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Tofu Scallops

tofu-scallops (1)

I only tasted scallops once and they tasted like rubber. So I figured I didn’t like them. After watching many cooks make them on TV and screw them up, I realized that the one I had tasted wasn’t cooked well. Oh well…

I made these vegan scallops for a friend who asked for a vegan version of some foods his father liked. It’s always a challenge to veganize a food I didn’t eat before I was vegan (or only tasted once). But I did ask people who have eaten scallops to taste-test them and they said I hit the nail on the head…and that I cooked them right too! 🙂

The tofu needs to be pressed really well. REALLY WELL. You want the tofu to be firm and not crumble or loosen in the marinade. I used a biscuit cutter to get the cute round shapes. The “sea trinity” of ingredients (I just made that term up) of kelp flakes, Old Bay and lemon give you that flavor of seafood.



Making these was fun and it really made me appreciate everything I ever heard on TV cooking shows about how to sear scallops properly – see those beautiful rings on the sides? The seasonings cooking in the melted butter smelled so incredible, I swore I was back at City Island. This is a way to have the flavors of the sea but leave the sea animals alone.



My Tofu Scallops are so delicious and they make a beautiful presentation. Serve them over pasta or in a scampi or just make a bunch to serve as an appetizer or hors d’oeuvres. Enjoy!


Tofu Scallops



Makes 8 scallops
1 block extra-firm tofu, pressed and drained
2 Tbs. gluten-free tamari
2 Tbs. vegetable broth
Kosher salt
Kelp flakes
Old Bay Seasoning
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
Lemon slices

Cut the block of tofu in half and then cut each half in two width-wise. You should have 4 thin rectangles. I used a 1.75 inch-biscuit cutter to press 2 circles out of each rectangle of tofu. If you don’t have a biscuit cutter, you can use a cookie cutter or even the top of a can of cooking spray. Save the leftover tofu pieces for a stir-fry. Using a paring knife, cut a shallow X in the top and bottom of each scallop.

Combine the tamari and the broth in a shallow bowl. Marinate the scallops for at least 30 minutes. Remove them from the marinade and pat the scallops dry with a paper towel. If they are wet, they will not sear in the pan. Sprinkle the scallops with a bit of salt, kelp flakes and Old Bay Seasoning on both sides.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil and the butter to the pan. When the butter melts, carefully place each scallop in the pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan; if your pan can’t hold all 8 scallops comfortably, cook them in 2 batches. Once you put the scallop down, don’t move it. Don’t touch it. Let it form a sear. You should be able to see the bottom of the scallop browning.
After about 2 minutes, carefully flip the scallops over and cook on the other side. While the 2ndside is cooking, tilt the pan and use a large spoon to baste the tops of the scallops with the butter and oil. This will keep them from drying out. You should see the sides of the scallops turning brown like pretty rings. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain before serving. Serve with lemon slices.


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12 Responses to Tofu Scallops

  1. K.V, April 11, 2015 at 6:16 pm #

    I appreciate the recipe. It would have been nice to see pics of how you cut it. I used a 14 oz. pack of tofu, and no way could I get 8 such huge circles out of it. 🙁

    • Rhea April 11, 2015 at 6:42 pm #

      Hi K.V. There is a picture of how I cut the scallop shapes. Plus I explained how to cut the block of tofu: “Cut the block of tofu in half and then cut each half in two width-wise. You should have 4 thin rectangles. I used a 1.75 inch-biscuit cutter to press 2 circles out of each rectangle of tofu.” I use a regular block of tofu and depending on how much it presses, I always get 8 rounds – though sometimes if the block shrinks, I get 8 rounds with a bit of an arc on the side because it’s a drop smaller than the cutter.

  2. Rhea Parsons July 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    Janne, I’m so glad you liked them! My tofu is also really firm with little water. Great idea with the miso! Thanks for letting me know and for the picture! I’ll post it to the Facebook page.

  3. Janne July 30, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    OK–so I Twittered my delight with these. I thought these were outstanding. I did a couple of things differently (out of necessity rather than ‘tinkerin’). I only had Wildwood’s Super Firm tofu (not frozen) which turned out to produce slightly thicker scallops as there is hardly any water to press out. I could NOT find the size biscuit cutter you had suggested (have every size but that one) so used a 1 1/2″. I think it worked fine. And lastly, did not want to thaw out 2 cups of veggie broth, so I used 1/4 tsp of miso dissolved in 3T of water. Worked just fine; left off the kosher salt since miso has plenty of salt. The sear worked perfectly and I was just happy as a clam/scallop. Thanks!!

  4. Rhea Parsons July 30, 2013 at 1:46 am #

    Hi Janne,
    I did not freeze the tofu. I rarely do. I just pressed it in my Tofu Xpress for a long time and the tofu I buy, Woodstock Foods, is very firm to begin with.

    Sometimes when I freeze tofu and then thaw it, it seems fragile to me.

    Hope you enjoy the scallops.

  5. Janne July 30, 2013 at 1:38 am #

    Hey–gonna try the scallops tonight! They look wonderful. Quick question…did you freeze your tofu before you used it for the scallops or leave it ‘fresh’. I usually freeze my tofu to give it more texture. Thanks! Will let you know how they turn out!

  6. Rhea Parsons July 28, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    Anonymous, I am guessing right now because I don’t have a pressed block of tofu in front of me. I use 14 oz. blocks and I think that the tofu medallion (which is with the block cut in half) is less than an inch high. It’s the size of an actual scallop, like half a marshmellow? Sorry, I will measure the block nect time I press it.

    DLR, the creamy sauce is a lemon coconut cream sauce. Just melt vegan butter, add canned coconut milk, lemon,vegan grated cheese. Thank you.

    Thank you Kyleigh!

  7. Kyleigh July 28, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    Wow, these look amazing! I’m going to have to try these for sure!

  8. Anonymous July 28, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    What is the height of the tofu medallion before it’s cooked? Not all tofu blocks are the same dimension. Thanks!

  9. DLR July 28, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    Rhea: What are the tofu scallops sitting atop of? That creamy pasta looks wonderful. PS: Thank you for your hard work & dedication to providing us with these awesome recipes. GO VEGAN OR GO HOME! 🙂

  10. Anonymous July 28, 2013 at 6:59 am #

    Thank you for all of your great recipes. Thank you for all the time you dedicate to your work.


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