around you.
- Seafood is packed with Vitamins A and D — necessary for normal eye and bone development. Just one serving of salmon provides 100% of the daily recommended value for Vitamin D. Most Americans do not get enough Vitamin D.
- Seafood (particularly fatty fish like salmon) is rich in omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA) — essential for growth and development, especially of the eyes and brain (1).
- Kids who eat fish at least once per week may do better in school. Research shows an association between fish intake and better grades (2). Though my little ones aren’t yet in formal school, this is fascinating to me and I will make sure to always have this in mind when planning meals.
- Early exposure to seafood encourages kids to be lifelong fish eaters for lifelong benefits.
- Eating seafood 2 to 3 times per week has been proven to reduce risk of death from any health-related cause (3).
- Most importantly, seafood is tasty, easy to prepare and quick to cook.
The brain health and seafood connection really hits home for me, because Lucca (age almost 3) and Lexi (age 1) are at an age where their brains are developing rapidly. I want to do everything I can to ensure healthy brain growth and development, which will help ensure mental sharpness and good memory function for them in the future.
Now, back to these Sweet and Sour Scallop Kabobs.
Lucca and Lexi had never had scallops before up until a few weeks ago. We thought it was finally time to give the kiddos a taste of what they’ve been missing. I think the reason we waited so long is because I was nervous about Lucca having a reaction. If you remember, many months ago we had him allergy tested for white fish and all sorts of shellfish because he had a weird reaction back in the fall to cod or haddock (I can’t remember which). All the skin prick tests came back negative. And, knock on wood, he hasn’t had a reaction again and he’s eaten white fish many times since, along with lobster, shrimp and now, scallops. PHEW and fingers crossed.
Lexi has thus far seemed fine with all of the seafood she’s tried – and like her parents and brother – she seems to just love it. After all, if you’re going to live in our house, it’s a requirement to love your seafood. Kidding … but not really.
It’s no surprise to you that we love scallops. You’ve seen much scallop love on this blog over the years. We love scallops because of their sweetness and tenderness, but also because they cook in mere minutes … so they are perfect for busy back-to-school nights.
Today, I’m bringing you our first, truly kid-focused and kid-approved scallop recipe. It’s fast, simple and your whole family will love it. It combines broccoli (a kid fave) and pineapple (another kid fave). Plus, there’s a dipping sauce … and what kid doesn’t love a dipping sauce?! While being kid friendly, this scallop recipe is also plenty sophisticated for mom and dad.
To make these Sweet and Sour Scallop Kabobs, get your hands on the freshest sea scallops you can buy. We get ours from our favorite local fish market, The Clam Man in Falmouth, MA. The sea scallops come from off the coast of Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod. You’ll make a quick marinade (you’ll set aside an unused portion for the dipping sauce) that you’ll brush on the scallops/broccoli/pineapple.
Then you’ll throw them on the grill. Stay near them – you don’t want to overcook them! You’ll flip them over after 2-3 minutes on one side. In total, these kabobs will be on the grill for less than 10 minutes. Our sea scallops are large, so yours may be on the grill for even less time. The broccoli will be crisp tender when you remove it. And the pineapple will be a bit caramelized. You’ll whip up the peanut sauce with the reserved marinade, plus warm peanut butter and honey.
This peanut dipping sauce is so good that Lucca was eating it by the spoonful. And it was a great way to get him to gobble up that broccoli.
To serve these kabobs for the kiddos, I took the scallops, broccoli and pineapple off the sticks. Lucca is not to be trusted with sticks of any kind. Then, I chopped Lexi’s scallop/broccoli/pineapple up into little pieces – she loved all of it.
We served the kabobs with brown rice, but feel free to use your favorite whole grain – farro would go well too.
Here’s how to make these Sweet and Sour Scallop Kabobs:
Sweet and Sour Scallop Kabobs
- Metals skewers or wooden skewers soaked for 30 minutes
- 1/2 pineapple cored and cut into bite-sized chunks reserve other half for another use
- 2 broccoli heads broken into bite-sized florets
- 1 lb fresh sea scallops tough side muscles removed
QUICK MARINADE - you will reserve 1/4 of this marinade for the peanut sauce
- 1/4 cup 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh crushed ginger
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
PEANUT SAUCE - combine with 1/4 of the above and add:
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- Brown rice or other whole grain
- Preheat grill to medium high heat. Clean and oil grates.
- Add pineapple, broccoli and sea scallops to skewers, alternating. If you have more broccoli and pineapple than scallops, make a skewer or two without scallops.
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well. Set aside ¼ of the marinade in a separate bowl (you’ll use this for the peanut sauce). Brush marinade on both sides of scallop skewers.
- In a small bowl, heat peanut butter and honey for 15 seconds in the microwave. Stir to combine, then stir in the reserved unused marinade. Mix well.
- Place skewers on grill. Discard any remaining marinade.
- Flip skewers after 2-3 minutes and grill until scallops turn white or opaque and are slightly firm to the touch, about 6-8 minutes total. Remove from grill.
- Serve skewers with peanut dipping sauce, lime wedges and brown rice.
PIN this grilled scallop recipe for later:
1. Simopoulos AP. Omega-3 fatty acids in health and disease and in growth and development. Am J Clin Nutr 1991: 54:438-63.
2. Kim, J.-L., Winkvist, A., Åberg, M. A., Åberg, N., Sundberg, R., Torén, K. and Brisman, J. Fish consumption and school grades in Swedish adolescents: a study of the large general population. Acta Pædiatrica. 2010: 99: 72–77. doi:10.1111/j.1651-2227.2009.01545.x.
3. Mozaffarian D, Rimm EB. Fish intake, contaminants, and human health: evaluating the risks and the benefits. JAMA. 2006;296:1885-99.