Perfect for large gatherings of family and friends. You will need (ideally) a large paella dish. However, if you don't have this, then a large, low frying pan will also work.
The origins of paella
Paella is a dish that originates from the Valencia region of Spain. It is known in Spain as a rice dish with vegetables, chicken and rabbit. And, the sea food version, typical of Andaluciacia, is best known in northern Europe. But it isn't the original!
Paella Valenciana - as it is known - uses all the ingredients from the Valencian countryside. It was traditionally was cooked to feed the workers in the orange groves and vegetable fields.
Hence, Paella was cooked with whatever ingredients where close to hand. This explains the rosemary and lemon flavours. It explains the fresh green beans, tomato and the olive oil.
Paella also uses short grain rice which is grown in the Albufera area, just south of Valencia. Again, keeping the ingredients local. And revealing the Arabic roots of this region!
In this vegan adaptation we've simply replaced chicken and rabbit meat with other local Valencian vegetables.
Ingredients and method for Vegan Paella recipe
Step 0 - choose your pan
You need a pan. A big wide pan. This recipe deeps your pan to be able to hold 2 litres of water. Test your pan before you begin. If it can only hold 1 litre of water, then follow the recipe but cut the ingredients in half.
Step 1 - chop and lightly fry
4 cloves of garlic
50 grams of onion
then lightly fry in 100 grams of olive oil
Step 2 - chop, add and lightly fry (stirring) for 10 minutes
200 grams of red peppers -
100 grams of butternut squash (or sweet potato or pumpkin)
200 grams of flat green beans (chopped), broad beans (shelled) and large white beans.
100 grams of asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
1 carrot peeled, sliced and chopped
1 large tomato or 100 grams of chopped tinned tomato
Add a handful of herbs (rosemary leaves, bay leaves)
Also, season with pepper, a teaspoon of paprika and a teaspoon of cumin (or a garam masala or other mildly spicy mix).
Step 3 - add stock and bring to the boil for 10 minutes stirring gently
Now add 700 grams or ml of vegetable stock (or water and a stock cube)
Now we're going to add rice and finish
Step 4 - add the rice, stir once and then leave to simmer. Don't stir anymore.
Add 350 grams of short grained rice (don't use Basmati rice - as that is a long grained rice)
Then, make sure the rice is distributed evenly around your pan. You aren't going to stir anymore!
Step 5 - top the rice with the final touches
Add sliced mushrooms (and/ or a nutritional yeast).
Then, squeeze the juice of half a lemon on top of the rice.
Also, Sprinkle any thyme herbs.
Take the second half of the lemon and cut into quarters or eighths - place those on top of the rice.
If you have springs of rosemary - place those on top of the rice too.
Step 6 - simmer on a high heat for 5 minutes
This extra heat will create a nice and crispy base
Step 7 - simmer on a low heat for 5 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed by the rice
Step 8 - place on the table and eat your delicious vegan paella!
How Many does it feed?
This recipe will feed 6 hungry people (as a main / only dish) or 8 people if you include a salad. Often, in Spain, we serve almond nuts along with olives before lunch. Then, often a salad to start. By which time, the vegan paella will feed 8!
Although some consider it a sacrilege, you adapt your paella!
In the top / left image, I have added pumpkin seeds at the end of the cooking, whereas the other image shows a paella with lots more red pepper.