Beyond basic, these scallop tacos need nothing more than clean, fresh flavors of tender scallops that cook in couple of minutes with sweet, juicy, and wildly colorful mango salsa. Healthy recipes that have a stunning presentation and most unique taste profile are always welcome at my table and in my belly!
Hello, long weekend! I’ve got no clue where the sunshine is, but I’ve got 4 consecutive days without an alarm, work, or any need to put on make-up or do my hair. I might try to go the whole weekend with sunscreen only. I’d like to try a new restaurant for my birthday, but otherwise we’ve got nothing solid on the schedule. Shea stayed up to shoot off little fireworks with Mark while Piper moped around and finally asked to go to bed. Girlfriend was #tired. She won Swimmer of the Week for their swim team and placed 1st in both her backstroke and freestyle races. Shea’s age group is far steeper competition and we’re trying to keep her grounded in the individual sport aspect of swimming, only trying to beat her own times.
While I have no plans to cook this weekend, there’s a few recipes that are carryover from last week. Not sure how I planned so poorly on my weekly menu, but I’m sure that I’ll whip up something basic at some point as to not waste food. Basic is where it’s at for me and while they look anything but, these scallop tacos with mango salsa were basic. Ripe mango chunks, tender avocado, fresh lime juice and fresh cilantro, stunning purple cabbage, and the star of the show: tender sea scallops. Epic and ready in minutes!
ROLL CALL FOR THIS RECIPE
- Taco Tuesday: Or….taco every day?! Seriously, there’s no limit on the creative ways to serve up tacos. And sure, scallops may not top the list of proteins in a taco, but perhaps that’s where we’re all going wrong. ‘Cause it totally, totally works. The fresh ingredients served up in these tacos offer one taco combination you won’t soon forget. You’ll soon be convincing others that scallop tacos, and more specifically THESE scallop tacos, should always have a seat at the table.
- Weeknight Warriors: Sure, there’s a bit of chopping for the salsa, but otherwise this meal whips together in no time. I love seafood for that very reason — it’s so quick-cooking! Added bonus that scallops take NO prep whatsoever. Thaw, if needed, and blot dry with paper towel. Period. The salsa can also be prepped ahead of time or simply the mango can be diced and refrigerated until ready to use. You can also buy it pre-cut (but it’s never quite as good!).
- Eat the Rainbow: It’s true, different colored fruits and vegetables offer different vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant properties. It’s not only beautiful and fun to eat different colored produce, it’s also best FOR you. These tacos offer stunning colors of yellow-orange, purple, and green. Purple produce is some of the least common and so I love to throw purple cabbage in various recipes to add that nutritional edge. If you’re looking to open up your loved ones, and in particularly your littles, the conversation about eating the rainbow is a great discussion topic. The concept is very approachable for kids while being nutritionally sound advice that’s appropriate for all ages. Remember, eat the rainbow!
KEY INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Mango: One of my favorite fruits! Native to South and Central America, there are several varieties of mangoes you might find sold in US grocers with availability and quality peaking in the spring and summer months. Be sure to check out the FAQ below on choosing and cutting mangoes. If you prefer to use fresh pineapple or peach, either would be a great substitute for mango in this recipe.
- Jalapeno: See the note below to make jalapenos less spicy. However, this salsa is not spicy as written. If you want to add additional heat, you can use more jalapenos or consider using serrano or habaneros, if you like things HOT!
- Avocado: I used a Hass avocado. See the FAQ below on choosing a ripe avocado. If you don’t love avocado, feel free to omit or double up on the mango in the recipe.
- Scallops: While large sea scallops are swoon-worthy, you want to use smaller scallops for the ease of eating tacos and to get these seared scallops on the table stat! You can certainly swap in shrimp for another seafood taco option.
- Chili Powder: This is a very small amount of chili powder for a hint of flavor to pair with the mango salsa, however it can most definitely be omitted. Scallops are buttery and flavorful on their own and heavy seasoning or much of any seasoning is not needed (or wanted!).
- Butter: Searing scallops in a bit of fat, butter or extra virgin olive oil will both work, helps get that light golden exterior while enhancing the buttery flavor.
- Tortillas: I chose flour tortillas because they have a more neutral flavor than corn. I want to taste all the scallops and mango – the tortilla is simply the vehicle with which the tacos are served. That said, feel free to use corn tortillas, whole wheat tortillas, or another tortilla variety of your liking – there are gluten-free, low-carb, and other varieties.
