Steamed Mussels with Onion and Thyme

These Steamed Mussels with Onion and Thyme are so quick and easy, perfect for just one or two people. Any more than that and you might need a massive catering pot to cook them as mussels take up a huge volume for a relatively small amount of meat. These are also a dieter’s best friend as they are high in protein and low in fat. I cooked them here with onion, thyme and vinegar but they are so good with the flavours of South East Asia too – garlic, chilli, lime, ginger, if you are looking to give your low-cal diet some variety. Mussels are so cheap that there is no reason why you can’t eat them a few times a week! They can be hard to come by but live mussels can be frozen for up to 3 months, just use them within 2 days of thawing.

Like a lot of shellfish, when it comes to mussels people can be nervous about food safety. There’s really nothing to be nervous about, just buy fresh. Any muscles that don’t close when you knock them hard on the counter, just throw them away. Any mussels that remain closed during cooking, throw those away too.

Steamed Mussels with Onion and Thyme


  • 900g mussels
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 generous sprigs of thyme
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced or crushed
  • 1 tsp of chilli flakes (optional)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp toasted seaweed flakes (optional)
  • 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 200 ml water
  • 1 small handful of fresh parsley leaves


  1. Prepare the mussels by taking any raw, open mussels and knocking them on the counter. If they close themselves, they are alive and safe to cook.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy based pot and add the diced onion.
  3. Stir in the thyme and salt and add the garlic.
  4. Stir in the chilli flakes and lemon juice followed by the seaweed and deglaze the pan with the vinegar.
  5. Add the water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, add the mussels, stir and clamp the lid on and leave for 5 minutes.
  6. 5 minutes later, stir them up again, stir in your parsley and serve in a bowl with all the broth.
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