Vegetarian Paella

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Brighten up your dinner menu with vegetarian paella. Enjoy the dish on its own or pair it with plant-based meat substitutes.

Paella is a traditional rice dish from the Valencian region of Spain. There are several different variations, like seafood paella and mixed meat paella. However, if you’re trying to eat more veggies (or if you don’t eat meat), you can try your hand at a vegetarian version from scratch.

While vegetarian paella isn’t necessarily traditional, it’s a delicious way to enjoy the dish in a way that fits your dietary needs. This particular recipe includes vegetables like artichokes, zucchini, and bell peppers, though it’s super easy to customize. Here’s how to make it yourself.

Vegetarian Paella
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

How to Make Vegetarian Paella

You Will Need:

  • vegetable broth
  • short-grain rice (such as Bomba or Arborio rice)
  • sliced red and green bell peppers
  • diced onion
  • canned artichoke hearts
  • sliced zucchini
  • diced tomato
  • minced garlic cloves
  • smoked paprika
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • ground turmeric
  • bay leaves
  • frozen peas
  • lemon wedges
  • fresh parsley
  • olive oil

Feel free to experiment with the veggies in your paella. For example, you can also add:

  • sliced mushrooms
  • diced carrots
  • spinach
  • chickpeas
  • kidney beans
  • green beans
  • sliced olives
  • extra bell peppers

Traditional paella uses saffron, which gives the dish its iconic yellow color. However, in the United States, saffron can be expensive and difficult to find. That said, this recipe uses turmeric, a common substitute for saffron in paella.

Finally, you can also use lime wedges instead of lemon, or even a combination of both.

Ingredients for Vegetarian Paella
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions, bell peppers, and zucchini. Cook for 10 minutes or until tender, tossing frequently.

Peppers, onions, and zucchini in a skillet
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Add the garlic and tomatoes. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.

Garlic and tomatoes added to peppers, onions and zucchini in a skillet.
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Add the rice, turmeric, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and turmeric.

Rice added to paella mixture in a skillet
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Toss to coat the rice in oil and spices.

Paella mixture being sautéed in a skillet
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Add the broth and bay leaves. Do not stir.

Paella mixture finished cooking
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 20 minutes, without stirring, or until the liquid is mostly absorbed.

Tip: As it nears the 20-minute mark, keep a close eye on the rice to ensure it doesn’t overcook and stick to the pan.

Completed Vegetarian Paella in a skillet
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Add the frozen peas and quartered artichokes. Toss and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the peas are heated through and the liquid is completely absorbed.

Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley, then enjoy immediately.

Vegetarian Paella being served with a wooden spoon in a skillet
Photo: Kirsten Nunez
Vegetarian Paella

Vegetarian Paella

Brighten up your dinner menu with vegetarian paella. Enjoy the dish on its own or pair it with plant-based meat substitutes.
Click stars below to rate, or leave a full review in the comments
5 from 2 votes
Print Rate it Now Pin Recipe
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keyword: paella, vegetarian paella
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 369kcal
Author: Kirsten Nunez, MS

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper sliced
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion diced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 medium tomato diced
  • 1 cup zucchini sliced
  • 1 cup canned artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup short-grain rice such as Bomba or Arborio rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Lemon wedges
  • Fresh parsley

Instructions

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions, bell peppers, and zucchini. Cook for 10 minutes or until tender, tossing frequently.
  • Add the garlic and tomatoes. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the rice, turmeric, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and turmeric. Toss to coat the rice in oil and spices.
  • Add the broth and bay leaves. Do not stir.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 20 minutes, without stirring, or until the liquid is mostly absorbed. (As it nears the 20-minute mark, keep a close eye on the rice to ensure it doesn’t overcook and stick to the pan.)
  • Add the frozen peas and quartered artichokes. Toss and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the peas are heated through and the liquid is completely absorbed. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley, then enjoy immediately.

Notes

  • Traditional paella uses saffron, but this recipe uses less expensive turmeric, a common substitute for saffron in paella.
  • Nutritional information is a rough estimate automatically calculated by the Spoonacular food database and does not include optional ingredients.

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Nutrition

Calories: 369kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 1325mg | Potassium: 622mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 2510IU | Vitamin C: 89mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @CleanGreenSimple or tag #CleanGreenSimple!

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