The Best Mussels Side Dishes

What sides pair best with mussels? The best sides for mussels are carb-filled dishes like garlic bread, tomato basil bruschetta bites, French fries, sweet potato fries, potato leek soup, creamy linguine, risotto, and squid ink pasta. Then, try shrimp and tomatoes, asparagus, and fennel salad for lighter, carb-conscious alternatives.

Mussels shine best when paired with a crispy or creamy side dish. So, from thickly sliced garlic bread to squid in pasta and light green salads, here are the top side dishes to serve with mussels.

Crusty Garlic Bread

Thick slices of garlic and buttery bread provide a lovely combination to the briny seafood flavor of mussels.

You’ll need a crusty French loaf, lots of butter, minced garlic, and Italian seasoning.

Liberally brush melted butter, garlic, and Italian seasoning onto thickly sliced bread. Then, toast the bread in the broiler for 20 minutes.

You can top the bread slices with mozzarella and parmesan cheese for gooey, rich, and irresistible flavors.

Tomato Basil Bruschetta Bites

Tomato basil bruschetta bites are a delicious appetizer made with fresh vine tomatoes, red onions, fresh basil leaves, and a balsamic glaze on toasted baguettes. Top these bruschetta bites with mussels for the perfect appetizer!

Finely dice red onions, tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves and add minced garlic, salt, and pepper for seasoning. Set the bowl aside to marinate.

Slice your baguettes into bite-sized pieces, lightly brush them with olive oil, and pop them into the oven till lightly toasted.

Lastly, add a tablespoon of the tomato mixture to the toasties and finish them off with a balsamic vinegar glaze.

Parmesan Baked French Fries

French fries are a classic side that I’m sure you won’t need any convincing to add as a side dish to mussels. And you can subtract the guilt by following our recipe that calls for baking instead of frying them.

Cut russet potatoes into ½-inch wide sticks. Then, toss them in oil, garlic powder, oregano, and parmesan cheese. You can add a spicy touch by adding a sprinkle of Cajun seasoning.

Bake the fries for 30 minutes at 425°F, stirring halfway through.

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potatoes are a salty-sweet alternative that pairs equally well with mussels.

You’ll want to cut your fries slightly thinner than our French fry recipe; aim to cut ¼ -inch thick sticks. Next, toss them into the cornstarch to help them bake extra crispy.

Coat the fries in olive oil and bake at 425°F. Lastly, season them with kosher salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.

Potato Leek Soup

Potatoes and leeks make a rich, creamy French soup that compliments mussels exceptionally well. Potato leek soup is flexible and works well with bacon, croutons, or other veggies.

To make the potato leek soup, melt butter in a large soup pot and add chopped garlic and leeks until soft and wilted.

Next, add the potatoes, chicken broth, thyme sprigs, bay leaves, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Allow the soup to simmer until the potatoes are tender.

Then, fish out the leaves and sprigs and purée the soup until smooth. Finally, add the heavy cream to make the soup deliciously silky, rich, and smooth.

Serve hot, garnished with chives and some chopped mussels to your soup.

Creamy Linguine Pasta

Linguine is traditionally served with seafood and red sauce. Whip up a bowl of linguine pasta and toss in mussels with a creamy white wine sauce.

Our recipe calls for butter, olive oil, garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, heavy cream, and white wine. Toss with the cooked linguine pasta and simmer until creamy.

Top your pasta with steamed or smoked mussels for a delicious yet simplistic recipe.

Creamy Risotto

Creamy risotto with slow-roasted tomatoes and mussels is a delicate and delicious seafood treat. The vibrant bombs of roasted tomatoes allow the briny mussel flavors to pop!

Drizzle cherry tomatoes in olive oil and pop them in the oven to slowly roast for 30 to 45 minutes.

Once the tomatoes are in the oven, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until tender. Next, add the risotto and stir for 1 minute to coat in oil.

Then, cook the risotto in a white wine and chicken stock. Lastly, stir in the slow-roasted tomatoes, add the mussels, and garnish the dish with fresh basil, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

Squid Ink Pasta

Impress your guests with the gourmet flare and briny oceanic flavors of squid ink pasta. The tase of squid ink pasta will enliven the mussels’ flavor profile.

Simmer the mussels in arrabbiata sauce (marinara sauce tomato with crushed red pepper), fresh garlic, cream, and chopped parsley.

Serve the dish on the dark squid ink pasta. We recommend pouring extra sauce to allow the pasta to deeply soak in creamy goodness.

Shrimp & Tomatoes

Shrimp and tomato beautifully compliment mussels. The vibrant side dish and aroma will make your guests’ mouths water.

Cook the shrimp over medium-high heat in garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon once cooked.

Add the fresh tomatoes, rosemary, capers, and olives to the pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Lastly, stir in the shrimp for the last minute until heated through.

You can serve the dish on pasta or rice or enjoy it as is.


Asparagus is a light and healthy option to serve with mussels. The asparagus will pick up the salty flavor of mussels when cooked together.

Pan fry or roast the asparagus spears in butter, minced garlic, and a squirt of lemon juice. You can add the mussels while cooking the asparagus or afterward.

Fennel Salad

Fennel is another greed and refreshing dish that serves as an excellent side for mussels.

First, thinly slice fennel bulbs and stalks. Then, toss it with mint leaves, lemon zest, and salt.

Add deeply browned croutons, roasted walnuts, and parmesan cheese to the greens. Lastly, drizzle the salad with a vinaigrette of red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

You can also add apple shavings and pomegranate seeds to let the flavors pop. Enjoy the salad alongside your favorite mussel dish.

Best Wine Pairings For Mussels

Pair steamed mussels with crisp and steely wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, unoaked Chardonnay (Chablis), or Vermentino.

These wine pairings offer neutral and slightly acidic flavors that do not overpower but amplify mussels’ briny and subtly sweet flavors.

Try a light-bodied Muscadet if you plan to soak the mussels in a delicious broth. The wine features notes of lemon, minerals, and a hint of sea salt that mirrors the briny and subtle sea breeze hints of mussels.

However, suppose your mussels are swirled into creamy pasta dishes. In that case, we recommend trying light and fruity wines like Pinot Noir, Rosé, and Beaujolais.

Fried mussels call for a light-bodied Vermentino; you can opt for a floral and zesty or creamy buttery style. In addition, the wine offers fruity and crushed gravel aromas and flavors that enhance the gently salty flavors of mussels.

Best Sauces For Mussels

The best sauce for mussels includes:

Marinara Sauce

First, cook garlic and onions in melted butter until fragrant and soft. Then, add diced tomatoes, wine, fresh parsley, salt, and pepper.

Now, add the mussels and allow the sauce to simmer until the mussels’ shells are open.

Turn your marinara sauce into a hot and spicy arrabbiata sauce by adding crushed red pepper.

Horseradish Sauce

You can purchase ready-made horseradish or make a homemade version with fresh horseradish, sour cream, water, champagne vinegar, and salt.

White Wine Sauce

Combine one minced shallot with ¼ cup champagne vinegar and a teaspoon of flour to thicken the sauce. Then, season it with salt and plenty of ground pepper.

Consider adding serrano chili or Cajun pepper for a bit of a kick.