Think again if you think that paella is difficult to prepare! This one-pan marvel is easy to make, delicious, and can be customized based on season and taste. For even more flavor, we added some vegan chorizo. (Check out our recipe for the latest version ). We’ll show you exactly how to do it!
What is Paella?
Paella is a rice dish that originated in Valencia. The term paella is Spanish for “frying pan.” This dish is traditionally made in a shallow pan with handles along the sides.
Paella is made with rice, saffron, meat, seafood, broth, and spices. It is traditionally cooked over an open fire, where it develops the crispy crust known as socarrat.
How to make vegan paella
The recipe begins by combining saffron and lemon juice. To get the best out of saffron, combine it with lemon juice to bring out its vibrant color and flavor. The flower only blooms for one week a year, so it is an expensive spice. However, it is essential in paella, as it has a fragrant, unique, and slightly sweet flavor.
We then sauté the red bell peppers, onion, and garlic to create a sweet and savory base. Smoked paprika gives the dish a smoky flavor, while sea salt adds to its richness.
The best paella rice is short-grain, round rice. This is because it has a low starch content. ( source). We used arborio, a medium-grain rice that is readily available but not in our area. Basmati and jasmine are long-grain varieties that will become mushy more easily.
We packed this recipe full of veggies because vegan paella is prone to becoming a rice-heavy dish. The artichoke heart marinade adds a briny, salty flavor, while the cherry tomatoes and frozen peas give it a spring-like feel.
We have included an optional topping with our Easy Vegan Chorizo. This paella is a great way to get extra protein.
- Half a teaspoon of saffron
- Lemon juice 3 Tbsp
- If oil is not available, substitute vegetable broth for 1 tbsp of olive oil
- The recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of diced yellow onions (1 medium onion).
- The recipe calls for one medium red pepper, but you can use up to 1 cup of chopped red bell.
- The recipe calls for 3 Tbsp of minced garlic (6 garlic cloves).
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp of sea salt
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- Marinade for 1 cup of quartered marinated artichoke heart, reserved (12-ounce jar, as written in the recipe)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup frozen peas
IF SERVING optional
- One batch of Easy vegan Chorizo or substitute store-bought El Burrito Soyrizo for cooking.
- Lemon wedges
- Combine the saffron and lemon juice in a small bowl to bloom the saffron. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan or paella pan (at least 12 inches across) over medium heat. Add red bell peppers, onion, and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Toss in paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Add the rice and gently toast it for 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, saffron, and lemon juice. Stir ingredients well to distribute evenly.
- Bring the broth to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat immediately after boiling. Set a timer to 20 minutes and cover the pot. Simmer for 20 uninterrupted minutes or until the grains become tender.
- Cook vegan chorizo if you want to (while the rice is cooking).
- CHORIZO: Prepare the vegan chorizo if you are serving it with rice. Heated a cast iron or nonstick skillet of 10 inches over medium heat. Add avocado oil in a thin layer and vegan chorizo in as many layers as you can comfortably fit into the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes, undisturbed. If it doesn’t sizzle or pop, increase the heat. Use a spatula and flip the pan as evenly as you can to brown the opposite side for three more minutes. To evenly brown both sides, break it up and toss for 2 min. Repeat the process with any leftover chorizo. Set cooked chorizo aside.
- After 20 minutes, test the rice to make sure it is cooked. Add 1/2 cup of water (120 ml), and cook for another few minutes if necessary. Turn off the heat when the rice is cooked. Add the artichoke hearts, tomatoes, peas, and 2 Tbsp (30ml) artichoke Marinade, and gently toss. Cover and heat for 2 minutes. Test and adjust according to your taste. Add more salt and acidity from the artichoke marinade or smokey paprika to add depth/smokiness. Serve with vegan chorizo, lemon wedges, and artichoke marinade.
- Fresh is best. In the fridge, leftovers can be kept for up to four days. It’s not freezer-friendly.