How many times has a mussel dish made for a perfect starter at a restaurant, only for you to have to search the menu for ideas of what to serve with it?
It’s no good ordering just mussels and a bottle of wine – there are a lot of other options to choose from!
Here, we’re going to give you the low down on the side dishes and accompaniments that you’ll want to consider, to really give you a winning mussels in garlic butter sauce dining experience…
Let’s have a look at some of the options that you might want to consider…
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes For Mussels in Garlic Butter Sauce?
If you’re looking for a delicious meal that’s healthy, you can’t miss out on mussels in garlic butter sauce.
But what else can you serve with mussels?
And what do you need to consider when planning this aspect of the meal?
Serving side dishes is an excellent way to make your meal more interesting.
For example, you can serve side dishes with mussels that complement the flavors of other ingredients.
This can be especially helpful when you want to enhance the flavors of the food you are eating.
For example, if you’re serving mussels with garlic butter sauce, you can choose side dishes that have strong flavors, such as tomatoes, olives, or onions.
To do this, you can choose to add tomatoes to the garlic butter sauce to make the flavors more intense.
Or, you can add olives for added flavor.
Or, you can add onions to the garlic butter sauce to make the flavors more intense.
There are many ways you can make the flavors of your meal more interesting when you serve side dishes.
What to Serve with Mussels in Garlic Butter Sauce: 10 Best Sides
When you hear mussels… what comes to your mind?
Most people instantly associate serving mussels with seafood.
Whether it be in a fish and chips restaurant or in a fancy bistro, most don’t think of sides when they eat mussels.
But these little guys are so versatile when it comes to what you can serve them with.
You’re able to mix up the taste and texture of your meal dramatically based on the sauce and sides that you choose.
For this reason, I tried my darndest to narrow it down to 10 different side dishes that are commonly thought of to serve with seafood, but that would also pair significantly well with mussels in garlic butter sauce.
1. Steamed vegetables
One great side dish for mussels is steamed vegetables. Steaming is a healthy way to cook and will bring out the natural flavors of the vegetables.
Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, carrots, peas, and small potatoes all steam well.
Pairing steamed vegetables with mussels in garlic butter sauce is a great way to stretch your meal.
To steam your vegetables:
- Bring about an inch of water to boil in a large pot with a lid.
- Place your vegetables in a steamer basket and set over the boiling water.
- Cover and steam until tender (about 6-10 minutes).
- Serve as a side dish with mussels in garlic butter sauce and crusty bread if desired.
To soak up all that glorious garlic butter sauce from your mussels, you’ll need something a little sturdier than your average dinner roll. A crusty baguette or sourdough loaf is the perfect choice!
Baguettes are long, narrow loaves of bread with a hard and crunchy outer crust. You can find them at most grocery stores and bakeries.
3. Garlic bread
The classic side dish to serve with mussels is a loaf of crusty bread, but if you want to dress it up a bit, try garlic bread. It’s the perfect way to soak up all the delicious broth!
You can make garlic bread from scratch or use store-bought.
- To make it from scratch, cut a loaf of crusty French or Italian bread in half lengthwise and spread both halves generously with butter that has been mixed with several minced cloves of garlic.
- Wrap the bread in foil and bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F.
- Unwrap and bake for 5 minutes longer.
- Or, cut French baguette slices on the diagonal and place them directly on the rack of your oven under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Spread generously with butter and minced garlic and broil again until golden brown.
4. Sauteed asparagus
The great thing about sauteed asparagus is that it is so quick and easy to prepare.
This garlic-scented side dish takes just about 10 minutes to make, which means that you can pair it with any busy night meal in a snap.
So, what to serve with mussels? This healthy side dish would be a great addition to your table!
5. Baked potatoes
A baked potato is the perfect side dish to serve with mussels in garlic butter sauce.
A classic baked potato should be fluffy and creamy on the inside, with a crispy crunchy skin.
- To get the perfect baked potato, you will need to start by scrubbing your potatoes clean, and then poke holes in them with a fork.
- Rub them with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt.
- Place them directly on the rack of the oven, or on a baking sheet if you are worried about them falling through.
- Bake at 350 degrees for an hour and 15 minutes or until soft.
6. French fries
French fries are the perfect addition to your mussels in garlic butter sauce. The fries soaked up the garlic butter sauce, leaving you with a crunchy and crispy texture outside and a soft and tender texture inside.
This combination makes French fries onf ot the best side dishes for mussels in garlic butter sauce.
If you want to enjoy your French fries even more, then we recommend serving them with homemade mayonnaise or another delicious dip like ketchup mixed with cheese.
7. Mashed potatoes
Mashed potatoes are the obvious choice. They’re classic, they’re comforting and they go with everything.
While the mussels cook, prepare the mashed potatoes.
