Mid-December has us thinking about Christmas, which has us thinking about Christmas parties, which, naturally, has us thinking about food. If you’re looking for a great holiday appetizer to bring to a party, or a starter to make for your own dinner party, I highly suggest this quick, easy, and crowd-pleasing dairy-, gluten-, and nut-free mussel recipe. Never cooked mussels at home? Don’t be be intimidated. They are incredibly easy to make, and you’ll be surprised to see how inexpensive they are at your local market. I wanted to make mussels for a dinner party, but didn’t have a recipe, so I made this recipe up based on the ingredients I had at home. It turned out to be a hit, so I wanted to share it far and wide!

If you’re a seafood fan, you probably enjoy mussels. They’ve become increasingly popular on restaurant menus, but can be quite expensive for a small portion when you’re out to eat. At you’re local market, they can be found for as little as $3 a lb, making them much less expensive to make at home. We guarantee that you’ll surely wow guests with this dish! Maybe mussels aren’t a typical holiday-party offering, but I’m Italian, and nothing says Christmas like a good seafood dish. 

One thing to note – this recipe calls for wine. There’s no such things as ‘cooking wine’, or rather there shouldn’t be because you don’t want to cook with it because of its low quality. Recipes, especially one using a few simple ingredients like this one, will only taste as good as each ingredient you add. I highly suggest purchasing an excellent red wine to add to this mussel dish. Then you can drink the rest of the bottle with your guests. Also, this recipe calls for fresh thyme and Real Salt. While it might be tempting to use dried thyme, or iodized salt, don’t do it! Fresh thyme makes this dish more fragrant and delicious. And Real Salt is the best salt on the market (don’t judge me for carrying my own salt around during my travels!). It’s harvested from underground salt mines in Utah, and contains tons of minerals, which add an earthy mineral-y taste that compliments the mussels (or any other food, for that matter), quite well.

Dairy-, Gluten-, Nut-Free Mussel Recipe

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/2 head of crushed garlic (Yes, you read that correctly. I like lots of garlic!)
  • 2 lbs mussels
  • 1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Real Salt (or to taste)
  • 1 can Taste of Thai coconut milk 
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • Excellent Red Wine – I used SLO Down Red Blend Stand Out from California
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 baguette, sliced and toasted

In a large pan or wok, add EVOO and crushed garlic. Cook on medium heat until the garlic turns golden brown. Add the coconut milk, tomatoes, salt, and mussels. Once the mussels open (this should take about 3-4 minutes), add the thyme, oregano, wine, and lemon. I would taste the broth at this point and see if you need to add anything else. You might need more wine, salt or spices, so don’t be afraid to add as needed, to your liking. Place the mussels in a serving bowl and top with scallions. Slice and toast your baguette and lightly brush slices with EVOO to serve with the mussels. 

Serves: 4-6 people


  1. If any of the mussels have not opened, discard them, as they are not good to eat.
  2. This recipe is easy to double based on how many people you are cooking for, so go ahead and play around with the proportions.
  3. You could easily add additional seafood, like cod, shrimp, or scallops, in order to make this into a main dish of Seafood Stew. Enjoy, and let us know what you think!

 How to Make Mussels Quick, Easy, Crowd-Pleasing Recipe