Keto Scallops with Romesco Sauce

Keto Scallops with Romesco Sauce is one of our favorite appetizers. We love Spanish food. Anything with a Spanish Romesco sauce is a treat to the taste buds. It goes so well with chicken and any seafood. But, when combined with scallops, it becomes a masterpiece! If you are looking for a low-carb recipe that will dazzle your guests at any party, this is the one for you.

We recently purchased two pounds of dry scallops and decided to prepare another old favorite, Keto Scallops with Jarlsberg Cheese Sauce. We could not finish them all. Who wants to freeze beautiful fresh scallops? So, we decided to make another plateful of seared scallops. This time we chose a Romesco sauce. That is the beauty of scallops, you can enjoy the sweet taste with a light Jarlsberg cheese sauce one night, and then pair them with a smoky tangy Romesco sauce the next night!


We like large sea scallops for most scallop recipes – these were 10-12 in size and although they are perfect for appetizers, you can make a meal for two. Smaller bay scallops are best for soups, garlic-butter side dishes, and Coquille St. Jacques recipes. However, the larger sea scallops have so much more sweetness. Dry sea scallops are not flash frozen. They are more expensive, but they do taste fresher. Regardless, even if you buy previously frozen sea scallops, make sure you pat them dry to remove excess water.

Romesco sauce is the Spanish version of Marinara Sauce. It combines many of the expected and readily available Spanish ingredients into a taste that is befitting the cuisine. It is a sauce that can be purchased in specialty stores or online (click here), but it tastes so much better when homemade. The ingredients are readily available – red peppers, tomatoes, almonds, garlic, onions, and smoked paprika. There is a hint of thyme leaves and some Spanish wine to top off the ingredient list.

The special flavor of authentic Romesco sauce comes from Ñora peppers. They are difficult to find. You can purchase them online and we can actually taste the difference when we use these special Spanish peppers. They are dried and shipped quickly so you may wish to try them. Tonight we substituted a dried Guajillo pepper, it adds just a touch of heat. Remember, Spanish food is not hot, just flavorful.

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Preparation Tips

Searing your scallops is the needed preparation tip. The technique is so easy, yet so many folks end up with over-cooked rubbery or poached scallops that are missing the classic crust. For Keto Scallops with Romesco Sauce you must have seared scallops. It is simple. First, a medium-high cast iron skillet. Second, use a high smoke point avocado oil. Third, dry the scallops and season simply with salt and pepper. Finally, two minutes on one side, flip and finish for one more minute. Result -> Perfectly Seared Scallops!

You need a top-notch food processor that can handle pulverizing your sliced almonds. They are the key to the chunky presentation you see in the pictures in our post. Joanie loves her new Breville Sous Chef food processor. It is a real workhorse, cleans up easily, and can handle everything perfectly from nuts to cheese. The Romesco sauce is simple – load up the food processor and in a few seconds you have a delicious Spanish sauce.

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Scallops with Romesco Sauce – The Perfect Tapas

Keto Scallops with Romesco Sauce is the perfect Spanish tapas for your next get together! The crusty seared scallops and the sweet buttery texture of the seafood is fantastic. Combine it with the smoky tangy Romesco sauce and you truly have a Spanish restaurant masterpiece. One final touch -> drizzle thyme and garlic infused melted butter on top before serving. Enjoy this Tasty Low Carb favorite!

Keto Scallops with Romesco Sauce

Recipe by Joanie and Chris
5.0 from 16 votes
Course: Small Plates, Fish and SeafoodCuisine: SpanishDifficulty: Easy


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Keto Scallops with Romesco Sauce is the perfect Spanish tapas for your next get together! The buttery sweet scallops taste great dipped in the smoky tangy Romesco sauce! A Spanish restaurant masterpiece!

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  • Romesco Sauce
  • 1 1 Red Bell peppers roasted

  • 2 2 Roma tomatoes roasted

  • 1/2 small 1/2 small Onion roasted

  • 1 head 1 head Garlic Halved with outer skin removed, roasted

  • 1 1 Guajillo chili dried (reconstitued)

  • 1/4 cup 36 g Almonds sliced

  • 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon Lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon Thyme leaves fresh

  • 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon Smoked paprika La Dalia

  • 1 teaspoons 1 teaspoons Sea salt

  • 2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons Red wine

  • Scallops
  • 1 pound 454 g Sea Scallops about 12

  • 2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons Avocado oil (or Grapeseed oil)

  • 3 tablespoons 3 tablespoons Butter

  • 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon Thyme leaves

  • 1/8 teaspoon 1/8 teaspoon Garlic powder

  • Sea salt

  • Pepper


  • Romesco Sauce
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees. Add the Bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic half, and onion to a parchment lined baking pan. Brush the vegeatbles with olive oil and roast until they are slightly charred, about 35 minutes.
  • While the vegetables roast, toast the chili in a small sauté pan on medium heat for 30 seconds on each side. Place the chili in a bowl of hot water (covered) for 15 miniutes, until rehydrated. Cut open and remove the top and seeds. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the same sauté pan over medium heat. Toast the almonds for 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
  • When the roasted vegetables are cool enough, peel them. Remove the seeds, tops, and membranes from the peppers. Break the garlic cloves loose and squeeze out the pulp. Cut the core from the tomatoes.
  • Add the roasted vegetables, the chili, almonds, thyme, lemon juice, smoked paprika, sea salt, and red wine to a food proceesor and blend into a thick sauce.
  • Scallops
  • Pat scallops dry on paper towels. Make sure you get as much water out as possible. Buy dry scallops if you can. Allow to reach room temperature before searing.
  • Melt the butter in a microwave with the chopped thyme and garlic powder – set aside, but keep warm.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the scallops on one side with salt and pepper.
  • Add the avocado oil until heated (just smoking). Add scallops, salted side down. You will hear them sizzle. Immediately salt and pepper the second side. Cook the scallops for 2 minutes, do not move them at all.
  • Flip the scallops with tongs and cook for 1 minute more. Baste with the thyme-garlic butter. Remove the scallops, plate on top of the Romesco sauce. Garnish with thyme leaves.


Chef’s Notes

  • To create an authentic Romesco you should use dried Ñora peppers from Spain. They are difficult to find but can be purchased in the United States – click here. Most authentic recipes call for bread in the Romesco sauce. We have eliminated this to keep the carbs low.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 307.9kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 11g
  • Protein: 17.1g
  • Fat: 20.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.8g
  • Cholesterol: 49.8mg
  • Sodium: 1099.5mg
  • Potassium: 531.1mg
  • Fiber: 3.2g
  • Sugar: 3.4g
  • Vitamin A: 2035IU
  • Vitamin C: 49.4mg
  • Calcium: 65mg
  • Iron: 1.6mg
La Dalia Sweet Smoked Paprika from Spain, 2.469 Oz
  • Estimated Product Size: 2.5 oz
  • Country of Origin: Spain

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