Paella (pa-ya-yah) is primarily a rice dish that originated from Spain. It is normally made with meat and seafood. Few years back we were in Barcelona, Spain and couldn’t find vegan or vegetarian paella. So I wanted to try making paella. I was skeptical before I made this dish, not sure how it would turn out. There is a lot of prep work with this recipe but it is worth all the efforts. The paella is very flavorful, colorful and loaded with veggies. Purists may disagree with me, nevertheless…
Niki loved the dish and I told her it is the Spanish version of Biryani. I personally love anything and everything rice. This is a very hearty dish and I savoured every bite.
Any short grain variety of rice will work for this recipe. I made my own vegetable stock you can use canned as well. This dish is versatile because you can add any kind of veggies you have on hand.
About 50 minutes
- 1 ½ cups of short grain rice rinsed, I used Mahatma brand
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- For the stock: 1 white onion, 3 stalks celery, 3 carrots (all veggies roughly chopped) 2 bay leaves and 2 ½ cups water.
- 2 tomatoes, grated
- ½ tsp saffron
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 2 fresh or ½ cup canned artichokes
- 10 asparagus spears, cut into 2 inches
- 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- ½ white onion chopped
- ½ cup mushroom any variety, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, cut into bite size pieces
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 12 oz pack soyrizo, meatless variety
- 1 8 oz pack tempeh
- 3-4 tsp hot sauce
- 4 tbsp parsley, chopped
- 1-2 tsp red chilli powder
- ¼ tsp turmeric, optional
- Salt to taste
- 2 tsp oil for the pan plus 2 tsp oil to saute veggies
- 2-3 lemon wedges to serve
To make vegetable stock: combine all the ingredients in a pan, bring to a boil, strain and use as required. Stock can be made ahead and refrigerated.
Cut tempeh into strips and add ½ tsp oil to a pan and saute till brown on both sides adding salt to taste and 1 tsp hot sauce. Keep aside.
In the same pan add ½ tsp oil and add the asparagus and saute for 3-5 minutes adding salt to taste. Keep aside.
Add halved tomatoes and saute in the same pan for 2-4 minutes until it slightly changes color. Do not add salt as it will release water and make the tomatoes mushy.
Take soyrizo from the plastic casing and cut carefully (as it is soft) and place in a lightly greased pan and cook in a 350 F preheated oven for 15 minutes and cool.
Take a wide pan add 2 tsp oil. Keep heat on medium and add chopped onion and garlic. Add bell pepper saute for a minute. Add vegetable stock and bring to boil.
Add rice and stir lightly. Add the grated tomato and mix well. Add saffron, turmeric, lemon juice and 3 tbsp parsley. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes.
Add mushroom, peas, artichoke, tempeh, remaining hot sauce, red chili powder and salt.
After 10 minutes add soyrizo and lightly mix. Cover again until rice is fully cooked.
Garnish with parsley, tomato halves and lemon wedges and serve warm.
To prepare fresh artichokes boil whole artichokes salted water making sure the artichokes are fully submerged in water. After 15-20 minutes drain the water. Cool completely and separate the leaves one by one and get to the heart or core. Spoon and discard the fuzzy part and cut the stem and heart and use as required. The base of the leaves also contain the pulp/meat which can be eaten by scraping.
The famous proverb "you are what you eat” as quoted by the French author Anthelme Brillat-Savarin is very true. Food nourishes you from the inside out. Good health is of utmost importance to me. Vegetarianism and Veganism are gaining immense popularity these days. Natural, organic, healthy and homemade is my mantra.
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