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15-Minute Mussels

Posted by in Step-by-Step Recipes

Tasty Kitchen Blog: 15-Minute Mussels. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Tomato sauce for pasta is one of the easiest things to make. Everything gets dumped into one pot, then you turn the heat to low and let it simmer to mellow out its tomato-y-ness (pucker!) and richen its flavor. I’ve yet to make a pot of tomato sauce without leftovers, and the remaining always goes into the freezer.

So what to do with leftover, frozen tomato sauce? Well, you can make another batch of pasta (yawn) or grab a pound of mussels, a few cloves of garlic, a glug of wine and 15 minutes later, you’ve got a fabulous dish like the one you see above!

Alright, here we go.

I love garlic, so I use lots. In a pot or sauté pan (basically a frying pan with high sides and a hopefully you’ll have a lid, too), add a good drizzle of olive oil and garlic. Turn the heat to low. YES—add the olive oil and garlic first before you turn the heat on. As the oil warms, the garlic will infuse the oil and slowly cook (i.e. not burn). Burnt garlic is bitter. Bitter is baaaaad.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: 15-Minute Mussels. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Keep watching the garlic and the heat! No burning!

Tasty Kitchen Blog: 15-Minute Mussels. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

As you see the garlic starting to brown, immediately add in the mussels (make sure you’ve already scrubbed, picked over and discarded shells that won’t close or are cracked).

Do it now! If you wait any longer, the garlic will burn! (Okay okay, I’ll stop with the garlic lecture!)

Tasty Kitchen Blog: 15-Minute Mussels. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Use your spatula to toss the muscles in the garlicky goodness (oops, there I go again with the garlic!).

Tasty Kitchen Blog: 15-Minute Mussels. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Turn the heat to high and pour in some white wine, vegetable broth, clam juice or beer. About 1 cup for 1 pound of mussels will do just fine. Add in a generous pinch of salt, stir and bring to a boil.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: 15-Minute Mussels. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover, and now take a peek at the mussels. Discard any that have not opened.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: 15-Minute Mussels. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Like this little bugger.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: 15-Minute Mussels. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Before you add the tomato sauce, I want you to taste it. Is it puckery? If so, add a generous pinch of sugar to tame down the acidity.

Add in your tomato sauce (ooohhh … about 1 1/2 cups or so), stir and bring the whole thing to a simmer. Let it go for another minute or so.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: 15-Minute Mussels. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Add in some minced parsley or basil, and you’re done!

Tasty Kitchen Blog: 15-Minute Mussels. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Do you love? Do you love? Please tell me you love!

Tasty Kitchen Blog: 15-Minute Mussels. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Okay, the reason why you DON’T cook the mussels in the marinara sauce (we simmered them in wine first) is that one bad mussel can ruin the poor diner’s entire meal. Cooking the mussels in the wine lets you see very clearly which mussels have not opened. If you had cooked them in thick red sauce, it might have been more difficult to see.

So there’s one of my favorite ways to use leftover marinara sauce! What’s yours? Send me some ideas!


Jaden Hair is a food writer, television personality, and food photographer based in Tampa Bay, Florida. Find more of her recipes in her blog, Steamy Kitchen, where you can also read more about Jaden’s new book, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook, and the rave reviews it’s received!



Comments are closed for this recipe.

Paula on 5.5.2010

so tasty…!

Miss Tish on 5.4.2010

I LOOOOOOVE shellfish and love mussels…this makes me miss the Pacific Northwest where they get them right out of Penn Cove and right on to your plate.

Now I live in Wyoming. I may have to search a little and maybe I’ll get lucky. Or I can hit up whole foods in Ft. Collins, CO and see from there. :)

Kirsten on 5.3.2010

This dish looks fantastic and I can’t wait to make it for my boyfriend who is a seafood fanatic! It looks just like the garlic (LOVE IT!) mussels we get at Little Creatures brewery – one of our favorite restaurants on the harbour in Fremantle, Western Australia.

Vicki B on 5.3.2010

Omlettes! I know it sounds weird but leftover marinara poured over mozzarella omlettes is so good. Otherwise mushrooms are sauted, marinara added and poured over grilled polenta.

[email protected] on 5.2.2010

Mussels is one of my favorite easy dish to make. It does require a little bit of time (for cleaning the mussels) but after that, it’s so fast! And so good. My children love them!

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dawnalee on 5.2.2010

Thanks, Molly’s mom! That sounds like a cool way to do it, very authentic or something. I’m assuming this means we have permission to get sauce on our fingers. :o)

Learn something new every day. Wheee!

