I love paella. Well, I guess I should say ‘loved’, because before last week, when I decided to make my own mediterranean vegetable paella, I hadn’t had paella in the time I’ve been vegetarian (just over 5 years).
As a person who spent a lot of time in Spain as a child, and has eaten more than her fair share of proper paella in her time, I am well aware that this isn’t a traditional paella, but it is pretty damn good…
If you aren’t aware of what paella is, allow me to enlighten you. Paella is a Valencian rice dish, commonly made with meat – usually chicken, with seafood, or a mixture of both. This recipe uses peppers, courgettes and tomatoes. Paella rice is pretty easy to find in supermarkets these days, but if you can’t find it anywhere, you can substitute with risotto rice.
This recipe is colourful, healthy, completely vegan, AND it only takes about half an hour to make.. what’s not to like?!
- 1 small white onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed,
- 1 small red onion, cut into thick half-moons
- 1 courgette, sliced
- A handful of vine tomatoes, quartered
- 2 small peppers, sliced (I used both red and yellow for a contrast of colour)
- 100g paella rice
- 325ml vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon of tomato purée
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
- Heat a little olive oil in a large casserole dish, or a paella dish if you have one
- Add the white onion and garlic and allow to soften for a few minutes
- Now add the red onion, the peppers and the courgette, and cook for 5 minutes
- Add the tomatoes, the tomato purée, season with the spices and salt and pepper and stir through. Allow to cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Push the vegetables to one side of the pan, and add the rice. Allow to cook until it becomes opaque (about 2-3 minutes)
- Whilst the rice is cooking, make up the vegetable stock as per the instructions (note: I have specified the amount of stock needed for the paella rice I used, you may need more. A guideline amount will be specified on the packet)
- Add the stock to the rice in one go (this is where paella and risotto differ). Stir through, cover and allow to cook for approximately 20 minutes.
- Serve as a side, or as a main. When I made this I topped with a steamed asparagus, if you want it to go a little further you could also add peas or cannellini beans.