Paella Vegano

13 Dec

(Please excuse my poor Spanish.  Je parles francais, no hablo español. )

My friends know me so well.

About a month ago I hosted my “official” 26th birthday party.  I say official because my birthday is actually in October. Due to a crazy period in my work schedule that routinely crops up around my birthday, I never actually get to celebrate on (or near) the real date. So November has become the new October.  Just go with it.

Anyway, when I finally got around to hosting my party, my friend Tania was among the guests.  Did I mention she had also just flown in from Spain that day?  So not only did she show up despite the jet-leg, she even brought me a present, directly from Spain:

Spices! But not just any spices, saffron, the Holy Grail in Spanish cooking; and some hot-smoked paprika another, Spanish staple.

Obviously, I was super excited by these generous and thoughtful gifts and I knew just what I wanted to make with it- Paella! Now, normally paella is made with seafood and pork, but I decided to put a vegan spin on this Spanish staple using some key ingredients.

I really love the bright and warm colours of Spanish cooking. All those gold’s, reds and oranges; it’s just so inviting and comforting. I definitely wanted to bring that ambiance to this dish by using bell peppers, red onion, tomatoes and artichoke hearts.

Paella is a rice based dish that normally calls for white rice, but I prefer the taste and nutrient value in brown, so I subbed that in, and obviously I used vegetable stock instead of chicken. I can’t stress enough to make sure you use the low-sodium variety, your heart will thank you.

The spices are really what give this dish its Spanish flare and so I opted to use both the saffron and the smoked paprika.  Saffron is a particular flavor and it really cannot be substituted or imitated and so it’s best to just leave it out if you don’t have any.

Remember,  a little goes a long way so only use a pinch at a time!  Smoked Paprika on the other hand is more readily available and economical so feel free to use either the sweet or spicy variety. I don’t mind the spice so I opted for the hot smoked paprika.

This is a great one-dish meal that is perfect for week nights.

Serve with a green salad and maybe a nice Spanish wine from the Rioja region? 😉

¡Buen provecho

Paella Vegano

Ingredients:

1 tbsp vegetable oil

½ red onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tbsp smoked paprika

2 bell peppers, diced

1 can artichoke hearts, quartered

1 can diced tomatoes

1 c. brown rice

2 c. low-sodium vegetable stock

Pinch of crushed saffron threads

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large sauce pan or crock pot, heat vegetable over medium high heat.  Add in your onion and sauté for 1-2 minutes until softened and fragrant then add your garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

Next, add in your bell peppers, artichoke hearts, diced tomatoes, smoked paprika and saffron threads. Stir well to combine the flavours then add in your rice and vegetable stock. Bring the mixture a boil then reduce heat, cover, and let simmer until the liquid is absorbed about 40 minutes.

Remove from heat, taste and adjust seasonings and serve.

-Jess

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