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SPANISH VEGAN PAELLA

top down view of vegetable vegan paella in a paella pan with fork and items surrounding.

4.9 from 14 reviews

Full of color and simple flavors, this vegan Spanish paella recipe is loaded with veggies and makes an eye catching centerpiece for the table! No need to have a paella pan, you can use a large pot or dutch oven.

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon saffron or turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or 1/4 cup water/veggie broth
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 bell peppers (red, orange or yellow), cored and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups green beans or asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 lb. (16 oz) tomatoes, seeded and diced or 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes + juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 23 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups short grain rice (Valencia or arborio)
  • 3 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/21 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 can/jar (14 oz) artichoke hearts in water, drained and quartered
  • 1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen, thawed)
  • chopped parsley leaves, to garnish
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Instructions

Steep saffron: In a small bowl, add the saffron threads to 3 tablespoons warm water, let set 10 minutes to steep. If using turmeric, skip this step and add turmeric with the other spices.

Saute: Heat olive oil/broth over medium heat in a large wide flat-bottomed pan or paella pan (a dutch oven or large pot would also suffice). Add onions and bell peppers, cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, green beans, tomatoes, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes and bay leaves, cook another 3 minutes stirring frequently. For softer veggies, cook another 7 minutes or so, totaling 10 minutes after adding the latter ingredients.

Add rice + broth: Add in the rice, broth, saffron mixture/turmeric and salt. Gently move the vegetables around so the rice falls to the bottom of the pan as much as possible.

Boil + simmer: Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium or medium-low and cook at a continuous gentle boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Do not stir the rice. If using a large paella pan (15 inches or so) you’ll want to rotate the pan over the burner every so often to help cook the rice evenly. Stay in the kitchen and clean up so you’re right there to adjust the pan when needed. If liquids seem to boil off too quickly, add a little extra warm water/broth.

Add peas and artichokes: After 15 minutes of cooking, scatter the peas and artichoke hearts on top, cook for 5 minutes more.

Cover to steam: Turn off heat and cover for 10 minutes with a kitchen towel or other cover of choice. This will allow the rice to absorb any remaining liquid as well as steam the peas and warm the artichoke hearts and any other optional ingredients added as noted below. Once done, lightly fluff the rice and serve. Discard bay leaves before eating. Season with salt, pepper or more paprika to taste.

Serve: Garnish with chopped parsley. Pairs perfectly with a side of leafy greens and a big squeeze of lemon over top. Enjoy straight from the pan or serve in individual bowls.

Serves 4 – 6

Notes

Add protein: For added protein, add 1 can (15 oz.), drained and rinsed, or 1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini or great northern beans. You may also consider adding 2 sliced vegan sausages, Tofurky or Field Roast. Add the beans/sausage when adding the peas and artichoke hearts.

Pan suggestions: No need to use a paella pan, you can use a dutch oven or other large pot to cook your paella. The reason for using a paella pan is to have a thin layer of rice that hopefully crisps up a bit, with the vegetables over top. You can still achieve this with the other vessels mentioned above. I used this paella pan and found this cover to be helpful with the large-sized pan.

Go for the socarrat: If you like to get the socarrat (a caramelized layer of toasted rice at the bottom of the pan), at the end of cooking, turn the heat up for 1 -2 minutes listening for the sizzle or smell of toasted (not burnt) rice. The rice at the bottom of the pan will crispen up making for a crispy texture. It’s quite a treat!

Use canned/jarred ‘grilled’ artichoke hearts if you like. If using frozen, be sure to thaw first.

If you don’t have smoked paprika, use sweet/regular paprika.

To serve 6 – 8, use 2 cups (16 oz.) rice and 4 1/2 cups broth/water. No need to add more vegetables (but you can if you want). Note that the paella pan I used will easily accommodate this larger amount.