Seared Scallops over Sweet Potato Purée

with toasted hazelnuts

Hi! Welcome to “good mood food” from Kale Me Maybe’s Carina Wolff. If you don’t already, please be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on future issues! You can expect recipes in your inbox every Tuesday.

First of all, hello!! So happy you are all here as early supporters of “good mood food.” It means so much to me that you’ve chosen to join me in this new venture! I’m really looking to connect more deeply on here, so please feel free to comment, email me, etc. as this newsletter goes on.

Now, for the recipe. Have you ever had an overcooked scallop? They’re dry and shriveled and excessively chewy. Those were the scallops I ate growing up, and they scared me away from eating them for a really long time (love you Dad, but you did not know how to cook scallops).

It took preparing scallops myself for me to learn that scallops have a whole other flavor profile when they’re cooked for a short time. Scallops should be tender and sweet, with a nice caramelized finish on the top. Once I discovered what scallops were supposed to taste like, I realized what a treat they could be.

Many scallop dishes can be pretty heavy, with cream sauce as the base. Although those can be delicious too, I personally prefer my scallop dishes to be light, fresh, and veggie-centric (surprise, surprise).

Because scallops can be pricey, and you still want to be full when you make a scallop dish, sweet potato makes a great base, as it can help you stay satiated. I added toasted hazelnuts so you not only get some nice contrasting soft and crunchy textures but have a nice balance of carbohydrates and fat. I used some lemon and cumin in the sweet potato purée to give it flavor but keep it light.

As always, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@kalememaybe) if you make this dish! I absolutely LIVE for seeing everyone else make my recipes, so please don’t hold back.

Seared Scallops with Toasted Hazelnuts and Sweet Potato Purée

Ingredients (serves 2)

Sweet Potato Purée

  • 1 medium/large sweet potato

  • 1/2 tsp cumin

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (1 lemon)

  • 3 tbsp water

Toasted Hazelnuts

  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped


  • 10 jumbo scallops (about 1 lb, maybe a little less)

  • 1 tbsp butter

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Place sweet potato on a baking sheet, and roast 45 minutes to an hour until sweet potato is soft and can be easily pierced with a fork. Set aside until sweet potato is cool enough to handle.

2. Lower the oven temperature to 350 F. Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil, and then add the hazelnuts. Bake for 10 minutes until hazelnuts are golden brown and fragrant.

3. When sweet potato is cool enough to handle, add it to a food processor or high-speed blender along with cumin, garlic cloves, olive oil, lemon juice, and water. Pulse/blend until smooth. Divide the purée evenly between two plates, spreading it on with a spoon.

4. To prepare scallops, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat up a medium/large pan (non-stick or cast-iron) on medium-high heat. Add butter, and once butter has melted and is hot, add the scallops. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Scallops should be golden on the outside and warm on the inside. Transfer to the plates with the sweet potato pureé, and top with the toasted hazelnuts. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.

What I’m Craving This Week: Fresh veggies! We’ve been in Austin for almost a month now, and I’ve been loading up on all the tacos and BBQ, eating MUCH more meat than I’m used to. When I’m at home in the kitchen, fresh veggies are calling my name. I’ve been really into roasting red peppers. I’ve been loving just tossing them in oil and salt or blending them into a sauce for pasta.

Recipe I’m Loving: Diala’s Kitchen’s Green Goddess Sauce from her Salmon Tartine recipe. So far, I’ve used it on toast and in a salmon rice bowl! It’s made with Greek yogurt and herbs, and it’s so flavorful and worth keeping on hand to dress up your dishes.