I haven’t been posting too often these days because of a work project that is keeping me out of the kitchen. Things should be back to normal in a few weeks. In the meantime, when I am able to cook, I am making recipes that get dinner on the table quickly. One of the fastest and most inexpensive meals you can make is this recipe for Mussels with Black Bean Sauce from Bonnie Stern. You can serve the mussels over pasta or rice or just have them with crusty bread.

The leeks and peppers are sautéed with the seasonings.

Leeks and peppers are sauteed with ginger and garlic

Add the mussels, bring to boil and cover.

Prior to cooking, discard any mussels that don't close when you tap them

When the mussels open they are cooked.

Once they are cooked, discard any mussels that remain closed

Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Serve over rice or pasta, or just with crusty bread

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use all-natural chili paste (I use Thai Kitchen brand), fermented black beans (I use dried fermented beans), fresh lemon juice, tamari soy sauce, organic chicken stock (try Imagine brand) and rice vinegar without preservatives or sulfites (I use Marukan brand).


4 lbs. mussels

2 tsp vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp finely chopped ginger root

3 green onions, chopped

½ tsp hot chili paste

2 tbsp fermented black beans, rinsed and chopped

1 tsp grated lemon peel

2 leeks or small onions, trimmed and thinly sliced

2 sweet peppers, thinly sliced

½ cup chicken stock, fish stock, dry white wine or water

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

¼ cup chopped cilantro or parsley


Clean mussels and discard any that have broken shells or that do not close when lightly tapped.

Heat vegetable oil in a wok or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add green onions, ginger, garlic, chili paste, black beans and lemon peel. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, or until very fragrant.

Add leeks and red peppers and cook for 2 minutes, or until vegetables are slightly wilted.

Add stock, water, vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Stir well and bring to a boil.

Add mussels and return to a boil. Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until mussels have opened and are thoroughly cooked (discard any mussels that do not open). Stir well. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serves 6-8 as a main course or 8-10 as an appetizer.

From Bonnie Stern’s Simply HeartSmart Cooking