Mussels are popular seafood that is harvested from saltwater and freshwater habitats all over the world.
They have a unique appearance with a blue-black color and a round shell, which is closed with a velcro-like beard at the hinge end.
They are known for their excellent flavor and taste.
The texture is best described as firm or slightly chewy.
The flavor is mild and slightly spicy but is often disguised with spices and masala, making them an excellent ingredient for spice lovers.
Mussels are healthful and make excellent appetizers or main dishes.
There are many different ways you can prepare mussels to suit your tastes, as well as side dishes to go along with.
Depending on the type of mussels you are cooking, cooking time will vary.
Also, you can choose to steam, bake or fry them.
It is unnecessary to de-beard mussels before cooking since this process usually happens while still in the water.
The beard will be able to come off quickly once the mussel opens up during cooking.
When serving with mussels, it is recommended that you select side dishes that are not too heavy or spicy.
In this article, we will list the eight best side dishes to serve with mussels.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Mussels?
Mussels are a popular type of shellfish enjoyed by many people, but there is more you can do with them than cook them in wine or tomato sauce.
A side dish or accompaniment may be the perfect addition to your meal.
You might want to consider whether you are looking for a rich or light accompaniment.
Garlic bread, for example, provides a wonderful contrast of flavor and texture to the buttery mussels.
A vegetable risotto can provide a more filling meal if that is what you desire.
A side dish might also be the perfect way to add variety to your meal: even something as simple as some tasty olives can provide you with a delicious accompaniment to your mussels.
Another option is to provide a simple green salad, which can help complete your meal without being too heavy.
What about flavors? Side dishes are typically less intensely flavored than the sauce you use with the mussels so that they can complement or contrast nicely.
You might want to go for neutral flavors, such as rice or potatoes, which will allow the flavor of the mussels to shine through.
Or you can choose to use a side dish that complements your sauce, allowing you to combine them to make an even richer flavor.
What to Serve with Mussels? 8 BEST Side Dishes
Here are some of the best side dishes to serve with mussels:
1 – Risotto
Let’s start with something hearty and filling – a rich, creamy risotto makes the perfect accompaniment to mussels.
Top it off with some parmesan cheese or garlic breadcrumbs for even more flavor.
This meal is best when you use seafood or vegetable stock instead of plain water (which can make the risotto bland) and add some saffron to infuse your rice with bright color and an incredible flavor.
You can also add whatever ingredients you like in your risotto: peas and basil make an excellent combination, as do mushrooms and thyme.
Experiment to find something that best suits your tastes.
2 – Shrimp Avocado Salad
A simple green salad can be the perfect side to mussels.
Why not add some fresh shrimp and serve it with a creamy avocado dressing?
This is best when you toss your greens in the dressing and then top them with sliced avocado and freshly boiled shrimp, which give it plenty of flavors and added texture.
If you want to go for extra flavor, serve your salad with some garlic breadcrumbs on top.
3 – Garlic Bread
Thick slices of garlic bread can provide a lovely contrast to the seafood flavor of the mussels.
This is best when you make your garlic bread by combining softened butter, fresh parsley, minced garlic, and Dijon mustard in a bowl.
Top your bread with this mixture and grill it in the oven.
Or, if you want to keep it simple, top your bread with some grated cheese and toast until it is golden brown.
4 – Lemon-Spiked Couscous
Spiced couscous is another hearty accompaniment that can go perfectly with mussels.
This is best when you combine your couscous with olive oil, lemon juice, saffron, and ground cumin seeds, plus a bit of salt and pepper for seasoning.
You can make this even more delicious by adding some roasted vegetables to it: carrots, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers (sliced) all work well.
And don’t forget to top your couscous with some chopped fresh parsley just before serving.
5 – Summer Seafood Pasta Salad
Try a fresh seafood pasta salad if you want a light and lively side dish to serve with mussels.
This is best when you combine your whole grain pasta with fresh fish (salmon), cooked shrimp, and freshly chopped vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, and cucumbers.
When choosing the dressing for your salad, go for something simple like olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh parsley.
Make sure to add some salt (and pepper if desired) for seasoning.
6 – Grilled Caesar Salad
A grilled Caesar salad makes an excellent accompaniment to mussels.
This is best when you toss your romaine lettuce in some tangy dressing (such as the juice of one lemon), which will give it an added zing.
Top it with Parmesan shavings and croutons, then serve it up on a bed of ice.
A Caesar salad is best when you marinate it in oil and lemon juice, but if you don’t have time for that, there are plenty of delicious bottled dressings to choose from – make sure they’re homemade.
7 – Potato and Leek Soup
Try this potato and leek soup if you’re looking for something a bit more filling and hearty.
This is best when you add some chopped mussels to your soup after it has finished cooking (or serve them on top) to infuse it with a bit of briny flavor.
If you want to keep things simple, add some croutons and serve your soup piping hot.
But if you have more time on your hands, opt for a fancier version by drizzling some pesto into the bowl before serving – this will give your soup an added zing.
8 – Cajun Shrimp and Grits
This is a delicious, spicy accompaniment that will allow the flavor of your mussels to shine through.
This is best when you cook your grits in a large pot of water with some bay leaves for added flavor.
You can add bacon if you want to give it an even heartier flavor, plus some garlic and onion.
Once your shrimp is cooked through, you can serve it on top of your grits or stir it into your grits for a tasty one-dish meal.
To complete your dish, stir some freshly chopped parsley into the grits just before serving.
This is sure to delight even the pickiest of eaters.
In conclusion, mussels are delicious shellfish that have a distinct flavor and require little to cook.
You can cook them in different ways, such as frying or steaming.
Those who love seafood might enjoy trying out the different sides listed above, all of which are easy to make and can be prepared from home using simple ingredients.
All you need to do is decide which one you’ll try out first.