Scallop Penne with Mint-Spinach Pesto, Roasted Mushrooms, and Walnuts

Scallop Penne with Mint-Spinach Pesto, Roasted Mushrooms, and Walnuts

Ever since our kale-walnut pesto really did the trick as far as “elevated twists on a classic” go, we’ve been itching to riff even further. Here, we replace typical basil with refreshing mint, plus fresh spinach for heft and extra greenery. The punchy sauce is tossed with sweet seared scallops, al dente pasta, and smoky paprika-roasted mushrooms.



30 mins

Total cook time


Skill level

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Main Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms
  • 1/4 ounce mint
  • 1 lemon
  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 ounces shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 12 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 10 ounces bay scallops
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper

Cooking Instructions

Step 1

Preheat oven to 450°F. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel (see recipe tip), then cut into .25-inch slices. Rinse remaining produce. Pick mint leaves, discarding stems. Halve lemon; cut 1 half into wedges for serving. Pat spinach dry with paper towel.

Step 2

On a baking sheet, toss mushrooms with smoked paprika, 1.5 tablespoons olive oil, .25 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Arrange in a single layer on .75 of sheet, leaving room for walnuts. Roast until beginning to brown, 14 minutes (move on to Step 3—but don't forget to come back!). Then, add walnuts to remaining .25 of sheet. Continue roasting until walnuts are golden and fragrant and mushrooms are browned, 3-4 minutes more.

Step 3

While mushrooms roast, in a blender or food processor, combine whole garlic clove, mint, half of spinach, half of Parmesan, and .25 cup olive oil, then pulse until smooth (see recipe tip). Stir in juice of .5 lemon, .75 teaspoon salt, and black pepper as desired. Set aside until Step 6.

Step 4

Season boiling water generously with salt. Stir in whole-wheat penne and cook 5 minutes, then stir in peas and cook until pasta is al dente, 1 minute more. Drain and return to pot, off heat.

Step 5

While penne cooks, pat scallops dry with paper towel. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add scallops and sear, without stirring, 2 minutes (to keep them from sticking to the pan). Then, stir scallops and continue cooking until opaque and cooked through, 1 minute more. Remove pan from heat. Season with .25 teaspoon salt and black pepper as desired.

Step 6

To pot with penne and peas, still off heat, add mint-spinach pesto, seared scallops, remaining spinach, and half of roasted mushrooms, and toss to combine. Divide among serving bowls. Top with walnuts, remaining roasted mushrooms, and remaining Parmesan. Sprinkle over crushed red pepper (skip or use half for less heat) and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over. Dig in!

All recipe ingredients should be cooked to a safe internal temperature according to USDA guidelines. After preparing a recipe, please store any leftovers in the refrigerator.