Perfect Paella

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Despite popular myth, being vegan is not about going without--it's about opening to compassionate abundance. And what's more abundant than delicious paella? This dish is slightly more involved than some of our other recipes (and was the centerpiece of our Christmas Eve dinner this year), but it's still straight forward and well worth the bit of extra time. Plus you can make it in large quantities (just use a bigger pan/pot), so you'll have several meals for your efforts.

3/4 C. fresh green beans cut in 2-3-inch pieces
1/2 C. medium zucchini (yellow or green) sliced in half circles
3/4 C. cauliflower chopped into small pieces
1 large red pepper
2-3 threads saffron
1 medium tomato chopped
1 t. smoked paprika
1 C. rice (uncooked)
1/2 C. white wine (optional, but recommended)
2 T. Veggie or No-Chicken Better Than Bouillon (or similar)
1/2 C. peas (fresh or frozen)
1/2-3/4 C. quartered artichoke hearts (plain, not marinated)
1/4 C. sliced green olives (or black if you prefer)
1 lemon cut into wedges (for serving)
Few sprigs Italian parsley

Heat oven or toaster oven to 375 degrees. Slice red pepper in half and core. Place on baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes.

In a large oven-safe pan (if you want to oven finish; we use cast iron), sauté green beans, zucchini, and cauliflower in about 2 T. of olive oil on medium for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 1/4 C. water, separating out 1/4 C. Place saffron threads in 1/4 C. water and let sit. Stir in bouillon into the other 2 C. of water. 

Chop roasted red pepper and stir into the sauté mix. Stir in tomato, paprika, rice, white wine, and saffron water. Let simmer for 5 minutes.

Add 1 C. bouillon water but DO NOT STIR. Turn heat to low, and let simmer for 10 mins. Add (again DO NOT STIR) remaining 1 C. of bouillon water and let simmer for 10 more minutes.

Sprinkle (again, DO NOT STIR) mixture with peas, artichoke hearts and green olives. Cover loosely with foil, remove from heat, and let sit for 10 minutes.

For crispier edges, place pan under broiler for 3-5 minutes, checking to make sure it doesn't burn. This step is optional.

Dish out and sprinkle lightly with parsley. Serve with lemon wedge on the side. 

You have the option of adding some sliced, cooked vegan sausage along with the peas, etc (but these products often aren't gluten free, so check the label if you need it to be). And feel free to play around with the veggies you use--these are just our favorites. And if you want more flavor, you can add more saffron with the water, along with salt and pepper to taste (though the bouillon has lots of salt, so try the paella before adding more).