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Spicy Tomato Garlic Mussels

Spicy Tomato Garlic Mussels Date Night Food from My Clean Kitchen

The hubby loves all things seafood. So for his Valentine’s Day gift this year I decided to make him a delicious meal of mussels. I don’t have a lot of experience with them so I tested the recipe a few times before perfecting it enough to serve. From the research I did, mussels are complete YUCK unless they are really really fresh. So I headed over the mountain to Whole Foods for the freshest mussels I could get. I brought home A LOT and they weren’t too expensive. I consider this recipe a budget friendly one that definitely delivers! I bought 4 dozens mussels for less than $20! So back to the fresh thing, its best to buy mussels the day you plan to cook them if you can. I bought mine the night before and then served them for  lunch. It worked out really well. But if you’re serving them for dinner I’d buy them the morning of.

Mussel BeardYou’ll want to start by scrubbing and debearding the mussels. I used my potato scrubber for this. (Then promptly threw it out and got a new one, it was stinky!) Also, you’ll want to discard any that are no longer good. If the mussel is not tightly closed, gently tap it on the counter a few times, and set it aside. If it doesn’t close up after a couple of minutes, you’ll want to throw it out. So back to the scrubbing and debearding…I took a medium sized mixing bowl, filled it halfway with water and used my potato scrubber to get the seaweed and grit off the mussels. Then if the mussel still had it’s beard, I debearded it. The beard is the stringy seaweed looking thing that sticks out of one side of the shell. (It’s also called the Byssus Thread – but I didn’t research enough to learn what the mussels does with it..sorry.) So, to debeard your mussel, you’ll grab the beard and wiggle it up and down until it pulls loose. Some are easier than others, I had one that just didn’t want to be debearded. But, not all of your mussels will have beards, as some come off in cultivation process. Anyway, I took a quick video of the debearding. I hope you find it helpful!

While I was cleaning and debearding my mussels I got my garlic tomato mixture going. I literally threw everything into a large skillet to let it saute and simmer while I prepared the mussels. Then once they were ready just threw them in the steam. They only take a couple of minutes cook, about 3-5 minutes each. Once the mussel opens, its done and ready to come out. I served the mussels in a shallow bowl and spooned the tomato garlic broth over it. I had made a loaf of whole wheat bread that we used to soak up the broth which was really yummy.

A little bit of bragging now – My 4 year old ate about a dozen of these. She LOVED them. I’m so proud of her. I love that she tries new things and usually likes them. She also had fun using her fork to get them out of the shell.

Local Ingredient: White Wine from a local Virginia Vineyard. 

  • Fresh Ingredients

  • Spicy Garlic Tomato

  • Mussels in Need of a Good Scrubbing!

  • Debearding

  • All Clean

  • Let's Eat!

Spicy Tomato Garlic Mussels

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Serving Size: 3-4


Olive Oil

4 dozen fresh mussels

1 onion, diced

6 garlic cloves, minced

8 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped

3/4 - 1 cup white wine, (your favorite crisp white wine, such as a pinot gris or sauvignon blanc)

1/4 cup tomato puree or tomato sauce (no sodium added) (Optional)

A handful of flat leaf parsley (about 1/4 cup), chopped

5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme

1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake

Fresh cracked black pepper


  1. Add the olive oil to a medium large skillet with high sides, or a medium stock pot. Add the onion, and garlic. Saute over medium heat until onions are translucent.
  2. Add tomatoes and thyme by sliding your thumb and forefinger down the thyme stem to remove the leaves. Simmer over medium heat until tomatoes have broken down. About 5-7 minutes.
  3. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping the bottom to pull up any onion and garlic bits into the wine and tomato mixture. If you want a thicker and more tomato flavor add the tomato sauce now.
  4. Add the red pepper flakes and parsley, Then allow the mixture to simmer on low for about 20-25 minutes, while you clean and debeard the mussels.
  5. Prepare the mussels by scrubbing, debearding, and discarding any bad ones. (See the blog post abovefor more information on this)
  6. Once the mussels are cleaned and debearded, add them all at once to the garlic tomato mixture.
  7. Cover and allow to cook over medium high to high heat for about 3 minutes. Shake the pan about every 30 seconds to move the mussels around in the mixture. The liquid mixture should be boiling.
  8. Remove the lid and carefully remove any mussels that have opened, placing them in a dish until ready to serve. Cover with a towel or paper towel to retain the heat.
  9. Recover the pot and allow the remaining mussels to continue to cook. Checking them often to remove the ones that have opened.
  10. Once all the mussels have opened, they are ready to be served. Bring to the table in the skillet or transfer the entire dish to a serving bowl. Be sure to include the garlic tomato mixture and spoon it over each serving.
  11. Garnish each serving with fresh cracked black pepper and parsley. Best is served piping hot off the stove.


Spicy Garlic Tomato Mussels for Vday! SO Good




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