Vegetarian Paella

July 5, 2008

This is a recipe I hold quite dearly to my heart. One, this vegetarian version of the Valencian Spanish paella is as tasty as it’s non-vegetarian cousins and two, it is a recipe I perfected after making SO many different versions of the vegetarian paella.

If you have tasted paella in a Spanish restaurant before, you will find that every, of this rather wet dish’s, rice grain is infused with the most amazing flavors. Usually, it is infused with either seafood or cured Spanish sausages call chorizo. But my favorite has to be the seafood paella and I will save that recipe for another day. 🙂

This vegetarian paella is quite simple despite it’s tastiness. The key is in the type of rice used – in my case, I find my vegetarian paella work quite beautifully when I mix long grain (basmati) rice with arborio (or any risotto-worthy) rice. But you can definitely just use either of these rice at your own risk 😉 Since this is a meatless dish, your rice has to be the star of the dish, which is why toasting your rice with a bit of crushed garlic and olive oil creates great base flavors for your rice, you can also use fresh herbs too but remember to discard them after toasting your rice.

If you are looking for an easy and delicious one pot meal, this is definitely the way to go.

Vegetarian Paella:
3 tablespoon of olive oil + 1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup long grain rice
1 bay leaf
1 onion, chopped finely
3 cloves of garlic minced + 1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 medium carrot, halved and sliced
1 cup of green beans, cut into 1 inch length
1 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
1/2 red pepper, cut into 1 inch slices
1 large tomato, diced
1/4 cup of spinach, chopped (use frozen ones)
1 3/4 cups of vegetable broth

1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon worth of saffron (can be substituted with turmeric powder)
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
pepper to taste

Use a pan with a lid instead of a pot for this recipe. It works much better, in my opinion 🙂

1. Rinse rice with water to clean and drain properly.
2. In a pan, heat up 1 teaspoon of olive oil under medium heat and toss in a clove of crushed garlic. Add rice into the pan and saute until the rice become dry and grains are slightly translucent. This will take about 8-10 minutes. Pour the rice out into a bowl for later and discard the garlic.
3. Using the same pan, add 3 tablespoon of olive oil and saute the onions, garlic, bay leaf and carrot until they are soft. Add the zucchini, peppers, diced tomatoes and green beans in and saute for another 2 minutes.
4. Add rice into the vegetable mixture as well as all the spices. Stir until all is well combined.
5. Now is time to add in your vegetable broth – let the pan come to a slight simmer, and cover it with the lid. Let it cook under medium heat for 10 minutes and quickly toss in your frozen spinach, then turn off the heat and let the pan sit for another 15-20 minutes. Do Not Open The Lid. <—- this makes sure that the all moisture and flavor is absorbed completely into the rice. After 15-20 minutes, stir the rice and serve hot. Goes very well with a glass of red wine or grape juice for those who don’t drink anymore 😛
This rice dish is rather wet but never soggy and not quite like risotto. It holds itself well with a good balance of moisture. For a vegetarian dish, this is something I am quite proud off and would serve to my meat eating friends without worrying that they would balk! And should they start complaining, a little chorizo on the side usually keeps them happy.

This recipe feeds two hungry people or 4-6 servings as a side dish.

P.S. You will also find that my method of cooking the paella conforms to the southwestern Valencian style paella where the rice is first stir-fried (or in my case, I call it toasting) in oil like a a pilaf. I only do this for the vegetarian paella because it enhances the flavors and taste – and personally, i find toasting rice grains makes the rice hold its shape better and it creates a nice nutty flavor when the rice is cooked.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
[eatingclub] vancouver || js
July 5, 2008 @ 6:31 pm

Vegetarian paella sounds like a wonderful dish! If it’s flavourful enough, I’m sure family members wouldn’t miss the meat too much.

July 10, 2008 @ 7:34 am

I hv been doing rice dishes more often recently. This is something I could certainly think of if I have all the spices in my inventory!

July 31, 2008 @ 7:39 pm

Great work! If I decide to do a vegetarian paella to go along with the Rioja my coworker gave me, I’ll do this recipe.

Thanks again.

August 21, 2008 @ 10:51 am

Just had this for dinner – was fantastic. Also posted an adapted version up on my blog 🙂 Hope that’s ok!

Cassie's Kitchen
July 22, 2009 @ 12:55 am

Since I've gone veg, this is the one dish I've missed the most. I'm going to make this paella. Just reading the recipe makes my mouth water. Well done on the photography too!

October 15, 2009 @ 5:07 am

Great recipe but in your ingredients you have 1 large diced tomato but you don't mention when it goes in with the other veggies?

April 26, 2010 @ 12:49 am

Same question as above! Wondering what to do with that tomato. Maybe put it in with the frozen Spinach?


April 26, 2010 @ 2:26 am

Hi guys,

I am so sorry for the late reply. The tomato goes in along with the zucchini, peppers and green beans. I've corrected that missing tomato puzzle on the recipe. Thanks for pointing it out.


July 19, 2010 @ 3:01 pm

I just printed your recipe above and will make it soon. I just ate in a restaurant and I ordered a Veggie Reuben sandwich ( I told them to substitute the meat with a veggie burger). I asked the waitress to find out for me, what kid of veggie burger they used. She told me the cook said it was Paella.

So, do you have a good Vegetarian Paella Burger recipe? I would love to make them for friends or possibly freeze them ahead for myself!

The veggie burger was great! I asked the waitress and she said the cook told her it was Paella.

November 2, 2010 @ 6:12 am

love your recipe, have all the ingredients in my kitchen in chennai, india! Super. Always wanted to eat Paella. Going to try it soon.

January 11, 2011 @ 11:43 am

Thanks for the recipe. I just made it and it worked out perfectly.

  • Pingback: Run Streak Week #2 & Meatless Monday « Running for Today

  • Pingback: Run Streak Week #3…how’d that happen?!? « Running for Today

  • Anna
    March 27, 2016 @ 5:17 pm

    Since I discovered this recipe years ago it has been in regular rotation at my house. It is so so tasty. My husband and my kids love it. Sometimes I bake tofu and add it on top at the end. Thanks for the recipe!

      March 27, 2016 @ 6:20 pm

      Hey Anna, it’s comments like these that makes my day! I am glad that this recipe has served you well 🙂


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *