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8 Delicious Sustainable Seafood Dinners

A plate of freshly opened oysters with lemons and a flute of champagne.
Shebeko/Shutterstock

Seafood for dinner sounds divine, but with environmental concerns front-of-mind, it can be hard to enjoy the catch of the day. When sustainability counts just as much as salty, sea flavors, it’s time to turn to shellfish.

Why shellfish? Mussels, clams, oysters, and scallops all make for incredible meals, with a lower environmental price tag. Bivalves, like mussels or clams, are touted for their water-cleaning abilities. They’re also considered a sustainable choice in most circumstances. Plus, they’re typically quick to prepare, high in protein but low in calories. So when a seafood craving strikes, shellfish might be the best answer.

That said, always pay attention to the source of your shellfish. Well-managed fisheries avoid practices like dredging, which can be especially harmful to the environment,. Reputable producers also pay attention to water purity, which definitely counts in the case of filter feeds.

steamed mussels from littlebroken.com
LittleBroken.com

Steamed Mussels with Wine Garlic & Parsley: A simple but elegant preparation, this dish will easily impress on date night. Plus, with how sustainable mussels are, you don’t have to feel guilty if you find yourself eating them more often than that!

Get the Recipe: Little Broken

Linguini with Mussels: Shellfish and delicate pasta are a well-known combination. We like this one for its super simple sauce. Rich butter and bright wine won’t overwhelm the mussels. Instead, it will highlight them.

Get the Recipe: Epicurious

mushroom and clam pasta - from halfbakedharvest.com
Tieghan Gerard – HalbakedHarvest.com

Buttery Mushrooms and Clam Pasta: Earthy mushrooms add depth to this otherwise bright and acidic pasta dish. For extra veggies, try adding peas or asparagus to round things out.

Get the Recipe: Half-Baked Harvest

Clams Casino: Sure, it’s typically an appetizer, but who says you can’t have Clams Casino for dinner instead? Topped with bacon and cheese, we think these clams would be a fantastic main course.

Get the Recipe: Food Network

oyster stew
SheWearsManyHats.com

Oyster Stew: A chilly evening on the coast calls for oyster stew. But really, even if you’re landlocked in the middle of summer, this stew’s fantastic.

Get the Recipe: She Wears Many Hats

Oyster Casserole: You might know this one as oyster dressing, and therefore think it’s only good for holiday tables. But this rich and decadent casserole makes a sustainable anytime dinner, too.

Get the Recipe: Southern Living

easy spicy thai scallops
SweetCsDesigns.com

Pan-Seared Thai Chili Scallops: This one’s ready in 10 minutes and full of fun Thai-inspired flavors. If you can’t find Thai basil, a little bit of ground star anise will work to provide the same licorice-like flavor.

Get the Recipe: Sweet C’s Designs

Brown Butter Scallops and Parmesan Risotto: This recipe is already fantastic, but if you wanted to add just a bit more decadence, try adding a little bacon. It pairs perfectly with the scallops and the risotto underneath.

Get the Recipe: PInch Of Yum


Eating bivalves for dinner is a sustainable treat. So, go crazy with clams or stick to a classic like brown butter scallops. Either way, you can enjoy a delicious seafood dinner without the side of environmental guilt.

Lauren Sakiyama Lauren Sakiyama
Lauren Sakiyama is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry. She has managed restaurants, country clubs, and large-scale event operations, but her passion has always been about the food. Read Full Bio »

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