Pumpkin Squash & Kale Risotto with Seared Scallops

On my ever-growing list of desired fall inspired dishes was this beautiful dinner combination, and holly heck did it pull through. I’m a big scallop fan, but for some reason I always associate them with the summer and lighter flavors. Recently, though, I saw a scallop with butternut squash puree on a restaurant menu and I knew I had to combine that flavor profile somehow. Of course, this originally was supposed to be a risotto base, but for a handful of reasons (I didn’t have any chicken broth in my apartment, I am trying to cut back on my dairy intake to see if it helps with my stomach, and a few others that will bore you) I went a different route. Knowing that I wanted to highlight the scallops and a fall squash, of which I chose kabocha squash but would also be delicious with butternut or delicata, I began to brainstorm other ingredients and flavors to get involved. Since it is a fall dish after all, I knew pumpkin had to be included, and in a constant effort to get my greens in, I decided kale would also pair nicely with this one. Alas, I whipped up this final result that was a delicious ending to my busy day.

Pumpkin squash and kale rice with seared scallops

While there are more steps to this recipe than my other ones, it is extremely easy and beneficial to multi-task in order to save time. All in all, this one comes together fairly quickly. To start, you are going to begin cooking your rice so that you can move on to the other steps while that is finishing. Using a strainer, rinse the brown rice with water until the water leaving the strainer is clear and no longer cloudy. Next, bring your pot to medium heat, add in some ghee, pour in the rinsed brown rice, and stir for about 1 minute. This allows for the rice to toast a bit and brings in an additional nutty undertone flavor to the final dish; something I always do when cooking rice, quinoa, or farro. Next, add in the water and pumpkin puree, cover the mixture, and cook on low heat stirring occasionally until all of the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked through (probably about 20 minutes).


While the rice is cooking you are now able to get started on the other parts of the dish. You will peel the squash, cut it into ¼ inch pieces, toss with avocado oil, salt, and pepper, and then place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and toss in the toaster oven (or regular oven) at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes. While the squash is cooking, its time to continue that multitasking! On a hot skillet with a bit of ghee, sear the scallops on each side for about 2 minutes (without touching them!). This will give them that nice golden brown crispy exterior that we all look for when eating scallops. After the scallops are cooked through, wash, destem, and chop the kale and then place on that same skillet with avocado oil and sauté. I’m all about minimizing the amount of dishes used in this recipe and this also allows you to soak up that extra scallop and browned butter flavor! After about five minutes, add in the rice and kabocha squash to this skillet and combine together. Season with additional salt and pepper and then top with the seared scallops before serving and enjoy!

If you’re interested in checking out some of my other recipes featuring fall flavors, here are a few of my favorites: pumpkin pie chia pudding, fall kale tahini salad, coconut curry butternut squash soup, and cinnamon apple butter overnight oats.

Pumpkin Squash & Kale Risotto with Seared Scallops 2

Pumpkin Squash & Kale Risotto with Seared Scallops

Yield: 2
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 40 Mtotal time: 50 M
Deliciously decadent fall dinner


  • Scallops (8-12 depending on their size)
  • Kale (1/2 head)
  • Kabocha squash (1)
  • Pumpkin puree (1/2 cup)
  • Brown rice (1/2 cup)
  • Ghee (1 teaspoon)
  • Avocado oil (1 teaspoon)
  • Water (1 ¼ cups)
  • Salt
  • Pepper


How to cook Pumpkin Squash & Kale Risotto with Seared Scallops

  1. Using a strainer, rinse the ½ cup of brown rice with water until the water leaving the strainer is clear and no longer slightly cloudy
  2. Place a pot over medium heat and add ½ teaspoon of ghee
  3. Place the rinsed rice in the pot and allow it to toast in the ghee for ~1 minute, continuously stirring
  4. Add the 1 ¼ cups of water and ½ cup of pumpkin puree into the pot, stir, and bring to a boil, covered
  5. Once it is boiling, lower the heat to low and allow to cook, covered and only occasionally stirring, until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid (about 20 minutes)
  6. While the rice is cooking, peel the skin off the kabocha squash and cut into small ¼ inch pieces
  7. Toss the squash in ½ teaspoon of avocado oil and ½ teaspoon each of salt & pepper
  8. Place the squash on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake in the oven at 425 for around 25 minutes, or until it is slightly crisped on the outside and fully cooked through on the inside
  9. While the squash and rice are cooking, prepare the scallops by rinsing them under cold water, removing the side muscle (the rectangular piece of tissue on the side) if it has one, patting dry, and seasoning with salt and pepper
  10. Bring a skillet to high heat and add ½ teaspoon of ghee and allow it to melt
  11. Once the skillet is hot, place the scallops down to sear on one side and leave there, untouched, for about 2 minutes
  12. Flip the scallops and do the same on the other side
  13. Once the scallops are cooked through, remove them from the skillet
  14. Prepare the kale by washing and destemming the leaves from the rib and then chopping into thin ribbons
  15. On the same skillet that you cooked the scallops on, add in ½ teaspoon of avocado oil and the kale and continuously toss for about five minutes to sauté the greens
  16. Add the rice and squash into that skillet with the kale and combine all together
  17. Season this rice mixture with salt and pepper and top with the scallops before serving
Allergen Information
  1. Dairy Free
  2. Gluten Free
  3. Soy Free
  4. Nut Free
  5. Pescatarian
Created using The Recipes Generator
Pumpkin Squash & Kale Risotto with Seared Scallops