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Spinach Risotto with Pistachio-Crusted Scallops

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When people ask me what my favorite thing to cook is, I usually will tell them risotto. There’s a million flavor combinations to try, and call me crazy, but I actually love the act of standing over the pot of food that I’m cooking. So if you don’t love to babysit your food, this might not be the recipe for you – or save it for a day you have some more time. Because honestly, it’s really worth it.


  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 12-15 large scallops
  • about 6 cups vegetable stock (if you’re feeling ambitious make a pot of homemade fennel and onion stock, generously seasoned with salt)
  • 2 tbsp toasted and finely ground fennel seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 cup raw pistachios
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 lemons
  • a few handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 2 cups of chopped herbs (I used basil, parsley, and lots of dill)
  • about 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • block of parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Toast pistachios until lightly toasted, about 6-7 minutes. Remove nuts from the oven and once cooled, chop (or blitz pistachios in a food processor) until it’s somewhat fine and crumbly. Set aside.
  2. Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water and set it on the counter near the boiling water. Once the water is at a rolling boil, blanch the spinach, and then each of the herbs (separately). You don’t need to blanch each for too long, just until they’re bright green (usually about 20-30 seconds or so). Quickly remove greens from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer to the ice bath. Squeeze out excess water from the spinach and herbs and lay flat on a paper towel-lined plate or tray. Set in the fridge for now.
  3. Get another medium pot and set over medium heat. Once the pot is hot, add a couple tbsp of olive oil to the pan. Add shallot and toasted fennel seeds until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the shallots. Then add in onion and garlic + stir. Add the white wine and cook down until most of the liquid has cooked out. Add the butter, and stir until it’s melted.
  4. Add the rice, and stir until coated in oil and well combined with the other ingredients.
  5. Start to add veggie stock, about a ladle at a time. Stir after each addition of liquid. When the liquid has absorbed into the rice, it’s time to add more stock. Continue this process until rice is cooked.
  6. While the rice is cooking (continue to keep a close eye), it’s time to make the green sauce.
  7. Roughly chop blanched spinach and herbs and add to a blender with plenty of olive oil. Blend the greens, while slowly adding olive oil until the mixture comes together into a pesto-like consistency. Add salt/pepper to taste.
  8. Once the rice is cooked you can turn off the heat and cover with a lid.
  9. To cook the scallops, get a large non-stick pan and set over high heat. Make sure scallops are patted dry. Season generously with salt on each side of the scallop. Once the pan is hot place scallops in the pan and try not to move them around – this will help them brown nicely. Cook scallops for about 1-2 minutes on each side.
  10. After the scallops are cooked press them into the pistachio mixture (it won’t stick perfectly, and that’s ok!)
  11. Now you’re ready to put everything together! Stir in the green sauce with the risotto, add a generous squeeze of lemon, top with scallops, lots of freshly grated parmesan, and freshly ground black pepper.
    **TIP! Only stir in the green sauce if you plan to eat it right away. Otherwise, the sauce will turn brown.



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I'm a dietitian, cook, and writer in New York City with a mission to spread the joy of food and eating, and empower others to live healthier and more delicious lives. I'll post on the blog to share some of my favorite recipes as well as fun and approachable nutrition tips and tricks. 

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