- Peel and cut the potatoes into quarters, then place in a medium pan and cover with cold water.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for about 20 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.
- Drain the potatoes thoroughly and return them to the pot.
- Heat over low heat for 1 minute to dry out the potatoes slightly.
- Add butter, cream, salt and pepper, then mash using a potato masher or pass through a ricer or food mill.
- Taste and add additional seasoning if desired. Keep warm until ready to serve.
8. Baked beans
Baked beans are a classic side dish for mussels in garlic butter sauce.
Baked beans are typically baked at low temperatures for extended periods of time, which gives them their characteristic thick texture and sweet flavor.
They are often made with pork, molasses or maple syrup for a deeper flavor.
You can buy ready-to-eat baked beans from your local supermarket, or you can make them yourself.
9. Potato salad
Potato dishes are the most popular side dish for mussels in garlic butter sauce. If you’re looking for a good potato salad recipe, this one is my absolute favorite!
It’s a quick and easy recipe that is sure to impress your guests. You can use any type of potatoes you have on hand, but I think it works best with Yukon golds or red potatoes.
The key here is to boil the potatoes just enough so they’re tender but not mushy because they will continue to cook while they’re tossed in the dressing.
If you don’t feel like preparing a potato salad, there are other options:
- Simple boiled or steamed potatoes are an excellent choice. You can also mash them up with some butter and garlic to make this delicious garlic mashed potatoes recipe!
- Serve the steamed mussels over a bed of white rice. It’s an easy way to soak up all that garlicky butter sauce and make it extra filling!
- Spaghetti or linguine (see also these linguine recipes) is another option if you want something more substantial than just bread. If you do choose this route, I recommend using whole wheat pasta instead (it has more fiber!).
10. Pasta salad
There is no better way to enjoy a bowl of mussels than with plenty of crusty bread and a side dish of pasta salad.
The best pasta salad for mussels is the simplest one, comprising of just pasta, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon juice.
Whatever you do, avoid adding mayonnaise or any other creamy dressings unless you want to mask the glorious flavors of the mussels.
The next time you decide to cook mussels, simply boil your favorite pasta shape in salted water and once it’s al dente, drain it and toss with olive oil and lemon juice.
Or if you want to level up your presentation skills, serve your mussels on top of the pasta.
And if you really feel like it, add some cherry tomatoes or julienned zucchini for a more colorful dish. But I prefer my pasta plain and simple when eating seafood!
5 Tips For Serving Sides With Mussels in Garlic Butter Sauce
There are a few things to consider before you decide on your side dishes. The side dishes can either complement or distract from the mussels in garlic butter sauce.
1. Consider a crunchy counterpoint
Think of a crunchy counterpoint to the mussels, like toasted sourdough slices or crackers. The same goes for the sauce—add some heat or acid to balance the richness.
It may seem redundant, but a crunchy element is essential to cut through the richness of mussels in garlic butter sauce.
In addition to adding texture, it also helps soak up all that delicious sauce. Try toasted baguette slices or even sourdough croutons.
For an added crunch, I like to serve a side of thinly sliced fennel with my mussels in garlic butter sauce.
It’s one of those vegetables that has a refreshing crunch and also doesn’t taste too strong (an important consideration since mussels have such an assertive flavor). It’s like the cucumber of vegetables: pleasant in any situation.
2. Keep It Simple
When we think of a perfect meal, mussels in garlic butter sauce is likely to come to mind. This classic French dish is tasty and delicious, yet it takes only minutes to prepare.
There are many side dishes that go well with mussels in garlic butter sauce, but you should keep in mind that this meal is already rich and filling. That means that the side dishes should be light and easy.
For example, french fries or mashed potatoes make great side dishes for mussels in garlic butter sauce. You can also do rice or even bread if you want to soak up the delicious sauce from your plate.
As always, don’t forget some fresh vegetables to balance out the meal!
3. Are your guests going to have bread?
If so, make sure the bread is available before starting to eat the mussels. Bread is great to sop up the garlic butter sauce at the end of the meal.
4. Are your guests going to have drinks?
If so, make sure those are available before starting the meal and be careful which mussels you eat with which drinks.
5. How many people are coming?
If it is a small group less than five people, you can probably get away with serving a single side dish for everyone at the table.
If it’s more than five people, you may have some vegetarians or vegans who would like something different than what everyone else has ordered.
What to Serve with Mussels in Garlic Butter Sauce: 10 Best Sides
- Steamed vegetables
- Garlic bread
- Sauteed asparagus
- Baked potatoes
- French fries
- Mashed potatoes
- Baked beans
- Potato salad
- Pasta salad
- Pick any of these amazing and tasty sides to serve alongside your mussels.
- Prepare the ingredients according to the recipe.
- Be ready to serve in less than 25 minutes!