Paella Vegetariana (Veggie-Filled Vegan Paella)
Paella is a traditional Spanish rice dish cooked in a skillet, colored bright yellow by saffron, and filled with seafood. This vegan rendition focuses on veggies instead. It’s an easy dish to make, and the results are splendid. If saffron is hard to come by, this gives you the option of using turmeric instead. This goes well with a simple salad of mixed greens with orange sections, cucumber, and toasted almonds. In season, add a few slender asparagus stalks to the plate for a really gorgeous meal. For an even quicker version of veggie paella, see Quick Quinoa Paella.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup long grain brown or brown Basmati rice
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch strips
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch strips
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (preferably low-sodium)
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads, dissolved in a small amount of hot water,
or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cups diced ripe tomatoes (or substitute one 14-to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes)
- 14-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts
- 1 1/2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat the 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in a wide skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the half of the green and half of the red bell pepper (set aside the rest), and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the broth, rice, saffron or turmeric, and thyme. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer gently until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Check if rice is completely done; Add a small amount of water to cook further if needed, or to add a bit more moisture to the mixture.
Stir in the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, peas, and half of the parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Cook just until everything is well heated through, about 3 minutes.
Just before serving, heat the remaining oil in a small skillet. Add the reserved bell pepper strips and sauté until just tender. Stir into the paella.
Sprinkle the remaining parsley over the top of the paella and serve at once, straight from the pan.
Per serving: 293 calories; 9g fat; 665mg sodium; 48g carbs; 6.5g fiber; 9g protein