Vegan Paella3 min read
One of Spanish culture’s best-known and most culturally significant recipes, paella is now beloved worldwide for its rich flavor and numerous variations. Originally from the Valencian community on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, paella is traditionally prepared with rabbit, chicken, beans, and broth. Some versions include meat and/or seafood; vegetables are also popular. The recipe below delivers a big punch of flavor while being nutritionally balanced and packed with vegetables. Saffron, the spice that gives paella its trademark yellow hue, is harvested by hand from the stamen of flowers. It boasts anti-cancer properties and is packed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and mood-boosting properties.
Total Time: 1 hour (30 minutes active time)
- 1-quart vegetable or mushroom stock
- 2 tablespoons dried mushrooms
- 10 garlic cloves (4 crushed and 6 minced), divided
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 2 large zucchini, halved lengthwise, then sliced into thin half-moons
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored, and chopped
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- 2 cups Bomba rice (or swap in any short-grain white rice)
- 1 can artichoke hearts, drained, then hearts halved lengthwise
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh parsley, chopped, to garnish
- Lemon wedges to serve
- In a large saucepan, bring the stock up to a simmer. Add the dried mushrooms and the 4 crushed garlic cloves, and cook for 10 minutes. Add the saffron, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- While the stock simmers, heat a large paella pan (or large heavy-bottomed pot with a lid) over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then the onions and remaining minced garlic, along with a generous pinch of salt, and sauté for 6-8 minutes, until the onions soften and caramelize.
- Add the zucchini, bell pepper, and paprika, and stir to combine. Allow to cook for another 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften.
- Add the rice to the pan, stirring it into the vegetables. Pour over all of the stock, and stir well. Bring it up to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Arrange the artichokes and peas on top, sprinkle everything with a good pinch of salt and pepper, and cover with the lid.
- Allow to cook, undisturbed over low heat, for 35 minutes. Turn off the heat, and allow to steam for another 15 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley, and serve with lemon wedges alongside. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes: Feel free to add additional vegetables to this mix. Chopped mushrooms, tomatoes, or eggplant would all be delicious. For a pescatarian version, you could lay shrimp or other shellfish on top of the rice mix before you put the lid on and allow it all to steam together.