Tired of the same old chicken and fish dishes? Then you’ll love this alpha-gal friendly mussels in cream sauce recipe. And yes, there is a dairy-free option for alpha-gals who want it! Serve with chunks of crusty bread for an easy weeknight meal that’s packed with alpha-gal friendly protein.
The information provided on this site is based on my personal experience living with alpha-gal syndrome. I consistently cite and link to expert sources, but nothing published on this site should be perceived as medical advice.
Alpha-gal sensitivities vary by person. You should understand your dietary restrictions, making any adjustments needed, and directing any questions to your physician.
It’s easy to quickly grow tired of chicken when you live with alpha-gal syndrome. And fresh fish and seafood can be very expensive when you live in the most landlocked state in the union like I do here in Kansas.
Whether they are wild or farmed, these bivalve molluscs are not only good for the environment but are also a sustainable seafood choice that is full of omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-gal friendly protein. And unlike orange roughy, bigeye tuna, and other fish with high mercury levels, mussels are a low-mercury seafood option. So whether you make it with real cream or a plant-based alternative, you can enjoy these mussels in cream sauce every night of the week.
Sage Advice: If you are looking for another soup-style alpha-gal friendly entree, you’ll love this chicken cabbage soup. Made with chicken thighs, fresh vegetables, and ginger, it’s not just filling, but incredibly delicious.
In This Article
Key Ingredients in Mussels and Cream Sauce (And Dairy-Free Substitutions)
Important Note: Although the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reports that most people with alpha-gal can tolerate “moderate, lean dairy,” I know many of my fellow alpha-gals must avoid it. Therefore, I’ve included dairy-free substitutions in this section and the recipe below.
Whether I’m steaming the mussels, sipping while cooking, or serving a glass at mealtime, I like to pair this dish with dry, crisp white wines. Some of my favorite options are pinot grigio, chardonnay, and sauvignon blanc.
Sage Advice: Because some winemakers clarify their wines with gelatin, let Barnivore help you select an alpha-gal friendly bottle for this mussels in cream sauce recipe.
To make this dish without wine, simply double the chicken broth from one cup to two and eliminate the one cup of wine.
I used Campari tomatoes because I feel they have the most flavor throughout the year when my garden isn’t producing fresh tomatoes. Plus I had some in the kitchen that needed to be used up. But you can also use a “regular” tomato, cherry tomatoes, or even canned tomatoes (just be sure to drain the canned tomatoes first).
The black-colored “blue mussel” is one of the most common types of fresh mussels sold in the US. You can store fresh mussels in your refrigerator until the use-by date, but you’ll want to be sure all of the shells are tightly closed before you start preparing this dish. If a mussel shell is open, try pressing it shut. As long as the shell stays shut, the mussel is alive and safe to steam and eat. But if it opens again, discard the mussel. Be sure to also toss any mussels with broken shells.
You should buy 1 to 1-½ pounds of mussels per person when serving this mussels in cream sauce recipe as a main dish.
Sage Advice: Looking for another alpha-gal friendly seafood dish for dinner? You’ll love this Argentine shrimp recipe and this General Tso shrimp. And for another alpha-gal friendly soup, there’s this Chili’s Southwest chicken soup that tastes just like the version available at the restaurant chain.
Half and Half
While half and half adds a rich creaminess to the final dish, not all alpha-gals can enjoy dairy products. My favorite dairy-free substitution for half and half is Country Crock plant-based heavy whipping cream.
And if you’re an alpha gal who not only tolerates dairy products but wants to double down for an even richer sauce, you can substitute heavy cream for half and half.
How to Cook Mussels in Cream Sauce
This mussels in cream sauce recipe is fast and easy to make following these basic steps:
- Soak the mussels in flour water
- Saute the vegetables
- Add the liquid (either a combination of broth and wine or just broth)
- Steam the mussels
- Add the cream
- Top with fresh parsley
Why Soak Mussels in Flour Water?
Although some cooks will say this step is not necessary for farm-raised mussels, I always soak my mussels in flour water. Mussels are filter feeders, which means they constantly take in water and filter out any particles like plankton or algae as their food source. When you soak them in a mixture of cold water and flour, something magical happens. The mussels start filtering out the tiny particles of flour from the water just as they would with their natural food sources.
