Paella is a traditional dish from Valencia, Spain. Being a local cuisine, it is most made with sea food that popularly includes shrimps and mussels. In our recipe, we will explore the Vegetarian Paella.
Paella, a Venecian word, is derived from paelle, an Old French word referring to pan. It is regarded as the national dish of Spain. A rice based dish, very similar to the Indian/Middle Eastern Pilaf (Pulao), Paellas are popularly made with meat (chicken, rabbit or sometimes duck) or seafood (mussels, shrimps). Saffron is a predominant spice used for seasoning. However, there are 2 major differences between the Paella and the Pulao/Pilaf. The rice used in Paella is usually short and round (called Bomba Rice) and some versions include a sticker variety, unlike the Pilaf that used long grained rice versions. The other major difference is that the rice is not braised in oil.
The vegetarian paella is called paella de verduras (vegetables) in Spanish and is a hearty meal loaded with lots of vegetables. A beautiful party-worthy, one-pot dish that is gluten-free, nut-free and 100% vegan. You can use any vegetable you want in this dish. Cooking this includes a stove-top method and well as baking – both of these modern versions. The traditional ones were cooked over direct fire. When it comes to the utensils, you have two options: a Paella pan (Paelleras) or a vessel similar to a Dutch Oven that has a tight fitting lid and a heavy bottom.
In this Vegetarian Paella recipe, we will use the stove-top method.
Vegetarian Paella Recipe
Ingredients for Vegetarian Paella
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 100 g Soy Chunks soaked & prepped
- 1 Cup Artichoke hearts Marinated and quartered
- 1 Yellow Capsicum thinly sliced
- 1 Cup Zucchini sliced
- 1 Cup Carrots trimmed & cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 Cup Green Peas Fresh or Frozen
- 300 g Ripe Tomatoes cut
- 2 cloves Garlic minced
- 10-12 strands Saffron
- 1/2 tsp Paprika
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 Cups Cooked Rice 90% cooked. Should not be mashed consistency
- 120 ml Reduced vegetable stock or warm water
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley leaves chopped
- Salt & Pepper as per taste
- 2-3 Lemon Wedges for serving
How to make Vegetarian Paella
- Heat the oil in a large paella pan or skillet over medium-high heat.
- Soak the saffron strands in a few spoons of water for 10-15 minutes.
- Add the soy chunks and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the artichokes, capsicum, zucchini, carrots, asparagus, peas, tomatoes, saffron, paprika and bay leaves, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, until they are semi cooked, stirring frequently.
- Add the rice, stock water, salt and saffron infused water and cook for 5 more minutes, covered, under low flame, until the liquid is absorbed.
- Remove from the heat. Allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes and cover with a thin cloth to absorb the moisture.
- Remove the bay leaves and stir in the parsley and serve hot with lemon wedges.
- Ideal to use Paella pan. If not a dutch oven or a heavy bottomed flat kadhai or vessel will also do.
- If the rice gets burnt at the bottom, don't worry. It is a signature of the dish.