Mussels and pesto with spaghetti

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Mussels and pesto with spaghetti

As mussels are one of the “Best Choice” seafoods (check out and reasonably inexpensive, I offer this simple and delicious version of spaghetti. They are farmed around the world but don’t get antibiotics and other bad things. 

Not that I wouldn’t eat spaghetti with meatballs, but this one is really good and environmentally friendly.

It may be easier to quadruple the pesto recipe so you can actually do it in a regular size food processor. You can freeze the leftovers. This small amount is easier in a mini-prep processor (I got one for a gift once and use it a lot). You can also just mush the ingredients using a mortar and pestle. 

Servings: 2


  • 1 pound mussels, debearded and scrubbed
  • 1 big bunch basil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted in a skillet
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Splash of dry white wine
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces whole wheat spaghetti


  1. Bring a pasta pot of water to a boil. 
  2. Process the basil leaves and garlic. 
  3. Add the pine nuts and cheese. Process some more. 
  4. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and process. Season to taste. Set aside. 
  5. Heat a skillet for about 3 minutes over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil. Toss in the mussels. They will sizzle. 
  6. Add a big splash of white wine and cover. Cook for about 3 minutes. 
  7. Stir the mussels so the ones not as open get to the bottom of the pan (this is theoretical — they all looked pretty much alike so I just stirred them). Recover and cook until they are all open, about another 3 minutes. 
  8. Drain the mussels in a colander being careful to catch the juice in a bowl underneath. 
  9. Cook the spaghetti per the instructions, drain and divide it into warm bowls.
  10. Thin out the pesto with some of the mussel juice. Mix the pesto, mussels, and spaghetti. 
  11. Serve with a big green salad.

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Calories: 591
  • Total fat: 27 g
  • Saturated fat: 4 g
  • Trans fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 65 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 52 g
  • Dietary fiber: 4 g
  • Sodium: 685 mg
  • Protein: 37 g