Vegetarian & Vegan Paella | with Colourful Vegetables and Spanish Saffron
Hola, Amigos ! Paella Vegetariana. Here is the translation; “Hello, Friends ! Vegetarian Paella” . This is what I wrote in Spanish, with my little knowledge of this wonderful European Language.
I am fond of spanish music, and crazy about spanish food. Do you know? Spain is the world’s largest producer of Olive oil. No wonder, the ‘International Olive Oil Council’ is based in Spain. Next to Olive oil, it’s saffron that takes the centre stage in Spanish cooking. Saffron, also know as ‘Red Gold’ is the most expensive, delicate, colourful, and flavourful spice in the world. Saffron contains several disease preventing and health promoting characteristics. Spain is one of the largest producers of saffron. Paella is the dish comprising of these two ingredients, Olive Oil and Saffron. In Spain, there is a National Paella day celebrated every year on March 27th !
Paella is one of emblematic dish of spain. Paella is a traditional Spanish dish from Valencia, it is a rice dish that has variety of meats, a selection of seafoods, vegetables, and saffron for its unique flavour and wonderful colour. I have skipped the meats and seafood from the original recipe and customised for vegetarians and vegan.
Vegetarian & Vegan Paella
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 bay leaves
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper/capsicum, diced
1 yellow bell pepper/capsicum, diced
1 green bell pepper/ capsicum, diced
4-5 white mushrooms, chopped
4 juicy tomatoes, chopped and mashed
1 pinch of saffron strands, roasted and soaked in hot water
2 tbsp of smoked paprika (or any chilli powder)
750 ml vegetable stock
375g Paella rice
1/2 cup (125 g) chickpeas, boiled
1/2 cup (125g) green peas, boiled
Salt to taste and parsley to garnish
1. Heat oil in a large pan or wok or paella pan
2. Add garlic, bay leaves, and onions; Saute until the onions are soft
3. Now, add all the bell peppers, and mushrooms
4. Let them cook for 3 – 4 minutes
5. Now make a well in the middle of the pan, pour in the mashed tomatoes and stir in the soaked saffron
6. Stir for a minute, and then sprinkle paprika and mix well
7. Pour more than half of the vegetable stock, sprinkle salt, and let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes (in high heat)
8. Now turn the heat down, and scatter the paella rice all over the pan
9. Let it cook for a minute or two in low heat
10. Add the boiled chickpeas and green peas and let it cook for about 2 minutes in high heat
11. Pour the rest of the vegetable stock
12. Now turn the heat down and let it cook in low heat for 16 minutes
13. Gently stir occasionally, over stirring may cause the rice to release starch and the whole dish may become soggy
14. Test a bit of rice to see if it’s cooked
15. Once the rice is cooked, sprinkle parsley and serve hot
- I used homemade vegetable stock. After boiling vegetables (for different dishes), I saved the water for vegetable stock. You can use store bought vegetable stock liquid or stock cube too.
- I used paella rice. You can use any type of round rice like Bahia, Balilla, Bomba, Senia, and Calasparra. If you cannot get hold of any of these Spanish varieties, you can use any short grain rice, just play around with water.
- You can increase or decrease the amount of paprika according to your taste
- You can substitute coriander leaves for parsley