My First Vegan Paella

Inspired by a recent dinner at Loquita (Santa Barbara's latest and greatest addition!!) I made vegan paella tonight. If I'm being completely honest it was nowhere near as good as Chef Lee's however I will say it was still pretty damn good!

No, I didn't use a proper paella pan as ours is large enough to feed 10+ (I used a standard 8.5 QT sauté pan) and admittedly it was more like a Spanish risotto (sans cheese) but super delicious AND an excellent dish to use up all the leftover veggies!

What I put in….

  •   2½ cups Vegetable Stock
  •   ¼ teaspoon Saffron Threads
  •   2½ Tablespoons Avocado Oil
  •   1 Sweet Yellow Onion, Chopped
  •   1 Yellow Bell Pepper, Sliced
  •   1 Orange Bell Pepper, Sliced
  •   1 cup Cremini Mushrooms, Sliced
  •   3 cloves Garlic, diced
  •   1 cup Paella / Bomba Rice
  •   2 Roma Tomatoes, chopped
  •   1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  •   Salt/Pepper as desired
  •   1/3 Head Cauliflower
  •   1 cup Green Beans – 2 inch pieces
  •   1 Zucchini or Yellow Squash – ½ inch thick coins cut in half
  •   1 cup Green Peas
  •   ½ cup Parsley, chopped

 

How I made it…..

  Combine the stock and saffron threads in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and maintain a simmer. Meanwhile, heat your sauté / paella pan on the stove with 1½ tablespoons Avocado Oil.

  Add Onion to pan and sauté for 2 minutes. Add sliced peppers and continue to sauté till softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or until it has softened slightly. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

  Chop Cauliflower, Green Beans and Zucchini – place into a baking pan, add a few glugs of Avocado Oil, season with salt and put into a toaster oven on 425 for approximately 15 minutes. If you like them more well done – do another 5 minutes under the broiler. I’m sure you could cook these in the paella pan but I wanted them to be a bit crispier.

  Increase heat to medium-high. Add Paella / Bomba rice, tomato and paprika and cook, stirring, for 1 minute until well mixed through. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add one-third of the saffron infused stock and stir until just combined. Let simmer uncovered for 5 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed.

  Add the next third of the stock and cook for 5 minutes uncovered or until almost absorbed. Add remaining third of stock and cook for 5-10 minutes uncovered.

  Sprinkle surface of paella with peas. Cover pan securely and leave to cook on a low heat for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, turn heat off but leave the paella pan covered for another 10 minutes. Resist all urges to mix or stir. Let it do it's thing!!

  After 10 minutes, garnish with parsley and enjoy with a nice Spanish red or some other beverage of your choosing! The (sadly no longer available) 2014 Municipal Winemakers Grenache was perfection!!

The great thing about this dish is that no matter what you put in it – it still tastes really good. That’s not to say that Paella is easy – the rice could be undercooked or overcooked – but overall it’s a pretty versatile dish to make, it’s a people pleaser and nearly any veggie will taste good in it – so it’s an ideal dish to make when you have a ton of veggies in the fridge at the tail end of their prime. The flavors really develop during cooking and it’s rich without being overwhelming.

Buen Provecho!