This process not only helps clean out any remaining sand or grit inside the shells but also causes the mussels to expel some of their own juices while trying to get rid of those pesky flour particles, which ultimately results in plumper, more tender mussels once cooked.
Side Dishes to Serve with Mussels in Cream Sauce
When we make a big pot of steamed mussels, my family goes hard at that and is typically not interested in any distractions beyond chunks of grilled garlic bread. But if you’re looking for a good alpha-gal friendly side dish for mussels, I recommend the following.
While bread doesn’t feel like a legitimate side dish, it’s what my family pairs with mussels the most. Slice up a French baguette, brush one side with olive oil or butter, and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley before grilling or toasting in the oven.
When you serve a platter of crispy French fries with this dish, you essentially convert a pot of steamed mussels to a meal of “moules frites.” This is how mussels are commonly served in France and Belgium.
Other Potato Dishes
In addition to French fries, just about any other potato dish makes a great side for mussels. I recommend au gratin potatoes, Boursin hasselback potatoes, or these air fryer red potatoes for sides that go above and beyond fries.
At our house, we think simple is best. Our go-to simple salad is a bed of fresh salad greens topped with thinly sliced radishes and a homemade vinaigrette.
For this simple side dish for mussels, we roast the spears in the oven with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. For an added brightness, squeeze fresh lemon over the asparagus just before serving.
Related Article: How to Cook Asparagus Like a Pro
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Mussels
Although these mussels in cream sauce are so delicious you’ll likely push yourself to finish them all in one sitting, it’s easy to store and reheat leftover mussels.
Storing Leftover Mussels
Be sure to let the leftover mussels cool to room temperature. This step helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and ensures that the mussels remain safe to eat. Then transfer mussels to an airtight container, covering them with any remaining cream sauce to help maintain their moisture and flavor. Seal the container tightly and store in the fridge for up to two days.
Sage Advice: I do not recommend freezing leftover mussels as it can lead to a significant loss of taste and texture.
Reheating Leftover Mussels
When you are ready to reheat leftover mussels, you have a few options – oven, stovetop, or microwave – but my preference is the oven. To reheat mussels in the oven, preheat the oven to 350 F and transfer the leftover molluscs and sauce to an oven safe dish covered with a lid or aluminum foil to keep them from dying out. When the oven is ready, place the mussels in the oven for about 10-15 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 165 F.
Reheating mussels on the stovetop is similarly straightforward. Transfer the leftover mussels and cream sauce to a saucepan and gently stir them over medium-low heat until they reach an internal temperature of 165 F.
Sage Advice: Whether you reheat mussels in the oven or on the stove, avoid overheating them as they can easily become overcooked and rubbery.
While I don’t recommend reheating leftover mussels in the microwave, it can be done. (And, let’s face it, some of you are going to do it.) To use this reheating method, place the mussels in a microwave-safe dish along with the sauce and cover. Heat the mussels on medium power in one-minute increments, stirring after each minute and checking their temperature to ensure they don’t overheat and become rubbery.
Mussels in Cream Sauce with White Wine and Jalapenos
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ small white onion cut into sticks
- 1 jalapeno finely sliced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup white wine
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 Campari tomatoes diced
- black pepper
- ¼ cup flour
- 3 lbs fresh live mussels
- ½ cup half and half see dairy free and other substitutions above
- minced fresh parsley
- Prepare all ingredients: Cut onion into sticks, slice jalapeno, and mince garlic.
- Dissolve ¼ cup flour in a large bowl filled with water. Place mussels in bowl and set aside.
- In a large stock pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil over medium heat.
- When the oil is hot, add the onion and jalapenos. Cook until softened, for about two minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
- Pour in chicken broth and white wine. Add thyme sprigs and diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for three minutes to blend flavors.
- While the broth simmers, sort through the mussels in the flour water, removing any beards and discarding any mussels that are open.
- Stir the broth and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Turn the heat to medium-high. Drain and rinse the mussels. Add them to the pot. Cover and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes until the mussels open, stirring occasionally.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to shallow bowls, discarding the thyme springs and any unopened mussels.
- Whisk half and half into the broth and pour the white wine cream sauce over each bowl of mussels. Garnish with minced parsley, and serve with crusty bread for dipping into the flavorful broth.