When it comes to Spanish cuisine, one dish that stands out for its rich flavors and simplicity is “Mejillones a la Marinera.” This traditional seafood dish, also known as “Marinara Mussels,” is a popular choice among locals and tourists alike. In this article, we will explore the origins of this dish, its key ingredients, and the step-by-step process of preparing it. So, let’s dive in and discover the secrets behind this mouthwatering recipe.

The Origins of Mejillones a la Marinera

Mejillones a la Marinera has its roots in the coastal regions of Spain, where fresh seafood is abundant. The dish is believed to have originated in the Basque Country, a region known for its culinary excellence. Over time, it has spread throughout the country and gained popularity in various Spanish coastal towns.

The marinera sauce, which is the heart of this dish, is a classic Spanish sauce that is commonly used in seafood recipes. It is made with a combination of tomatoes, onions, garlic, white wine, and various herbs and spices. The sauce is known for its vibrant red color and robust flavor, which perfectly complements the tender mussels.

The Key Ingredients

To prepare Mejillones a la Marinera, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of fresh mussels
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 2 cups of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A handful of fresh parsley, chopped

Preparing Mejillones a la Marinera

Now that we have gathered all the necessary ingredients, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of preparing Mejillones a la Marinera:

  1. Clean the mussels: Start by scrubbing the mussels under cold running water to remove any dirt or debris. Discard any mussels with broken shells or that do not close when tapped.
  2. Sauté the aromatics: In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, and sauté until they become translucent and fragrant.
  3. Add the marinara sauce: Pour in the white wine and let it simmer for a couple of minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate. Then, add the crushed tomatoes, paprika, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  4. Cook the mussels: Increase the heat to high and add the cleaned mussels to the pot. Cover the pot and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until the mussels open up. Discard any mussels that remain closed.
  5. Garnish and serve: Once the mussels are cooked, remove the pot from the heat. Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the dish for a fresh and vibrant touch. Serve the Mejillones a la Marinera hot with crusty bread on the side.


1. Can I use frozen mussels instead of fresh ones?

While fresh mussels are preferred for their flavor and texture, you can use frozen mussels if fresh ones are not available. Just make sure to thaw them properly before cooking.

2. Can I substitute the white wine with another ingredient?

If you prefer not to use white wine, you can substitute it with seafood broth or even vegetable broth. However, keep in mind that the flavor profile of the dish may vary slightly.

3. How do I know if the mussels are safe to eat?

Before cooking the mussels, it is important to check if they are alive and safe to eat. Discard any mussels with broken shells or that do not close when tapped. Additionally, after cooking, discard any mussels that remain closed as they may be unsafe to consume.

4. Can I add other seafood to the dish?

Absolutely! Mejillones a la Marinera can be customized to your liking. You can add other seafood such as shrimp, clams, or squid to enhance the flavors and create a seafood medley.

5. What is the best way to enjoy Mejillones a la Marinera?

Mejillones a la Marinera is best enjoyed as a tapa or appetizer. Serve it with crusty bread to soak up the flavorful sauce. It pairs well with a glass of chilled white wine, enhancing the overall dining experience.


Mejillones a la Marinera is a classic Spanish seafood dish that showcases the freshness and flavors of the sea. With its rich marinara sauce and tender mussels, it is a true delight for seafood lovers. Whether you are hosting a dinner party or simply craving a taste of Spain, this recipe is sure to impress. So, gather the ingredients, follow the steps, and savor the taste of Mejillones a la Marinera!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here