Many of you will have been in Spain and hopefully have enjoyed a nice paella. In Spain there is the everlasting discussion on what is the 'authentic' paella. With seafood, or with rabbit, or both?? Luckily we don't have to join this discussion as vegans. We veganise a paëlla, and just call it a vegan Paella. Many of my Spanish friends (I lived in Spain for 12 years) will shout at me, and tell me that ; 'It is not a paëlla!!'. I don't really care. I just enjoy it! The world changes continuously, and so do our dishes. Which I believe is a great thing 😉 On top of that, we shouldn't forget that even in the past many paëlla de verduras (vegetable paella's) have been made in Spain when times were scarce and people didn't have meat nor fish to cook with.
Paëlla de verduras
So, why do we call this a vegan paëlla? Because we try to copy the same techniques as are used in the non-vegan paëlla's. Which means, it is all about the 'Caldo'. The better your caldo, the more delicious your final dish. Caldo is a Spanish word for broth. Therefore I advice in this recipe to use a good home made vegetable stock (no cubes please). Because it is all about the balance of your flavours in the stock , the saffron and paprika.
You can use many different vegetables for this rice dish. Such as;
- Kale (crispy roasted on top as decoration, yummy)
- green peas
- green beans
But the main ingredients to always use as a base are;
- red pepper, paprika
- chopped tomatoes
This is one of the many vegan paella's I made. Nice simple ingredients, but a very good stock. while doing this paella i made a quick video shot. So the video with the recipe is actually this one, and not the one in the recipe card. That is how versatile this recipe is. I will be posting more pictures of my various paella's.
Some people don't dare to make a paëlla at home because they don't have a paella pan or not the clever gas rings for even heat distribution you find in Spain. I say, Give it a try anyway! You might have to be very naughty and change the rule of 'not stirring'. But don't be too quick with that, a light little golden brown 'burn' in the middle is perfection. Only really give it a stir when you notice that the outside rice grains are not cooked at all, while the centre ones are risking to become mushy.
Vegan Paella and wine...
Depending a bit on the vegetables used in the Paella, but following this recipe, I would go for a light red. If you want to use the phrase; ' what grows together, goes together' , you might want to go for a light tempranillo. Or a dry Rosé from Navarra or Rioja. Light red and rose's from the neighbouring Languedoc-Roussillon area would match very well as well. Like a bandol rose, or in general a Provence rose. If you do prefer using a white, look for a bit of richness in a white. Like Roussane/marsanne and viognier blends. Sante!
Good luck! Enjoy the process, and the paella. have a read through my notes at the bottom end of the recipe, to get inspired. Let me know which veggies you used, and what the outcome was. I LOVE to see your pictures. Please add @haricoco1 to any of your Instagram posts.
Delicious Paëlla with saffron
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic finely diced
- 2 red peppers
- 1 courgette in cubes
- 2 large tomatoes chopped up keep juice
- 15-20 saffron treads
- 240 g 1 + ⅕ cup paella rice
- 500 ml 2 cups + 2 tbsp vegetable stock, home made
- good pinch of paprika powder
- 1 spring onion
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- Start with roasting 1 of the red peppers, until the skin is blackened. When the red pepper has cooled down enough, de-skin the pepper, and cut the flesh in nice even strips. Set aside
- Cut and chop all the other vegetables, ready for use (the other red pepper in small cubes)
- Take the high quality saffron treads and leave them to soak in a tiny bit of water (room temperature when you soak them overnight, hot water when you don't have the time, approx.15 min.)
- In a paella pan (or frying pan) saute the chopped onion in the olive oil, after 3 minutes add the garlic, the red pepper cubes and the courgette cubes, and leave for 3-5 minutes (make sure it is not too hot, nothing should start browning)
- Add the chopped tomatoes including their juice, and the soaked saffron treads with liquid.
- Give it a good stir and add a pinch of paprika powder, salt and pepper (keep in mind the saltiness of your vegetable stock), be careful not too overpower the dish with paprika, because it should be in balance with the saffron.
- Once the chopped tomatoes are softened you can start adding the vegetable stock, bring it to a nice simmer, and again check the seasoning.
- Now it is time to add the rice, make sure it is evenly distributed over the pan.
- The rice will need about 20 minutes to cook (check the package) during this time do not stir the rice. Let it slowly cook in the simmering stock.
- Test when it is ready, and take the pan of the heat source.
- Layer the paella with the roasted red pepper strips, a little of the chopped spring onion and some chopped parsley.
- Serve with the pan on the table, the paella should be lightly crisped up (charred) on the bottom of the middle of the pan.
- Kale (crispy roasted on top as decoration see pict. above, yummy!)
- green peas
- green beans
This Paella recipe is part of my new series; 'Travels of taste'. We use our taste buds to travel the world and discover the use of our senses and imaginations to meet other cultures through food. So today we find ourselves around the Mediterranean. If you are ready to imagine yourself travelling around the Mediterranean while sensing its salty air & hot summers and tasting its incredible variety of fresh food. Check out my full Mediterranean 'travels of taste' post; >>> The Med; Olive oil, herbs & fresh produce.