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Mussels in White Wine Tomato Sauce

Mussels hold a lot of liquid, so they don’t need to be cooked in a sauce — but where’s the fun in that?!

Start this Mussels in White Wine Tomato Sauce recipe by sweating aromatic veggies and adding a big splash of white wine. Allow the wine to reduce before adding in a can of diced tomatoes. The tomato sauce will cook fairly quickly, giving you just enough time to prep the mussels (prepping the mussels while the sauce cooks is a total time saver). When you add the mussels, give them a few stirs and cook until they open. Super simple!

Don’t forget to serve with crusty bread! Dipping rustic bread into the leftover sauce is the perfect finish to a bowl of mussels.

This recipe for Mussels in White Wine Tomato Sauce is a perfect dinner for 2 or makes a great starter for 4.

how to cook live mussels

Mussels in White Wine Tomato Sauce

Mussels in White Wine Tomato Sauce


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 celery stalk, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
1 carrot, grated (about ½ cup)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
¼ - ½ cup white wine
1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes
½ teaspoon salt
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
¼ cup chopped parsley


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions and celery have softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add wine. Cook and stir until the most of the wine has reduced to almost nothing, about 1 minute.
  4. Add diced tomatoes and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and saucy, about 13 minutes.
  5. Increase heat to high. Add mussels, cover, and cook, stirring twice, until mussels open, about 4 minutes.
  6. Stir in parsley and pour mussels into a large bowl. Serve immediately with crusty bread.

Mussels in Tomato Sauce Tips:

  • Mussels sometimes have a dark shaggy beard attached to their shell (this is what anchors the mussels to what ever it’s growing on). To remove the beard, it’s easiest if you pull it off with a paper towel — the paper towel will give you a better grip.
  • If the mussels look dirty and gnarly, give them a good scrub under cold running water.  Cultivated mussels usually come cleaned and with smooth shells. Wild mussels will have pieces of barnacle attached; these can be easily scraped off with a butter knife.
  • If you don’t have wine, you can substitute with chicken stock, or simply leave it out altogether.
  • To add some heat to this dish, add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the oil before you add the onions.