Diabetes Quick Fix: Sauteed Scallops with Saffron Vegetable Pilaf

Sweet, tender scallops need very little cooking. In fact, to remain delicate and flavorful, they should be cooked only a few minutes over high heat in a skillet large enough to hold them in one layer without touching. The result will be a crusty coating while the inside remains juicy.

Helpful Hints:

-Buy good quality Parmesan cheese and ask the market to grate it for you or chop it in the food processor. Freeze extra for quick use. You can quickly spoon out what you need and leave the rest frozen.

-Bijol or turmeric can be substituted for saffron. Although the flavor will be altered, the dish is still very good.

-Small bay scallops can be used instead of the large sea scallops. Reduce cooking time to 1 minute per side.


-Start pilaf.

-Make scallops.

-Finish pilaf.


1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 cup frozen, chopped onion

1/2 cup portobello mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup long-grain white rice

1 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads

1 cup frozen peas

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and mushrooms. Saute 3 minutes. Add rice and saute one minute. Add chicken broth and saffron. Bring liquid to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook 10 minutes. Add peas and continue to simmer, covered, 3 minutes. Liquid should be absorbed and rice cooked through. Simmer a few more minutes if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve with scallops.

Per serving: 305 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 g fat, 1 g saturated, 54 mg cholesterol, 12 g protein, 54 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 370 mg sodium, 7 g sugars.

Exchanges/choices: 3 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 fat


2 teaspoons olive oil

3/4 pound large scallops

1/2 tablespoon flour

1/2 cup dry vermouth

1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallops and saute 2 1/2 minutes on each side. Remove scallops to a plate and add flour to pan. Add vermouth to the pan, raise the heat to high and reduce the liquid by half, about 1 minute. Add chicken broth and reduce by half again, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return scallops to the pan just to warm through, about 1/2 minute, and serve.

Per serving: 250 calories, 55 calories from fat, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated, 70 mg cholesterol, 31 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 475 mg sodium, 2 g sugars.

Exchanges/Choices: 4 lean meat, (1/2 alcohol equivalent)


Here are the ingredients you’ll need for tonight’s Dinner in Minutes.

To buy: 1 small package portobello mushrooms (1 oz needed), 1 small carton heavy cream, 1 small piece Parmesan cheese, 3/4 pound large scallops, 1 small package saffron threads, 1 small bottle, dry vermouth, 1 small package frozen peas, 1 small package frozen, chopped onion.

Staples: Olive oil, flour, long-grain white rice, fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth, salt and black peppercorns

(From “Mix’n’Match Meals in Minutes for People with Diabetes” by Linda Gassenheimer, published by the American Diabetes Association. Reprinted with permission from The American Diabetes Association. To order this book call 1-800-232-6733 or order online at http://store.diabetes.org)