Mallypal on 5.1.2010

I always just pick one up with my hands, pull the empty half off and use a fork to scoop out the mussel… definitely gonna try to shell/pincher method though… also i usually just end up buying frozen mussel meat anyway, no shells to worry about! yummm

Molly's mom on 5.1.2010

We learned the best way to eat them from our daughter’s boyfriend in London. The best place ever to eat mussels–that we’ve been to, anyway–is Belgo Centraal in London. It’s a very casual place where they serve buckets of mussels in your choice of fabulous sauces. Other food, too, but I’ve never tried anything else. ANYWAY, the method of eating somewhat gracefully is to choose a shell whose meat has fallen out, and use it as a handy pincher-thingy to eat the rest. Then sop up all the yummy sauce you can with bread. Sigh…so good!

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dawnalee on 4.30.2010

Kendra, not a stupid question. I’m a mussel newb and wonder the same thing. I’ve never tried any dish with still-in-the-shell shellfish in it. What’s the etiquette? :)

Kendra on 4.30.2010

Can I ask a possibly stupid question? How do you eat these? Do you crack them in half with your hands? Do you scoop out the flesh with a fork?? Do you use your teeth somehow???

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meeshiesmom on 4.30.2010

Love mussels and marinara sauce but not together. I actually make my mussels the way you described up until the sauce was added. Garlic, olive oil, wine, basil and a pinch of salt. So simple so yummy! Then we take bread and soak up the sauce. Thanks for the post!

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shellsonvancouverisland on 4.30.2010

Oh my gosh I love love love mussels …. and love them even more in a white wine, garlic, tomato sauce that I can soak up with nice crusty pieces of bread. Sadly, a pound of mussels is just about a meal for one of me … yes, I love mussels

Maura on 4.30.2010

girl i love your style! That looks easy and a crowd pleaser!

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DessertForTwo on 4.30.2010

Do your kids eat this, or is this an adults-only dinner?

Evan on 4.30.2010

oh my goodness.. I LOVE mussels.. whenever I see them on a menu I have to try them and now that I have seen this recipe I am absolutely going to have to try it! thanks for sharing :)

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suep on 4.30.2010

Oh, I do love me some mussels. ESPECIALLY with tomato sauce.

Leftover tomato sauce/ marinara: I love to brown some chicken thighs, then simmer in the sauce, and serve it over some creamy polenta. Comfort food heaven!

copper apron sink on 4.30.2010

Wow I never knew making a mussel dish was so easy. Can’t believe I’ve never attempted it before. Thanks I’m gonna have to add this recipe to my arsenal.

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cookincanuck on 4.29.2010

AFter reading this, I am wondering why I never make mussels at home. To me, there is no better treat than dipping a crusty piece of bread into a sauce made of white wine mixed with the mussel nectar. The tomato sauce sounds like a very nice touch, too.

Don on 4.29.2010


When they’re fresh, they’re alive, and they will fight to keep the shell closed. So you toss out the dead (open) ones.

Then when you steam them, they open. Unless they’re dead and rotten. So after cooking, you toss the closed ones.


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A Cozy Kitchen on 4.29.2010

All you need now is a big piece of crusty bread to soak up that awesome tomatoey goodness. Yum!

Megan on 4.29.2010

That looks amazing! I’ve had oysters, but I don’t think I’ve ever tried mussels. I think this would be the perfect recipe to give them a taste test!

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Elaine on 4.29.2010

Love the Muscles… YUM! I use left over tomato sauce, thawed and throw it into a …..ratatouille…

LOL which is FRENCH for farmers market excess vegi’s that must be cooked today or else…

Jeanette on 4.29.2010

That looks delicioso!! Thanks for the recipe.

Elaine Pool on 4.29.2010

You can also put a blog of frozen sauce in a soup (such beef) & really rich-en it up!

Vanessa on 4.29.2010

If we don’t finish ours up I like to make a pizza and use it there. win-win!

Andrea on 4.29.2010

So I’d always heard about the discard any that don’t open thing but your first comment re: tossing the ones that won’t close has stumped me.

Please explain!

Nina on 4.29.2010

these look great. thanks

Jessica @ How Sweet on 4.29.2010

Delicious! I love mussels and all things seafood. I actually don’t like tomato sauce (I know. It’s a sin), so I rarely use it in my house, except for when my hubby throws a tantrum about wanting some.