Skip to Content

Are Scallops Vegan? Can Vegans Eat Scallops?

Are Scallops Vegan? Can Vegans Eat Scallops?

Answer: No.

Are Scallops Vegan? Can Vegans Eat Scallops?

You may have read somewhere that few vegans consider seafood in their meals. So, you might have wondered if consuming scallops favors your diet. To burst your bubbles, scallops are considered animal meat. Therefore, they are actually off-limits for a vegan dining table. 

Now, let’s talk more about their characteristics and discuss some vegan alternatives you can try.

What Are Scallops?

Scallops are categorized under the bivalve mollusk family. Bivalve mollusks are animals whose interior muscles are protected by two shells, like oysters and mussels. Scallops normally have a saucer-like shell with scalloped edges. It has a reddish to brown top shell with a white lower one.

Interestingly, a scallop swims through using its shells to snap away and produces a jet of water producing an incredible speed. It uses speed to escape predators and danger in its surroundings.

Scallops are generally used in preparing appetizer meals and can be eaten raw when they’re fresh. They are generally sweet in taste with a bit of savory nutty flavor like hazelnuts and almonds.

Nutritional Value of Scallops

Scallops are known for being one of the most nutritious seafood there is. In fact, for every 3 oz of scallops, it may contain the following nutritional value:

Protein17 g
Fat1 g
Carbohydrates: 5 grams5 g
Fiber: 0 grams0 g
Sugar: 0 grams0 g

Aside from these, scallops are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These acids are helpful in regulating most of the vital body functions such as heartbeat, nervous system, and memory retention.

Some health benefits of consuming scallops include balancing hormone levels and improving cognitive body functions. Scallops are also believed to prevent stroke as they improve the flow of blood which reduces the occurrence of clots in the body. Moreover, the high magnesium content of scallops helps in relaxing body cells which leads to lower blood pressure and more active blood circulation.

However, if you’re a vegan and you’re eating scallops because of their nutritional contents, take note that these nutrients can still be found in other vegan foods! 

Potential Health Risks of Eating Scallops

Despite the nutrition and health benefits that you could gain, recent studies have shown that scallop consumption poses health risks to your body. Researchers have verified that scallops contain heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and lead. Here are more reasons why scallops can be harmful to your body:


Scallops are part of the seafood family, and if you have an allergic reaction to seafood, eating scallops is not a good choice for you.

Scallops Contain Purine

Researchers have found that scallops contain amounts of purine. Purine is a harmful chemical that can cause kidney stones and gout. Too much consumption of scallops can lead directly to these diseases.

Scallops Contain Heavy Metals

Research shows that scallops contain low levels of mercury, lead, arsenic, and cadmium. While it is still safe to eat them, high amounts of arsenic pose serious medical conditions like cancer. More so, lead, mercury, and cadmium can cause serious organ injuries, decreased functioning of the brain, and kidney problems respectively. 

Scallops Can Cause Shellfish Poisoning

You never know where scallops are being harvested. Some scallops may come from highly polluted or algae-rich waters that contain millions of bacteria. This can cause serious diarrhetic conditions and excessive pain in the stomach

Scallops Are Not for Pregnant Women

If you’re pregnant and trying to look for diet plans, scallops are not for you. Due to their heavy metal and possible bacterial contents, they can be harmful to you and your baby’s health.

Why Should You Avoid Eating Scallops?

Aside from the obvious reason for being a vegan and the above-mentioned health risks, there are numerous harmful effects of eating scallops on the environment.

Scallops Improve Water Quality

Scallops take phytoplankton and other microorganisms for their meals. This means that they are actually filtering the water system by removing suspended materials. They are also essential in coastal habitats rehabilitation.

Scallops Feed on Bacteria and Viruses

Scallops filter out bacteria and viruses that may be harmful to human health when consumed. They also ingest bacteria from land-derived activities such as water treatment, storm drainage, and agricultural run-offs. Moreover, they help in reducing bio-toxins from marine algae.

Threats to Ocean Floor Due to Scallop Dredging

Fishers use rake-edged dredges in catching scallops, causing excessive damage to ocean floors. More so, scallop dredging has resulted in high cases of by-catching. This is where sea animals are accidentally caught upon catching the target. Most of these animals are brought back to the ocean either dead or injured.

Moreover, discarded fishing nets are proven to pollute the ocean. Massive harvest of scallops can also severely damage corals which threaten marine habitats. Overall, scallop fishing is highly destructive to the marine ecosystem. 

Scallops Fight Climate Change

Bivalves produce less environmental footprint compared to those arable crops. This is in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and the use of land and freshwater resources. This is essential in the environment as animal production is said to be a large contributor to the carbon footprint.

The Scallop Debate

People have been debating whether scallops are vegan due to their ability to hold pain, unlike mammals. Moreover, some people are into “seagan” which considers seafood as part of their vegan diet. And so, the debate has been going on for years and turned the confusion into a major problem ever since.

However, most experts find it hard to prove whether scallops are really less sentient. In fact, one of their natural characteristics is to snap at an incredibly fast speed whenever they sense danger around. This serves as their escape mechanism in adverse situations.

True vegans accuse these people of making excuses just because scallops taste delicious and have high nutritional value.

Are There Vegans Who Eat Scallops?

There are so-called “vegans” who include scallops and seafood in their diet plan. Technically, these people are considered to be ostrovegan, or those vegans who eat bivalves because of their nutritional content. However, for some vegans, this is considered a disrespect to what they believe and to the advocacy they promote such as animal welfare and environmental protection. 

Trying to justify something that true vegans should fight for is rather insulting and offensive. After all, people are making excuses about scallops having no ability to sense pain, thus making them exempt from animal violence.

However, the number of research data and analysis for analysis is little. This means that people should not conclude that these creatures are insensitive to pain. In fact, they show consciousness when danger is around. They are still under scientific experiments and major developments about their nature and characteristics are still left to be discovered.

There are people that highly value the title of being a vegan. If you’re a vegan and are consuming animal meat like scallops because of their nutritional value and taste, then it’s better to drop the vegan title and decide for yourself what you want to eat or not. This is to avoid conflicts between the vegan community and to ensure that the vegan diet will be respected as to what it really means and protects.

Scallop Alternative for Vegan Diet

A good thing for scallop lovers, there is an invented scallop alternative for your vegan diet. These are called vegan scallops. Basically, it resembles a scallop but is actually made up of king oyster mushrooms. The vegan scallop also has a texture and a fresh, neutral flavor of the scallops. The preparation is very simple as you just have to normally pan-sear them with garlic and butter.  

Few recipes can be made with this alternative such as garlic-seared vegan scallops, vegan scallops in lemon garlic butter, and more creative dishes! So next time you want to have a scallop in your vegan diet, you already know what to make.


It should be clear, scallops are animal meat. This means that you should not include them in your vegan diet. Aside from it not being vegan, scallops pose threats to your body and the environment. 

It contains heavy metals that can cause serious medical conditions such as cancer and kidney stones. It may also contain high levels of bacteria due to polluted and algae-rich habitats that cause diarrhea and stomach pains.

It is also clear that scallops are an important component of the ecosystem. It improves water quality by feeding on microorganisms that pollute the ocean. It is also a major help in rebuilding coastal habitats. Moreover, fishing scallops cause excessive damage to the marine ecosystem and innocent sea animals are being threatened.

Finally, scallops are living animals that can experience pain. They are sensitive to their surroundings and are no less sentient than other mammals. For alternatives, a vegan scallop dish can be prepared by using king oyster mushroom.