- Red Cabbage: Thinly slice red (purple) cabbage for a pop of color, texture, flavor, and nutrition. Green cabbage can be used in its place or omitted altogether.
- Cilantro: You can swap in sliced green onion or omit the cilantro, if you prefer.
VARIATIONS, STORAGE, and TIPS
- Store the scallops in any accumulated juices and reheat in the microwave. Store the mango salsa separate from the scallops in airtight containers. Both are best consumed within 3 days.
- Fruit salsa has endless variations, such as pineapple salsa, or adding finely diced red bell pepper or red onion.
- I recommend serving warm tortillas, however it is not necessary. You can do this by heating for 20 seconds in the microwave or over an open range flame, giving a light char, flipping often to avoid burning.
- We doubled the scallops, working in batches as to not overcrowd the skillet. These tacos reheated better than expected and were so well-loved that double up was most definitely the way to go!
Why do you remove the seeds and ribs of the jalapeño?
Capsaicin is the chemical in chiles that gives them their heat. Removing the seeds and white, inner ribs of the peppers dramatically reduces their heat while still proving great flavor. You can also leave the seeds and membranes to make a spicy mango salsa!
Why do you blot dry scallops before cooking?
Scallops release a lot of stored water in the cooking process so it is ideal to sear room temperature scallops that have been blotted dry. To achieve a good sear and light brown exterior to the scallop, you need less moisture along with some fat, like butter or oil.
How do you know when a mango is ripe?
I find that mangoes that are a rainbow of green-red-yellow that offer just a bit of give when gently squeezed are the most flavorful and give that beautiful yellow-orange hue when cut into and have the best flavor while still being semi-firm and easy enough to cut. That said, the gently squeeze of a mango is a better way to determine its ripeness than its color or color pattern. If a mango is too firm it either won’t be very sweet or it is under-ripe. If a mango has a few black spots on its outer skin, it is likely ripe or nearing over-ripe and soon to be mushy.
How to do you cut a mango?
There’s a few ways, but my personal favorite has less wasted mango and takes just a bit of skill and a sharp mid-sized knife. Slice off the bottom stem nub and expose about 1-2 inches of the mango to get a flat surface but with as little waste as possible. Stand the avocado up on the flat bottom and using your knife, start at the top of the avocado and cut off the skin and as little mango flesh as possible (you will take off just a bit). Continue around the avocado until you have removed all the skin. Slice two large chunks of mango off from around the wider sides of the mango which run parallel to the large pit. Remove any additional mango from around the pit and dice. Unlike scooping the mango from the skin, this method produces smooth, intact mango chunks.
How do you know when a Hass avocado is ripe?
You want your avocado to be more black versus green, or very close to near-black. It should have just a bit of give when gently squeezed. If the nub of a stem is in tact, you can flick it off with your nail and check to see if the fruit beneath is a bright green which indicates it is ready. Lumpy, green, or mushy avocados
- Thanks to that beautiful mango salsa, these tacos offer a respectable amount of fiber at 3.7 grams per taco.
- As noted above, healthy dinners include lots of color and these tacos LOOK like you’re eating the rainbow and with it, lots of good-for-you nutrients. Love that!
- Avocado is rich in unsaturated fat, as well as fiber. Anywhere I can add avocado, I tend to do so. They are nutritional powerhouses!
- If you want a lower-carb or gluten-free option, omit the tortillas and serve as a salad.
- This recipe is naturally dairy-free.
- 1 mango, diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 lb raw scallops (small, 30-40 count)
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 6 (6-inch) flour tortillas
- 1 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
- Combine mango, jalapeño, avocado and cilantro in a medium bowl; gently toss. Squeeze the lime juice over the top and sprinkle with salt; gently toss and set aside.
- Pat the scallops dry using paper towel.
- Add the butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once butter is hot and bubbly, add the scallops flat side down in a single layer and sprinkle with the chili powder and salt. Cook for 2 minutes; flip and cook for 2 additional minutes. Remove scallops from heat.
- Heat tortillas, if desired. Serve scallops, mango salsa, and red cabbage in each tortilla.
Recipe slightly adapted from Abra's Kitchen
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 prepared taco
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 219Total Fat: 7.8gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 448mgCarbohydrates: 26.0gFiber: 3.7gSugar: 7.2gProtein: 12.3g
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