I love to make this warm salad with the tiniest arugula, mizuna or mustard greens I can find, but any baby green is a fresh addition to warm mussels doused with a lemon-garlic olive oil dressing. Crunchy garlic croutons add texture for this “salad” which I usually serve as a first course. Cook the mussels and combine the greens and dressing just before serving. 

Serves 4 to 6 as a starter or 2 as a main dish

For the dressing:

• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced (optional)
• Salt and pepper

For the warm salad:

• 2 pounds fresh mussels, rinsed well
• 2 cups garlic croutons (recipe below)
• 1 1/2 cups micro or baby greens such as arugula, mizuna, mustard, kale, nasturtium, watercress, or pea shoots. 

1. Arrange serving bowls or one large serving platter on your counter.

2. Make the dressing: Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and garlic and sauté until the garlic is softened and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, parsley, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of fresh pepper.

3. Make the salad: Shortly before serving, cook the mussels. Bring an inch of water (3 to 4 cups) to a boil in a large pot or sauté pan with a lid. Add the mussels, reduce the heat slightly, cover, and cook until all the mussels are open, about 5 to 7 minutes, depending on the size. Using the lid to hold the mussels, drain the water. Put the greens in a small bowl and set aside.

3. To assemble the salad, whisk the dressing and drizzle a little over the greens, tossing gently. Pour the rest of the dressing over the mussels in the pot and mix to coat. Immediately before serving, mix in half of the greens gently. Portion the mussels and dressing into bowls (include any liquid left in pot) and garnish with the remaining greens and the croutons. Serve right away. 


Garlic Croutons


  • I like to use a baguette, Italian bread, or sourdough bread for these croutons, but really any bread will work.
  • 3 cups bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (Line a baking sheet with parchment if desired.)

2. Toss the bread cubes with the olive oil and the garlic and arrange on a baking sheet.  Bake for approximately 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp, but still chewy inside.