steamed mussels with lemon and garlic recipe

Mussels remind me of the beach. Now I'm not talking about the kind of fist pumping muscles you find at the Jersey shore. I mean the delicious and savory seafood dish. Obviously, mussels are found in the ocean but they especially make me think of the beach because we make them with Dave's family every time we visit them in Florida. Without fail. Why? Because this super simple recipe might be one of the tastiest, most cost effective and fabulous dishes you will ever make.

Dave's mom's old hairdresser (did you follow that?) shared this recipe years ago and swore by it. When an Italian woman shares a recipe with garlic and seafood, you tend to trust it. We have taken some creative liberty, a.k.a. the usual heavy handed lemon, to really make this recipe absolutely perfetto. We broke our record when we made...I don't know, maybe 4 pounds of mussels in Boca Grande, FL last summer. We just couldn't get enough! The key is to make sure you have gluten free bread on hand to soak up the lemon and garlic olive oil because it is to die for. Aside from the taste, I love this recipe because you can make large quantities when entertaining and everyone will think you are a culinary whiz. Seriously. Long live my fond memories of sand, waves, sunshine, mussels and lemons.  #lifesabeach


Serves: 4 to 6

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes


Fresh From the Market:

  • 2 lbs. Mussels
  • Juice of 2 Lemons
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 2 cloves Garlic

From the Pantry:

  • 3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea Salt

Optional (but kind of mandatory!):

  • Gluten Free Toasted Bread (for dipping!)

Kitchen Gadgets:

  • Skillet
  • Garlic Press
  • Citrus Press
  • Zester

From Market to Table...Fresh Lemons, Garlic and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Make an Amazing Sauce!

Cooking Instructions:

  • First, we need to prep the mussels. While rinsing and draining them, check for any that need to be thrown out. This includes open or cracked mussels, as well as those with lots of barnacles on them.
  • Zest one full lemon and slice both in half and juice to make about 4 tablespoons. In the past, I have used a cheese grater to zest lemons and it took a lot of elbow grease. Both my mom and Dave's mom had this fabulous Microplane zester that I used over the holidays and I am a changed woman. Point of my story? Get a zester!
  • Put the skillet over a low flame, add the olive oil and allow the oil to start warming.
  • Peel the garlic and grab 2 cloves. I prefer lemon over garlic so feel free to play with the measurements of each if you like one over the other. Push the garlic through the garlic press and add to the warm skillet, along with the lemon juice, lemon zest and sea salt.
  • Add the mussels to the skillet and increase the heat to a medium flame. Cover with the lid. Let the mussels steam for about 10 minutes or until the shells have all opened up.
  • Toast your bread while the mussels cook. The toasted bread has more structure to sop up the lemon garlic deliciousness.
  • You can serve this one of two ways - the classy way or the caveman way. Either way, I won't judge :)
  • The Classy Way: serve the mussels, lemon garlic oil and bread separately and use little shrimp forks. Leave an empty bowl (or bowls) on the table for the shells.
  • The Caveman Way: serve everything in one big bowl. Use your hands, dip your heart out and toss the shells aside.

The Classy Way is pictured can use your imagination for the Caveman Way! Live, laugh, love & eat mussels!

Mussels and Bread.jpg

If you have leftovers, you can find almost every recipe on the Blog Page to use your lemons and tons to use your garlic! If you want to use up some leftover gluten free bread (though, I highly doubt any will survive), try my Gluten Free Toast and Cheese, Gluten Free Toast and Pumpkin Butter or Gluten Free Stuffing!




Jessica Flatley

My mission is to provide ideas and inspiration for the times life hands you a lemon. Learn how to manage a food allergy or intolerance, whether cooking for yourself or eating on the go. Let's turn lemons into lemonade together!