Scallops and spinach pasta, with mushrooms and pesto sauce (Instant Pot)

Get the healthy recipe for scallops with spinach pasta with mushrooms and pesto sauce, made quickly in the Instant Pot. With drink accompaniments and more.
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This Recipe uses:

  • Scallops
  • Wholewheat pasta
  • Spinach
  • White button mushrooms
  • Garlic flakes
  • Echalote flakes
  • Pesto or pistou sauce
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Crème fraiche (heavy cream)
  • Gruyère or emmental cheese

Coquilles St. Jacques, aka scallops in English, is one of those delicate ingredients that tends to be featured in a lot of French cuisine. With a long coastline along the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Mediterranean, eating scallops is quite a tradition in France.

Scallops are such a versatile ingredient that there are many different ways to cook it. As an appetizer, you can use scallops in a coquilles st. jacques in pesto sauce recipe, or creamy scallops version.

But for a healthy main dish, scallops and pasta (with a good dose of spinach and mushrooms) is a wonderfully hearty meal that is easy to make, especially when you cook it in the Instant pot.

In France, the fishing season for scallops starts in October, so they are peak freshness in December, right on time for Christmas. The tradition goes back to the pilgrims of Saint Jacques de Compostela (hence the name) who crisscrossed France and Spain with the shells around their neck.

But that isn’t to say you need to wait for winter to cook scallops with pasta! It tastes great all year round, paired with a white wine and of course the ubiquitous baguette. (You can skip the baguette if you wish.). Anyway, let’s get to cooking, shall we? Allons-y!

Tips to avoid overcooking the pasta

1. Don’t overcook the pasta

One of the big problems with cooking pasta in the instant pot is that it is rather easy to overcook the pasta. If you like pasta al dente, you are going to have to be very careful how you long you cook it.

The main tip to avoid overcooking is to take the amount of time it says on the box of pasta and divide it by three. If the pasta is undercooked, you can always press the Sauté button afterward to bring it to the level of al dente that you like.

To make it simple, I’ve noted this handy chart for cooking pasta in the Instant Pot:

Lowest
recommended
cook time
on the box of pasta
Pressure
Cooking time
on high
for Instant Pot
30
40
51
6-92
10-154

When you do put the Instant pot to zero at high pressure, the pasta will cook at during the warming up period.

2. Use wholewheat pasta

For a healthier option (and to avoid overcooking pasta), I like to use wholewheat pasta which tends not to become as soggy as quickly. You can use any sort of pasta you like, in this case I’ve use farfelle.

3. Use frozen scallops, spinach, and mushrooms

Scallops, spinach, and mushroom are all rather delicate ingredients, so I usually use frozen versions of them. Plus it is usually more practical, rather than sitting around chopping and cleaning the fresh versions!

Note, if you are using frozen ingredients, the type of pasta chosen should cook at least 3 minutes in the Instant pot.

4. Use quick release

While the big benefit of the Instant pot is that you can set it and walk away, pasta is one of those dishes that you do have to pay attention to and quick release the steam, rather than letting it out naturally.

5. Making your own pesto sauce

Now if you are in a hurry, you can always use store-bought pesto sauce, but if you would like to prepare your own batch, you can try my French version pistou sauce, which will add a ton of flavor to your dish.

Frequently asked questions

What to serve with it?

cutlery

Scallops and spinach with pasta is a meal in itself, but you can serve it with a light salad with vinegrette or baguette.
For an added oomph, try smoked salmon canapés as a starter and a French flan for dessert.

What drinks to serve with it?

two wine glasses

A light white wine like a Sancerre from France’s Val de Loire, Chablis from Bourgogne, or Reisling from Alsace will be excellent with scallops and pasta.

Can you freeze it?

freezer

Yes, scallops and spinach pasta can easily be frozen in an airtight container and put in the freezer. Just let the pasta cool first, before freezing.

scallops pasta with spinach and pesto

Recipe: Scallops and Spinach Pasta with pesto (Instant Pot)

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Scallops and spinach in an easy pasta dish for busy week nights, perfect for the Instant Pot

Ingredients

  • 1 lb frozen scallops
  • 12 oz farfelle wholewheat pasta
  • 3/4 cup frozen spinach
  • 3/4 cup of frozen white button mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of echalote flakes
  • 2 tablespoons of pesto or pistou sauce
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of crème fraiche (heavy cream)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded gruyère or emmental cheese

Instructions

  1. Place the pasta at the bottom of the instant pot.
  2. Add 2 1/2 cups water or until the pasta is completely covered.
  3. Place the scallops, spinach, and mushrooms into the pot.
  4. Add the garlic, eschalote, salt, pepper and pesto sauce to the instant pot.
  5. Set Instant pot on Manual High for 3 minutes.
  6. Once the instant pot has finished, quick release the steam.
  7. Stir the pasta and add in the heavy cream while using the Sauté button for 5 minutes.
  8. Let pasta rest for 5 minutes.
  9. Top with a handful of shredded cheese and serve while warm.

Notes

You can use store-bought pesto sauce or try this home-made pistou sauce recipe.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 555Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 1627mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 37g

Note: We are not certified nutritionists and these estimates are approximate. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. This website is written and produced for entertainment purposes only.

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If you enjoyed that, check out our other classic French recipes that are easy to prepare. Bon appétit and à bientôt !

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