Try this Vegetarian Paella recipe and get a taste of Spain with a healthy twist
A paella is traditionally a Spanish rice dish that finds its origins in Valencia and is one of the more famous dishes to come from Spain. Paella means frying pan in the Valencian dialect and is traditionally made on an open frying pan. In the Valencian region it traditionally uses round grain rice, varieties of green beans, rabbit, duck, chicken among other seasonal ingredients, however the more global version, which is the paella de marisco (seafood paella) uses seafood like prawns, scallops, mussels, (some variations even call for chorizo) among other vegetables, skipping out on the green beans and green vegetables. The orange-yellow colour of paella comes from saffron in all variations. However this recipe is that of a vegetarian paella and skips out on meat completely making it perfect for those trying to cut down on meats, seafood and hoping to go for a healthy filling meal. Read on:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine
1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt, divided
6 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes (preferably the fire-roasted variety), drained
2 cups short-grain brown rice*
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
3 cups vegetable broth
⅓ cup dry white wine** or vegetable broth
½ teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled (optional)
1 can (14 ounces) quartered artichokes or 1 jar (12 ounces) marinated artichoke, drained
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced into long, ½”-wide strips
½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus about 1 tablespoon more for garnish
2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus additional lemon wedges for garnish
½ cup frozen peas
Arrange your oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, making sure that you have ample space between the two racks for your Dutch oven. You’re going to need a large Dutch oven (preferably 6 quarts/11-to-12” in diameter or bigger, although I got by with my 5.5-quart Le Creuset) or a large skillet with a snug-fitting lid (both must be oven-safe!).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in your Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onions are tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and paprika and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until the mixture begins to darken and thicken slightly, about 2 minutes Stir in the rice and cook until the grains are well coated with tomato mixture, about 1 minute. Stir in the chickpeas, broth, wine, saffron (if using) and 1 teaspoon salt.
Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover the pot and transfer it to the lower rack in the oven. Bake, undisturbed, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, 50 to 55 minutes.
Meanwhile, line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. On the baking sheet, combine the artichoke, peppers, chopped olives, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and about 10 twists of freshly ground black pepper. Toss to combine, then spread the contents evenly across the pan.
Roast the vegetables on the upper rack until the artichokes and peppers are tender and browned around the edges, about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the vegetables cool for a few minutes. Add ¼ cup parsley to the pan and the lemon juice, and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
For optional socarrat (crispy bottom—beware that you might have to scrub burnt bits from your pot later if you do this): Uncover the pot of baked rice, transfer it to the stovetop and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, rotating the pot as needed, until the bottom layer of rice is well browned and crisp.
Socarrat or not, sprinkle the peas and roasted vegetables over the baked rice, cover, and let the paella sit for 5 minutes. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped parsley (about 1 tablespoon) and serve in individual bowls, with lemon wedges on the side.
(Recipe courtesy CookieAndKate)