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Vegetable paella recipe

Vegetable paella recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Diet & lifestyle
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegetarian meals

Perfect for vegetarians, but great for meat-eaters too, this hearty rice dish made with starchy short-grain rice is wonderfully rich and satisfying.

47 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 courgettes, trimmed and diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 250g paella or risotto rice
  • 227g can chopped plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • pinch of paprika
  • 800ml vegetable stock, hot
  • 100g French beans, trimmed and cut into short lengths
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • sprig of flat-leaf parsley to garnish

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:30min ›Ready in:45min

  1. Heat the oil in a paella pan or deep frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 2 minutes without letting them brown. Add the courgettes and carrots. Sauté everything for 5 minutes over a high heat, stirring constantly.
  2. Tip in the rice, stir, then add the tomatoes with their juice. Add the turmeric and paprika to the stock and pour into the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the beans and peas in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and add to the rice 5 minutes before the end of cooking.
  4. Stir in the parsley and season to taste. Turn off the heat, cover and leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with flat-leaf parsley.


Leftover diced chicken or cooked vegetables could be used. Sauté quickly in a little oil before adding to the paella three-quarters of the way through cooking.

Recently viewed

Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(11)

Reviews in English (10)

My 12 year old sister made this for our family, she made the recipe with mushrooms, peppers, peas, rice, vegetable stock, onions, garlic, carrots, pepper and some chilli powder. She made it very easily with no disasters. The recipe proved a success and I would try it again, even though it looked more like a soup.-16 Dec 2011

This was very nice, all the family liked it. I might add some chilli to it next time, just to give it an extra kick!-14 Jan 2010

I put more paprika and turmeric than called for in the recipe, and it was quite tasty. I suggest cooking the rice by adding a little water at a time though, as it gives a nicer consistency (IMO!). Will probably make this again.-22 Jun 2012

Vegetable Paella With Chorizo

Julia Gartland for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Liza Jernow.

This weeknight paella comes together in just three basic steps: Sweat the aromatics, bake until tender, then return to the stovetop to cook until the rice becomes crunchy. It becomes even more weeknight-friendly if you take advantage of store-bought pre-cut vegetables to cut down on prep time. For a more protein-rich dish, season a dozen medium shrimp with olive oil, salt and pepper and nestle them into the paella during the last 5 minutes of baking. If preparing the dish for vegetarians, skip the chorizo, swap in vegetable broth and add an extra pinch of paprika, if desired. The only non-negotiable step is finishing the paella over direct flame on the stovetop so the rice at the bottom of the pan forms a delectable crust, also known as soccarat.

What is Paella?

This is a popular rice dish with roots in Valencia, Spain. Some will say it’s known as the one of the best known dishes in Spanish cuisine. The word Paella means “frying pan” in Valencia’s regional language. So the name fits since since Paella is typically cooked in a wide, shallow traditional pan over an open fire. At home cooks, make paella on the stove instead.

There are several variations of paella. Seafood paella is probably the most commonly known variety seen in restaurants and such. Mixed paella can be made too with both seafood and meat combined. And of course vegetable paella is the vegetarian version that I’m sharing today.

Authentic vegetable paella

Warning, this is not an easy, quick or cheap recipe. This is a real authentic recipe that requires at least intermediate cooking skills, good sense of heat control and a decent amount of effort to achieve. If you are looking for a simple and quick paella recipe, please be patient, I will publish one soon.

This is the most painful recipe I have even developed. If you visited my website regularly, you might already know my King is from Spain, and he is a meat eater. He is also a stubborn eater and very proud of his national dishes, so if I cook Spanish food I’ve got to do it right!

One day, I told him I wanted to cook a vegan paella and hoped he could give me some tips or get some advice from his mama. AND…. he gave me THAT look and replied, “paella without meat is not a real paella.”

WHAT. If you’re vegan or veggie and have a meat eating, you may well be familiar with this scene.

I was determined to make a vegan paella that would still appeal to Spanish tastebuds! In the following 3-4 months, I read travel blogs, did lots of research and watched Spanish cooking videos religiously. The idea of paella seem simple, but if you want to get it right, it can be tricky!

Endless failed experiments ensued…
Paella shouldn’t have onion, NEXT!
It shouldn’t be spicy, smoked paprika only, NEXT!
This is not paella rice, NEXT!
You can stir the rice, NEXT!
Rice is overcooked, NEXT!
The bottom is not burned and crispy, NEXT!
The saffron is bad quality, NEXT!
Only use a fresh ripe tomato, don’t cheat with tomato passata, NEXT!

Finally, I created a vegan paella with al-dente rice and a slightly burned crispy bottom packed with authentic Spanish flavours – tomato, white beans, artichoke, smoked paprika and saffron (good saffron is not cheap at all). King gave it a pass and I was full of tears.

Because I have spent so much time and effort on this recipe, I wanted the photo look as authentic as possible. I went as far as to go to a kitchen props warehouse to rent a proper paella pan for the shoot!

The shoot went pretty well, and I proudly sent the first proofs to the King, but within seconds he noticed the white beans were missing… WHAT?! They were in the recipe but………I forgot. Arrrrrrrrrh…..

I was procrastinated and optimistically thought maybe none of my readers would spot that there were no white beans in the picture. As I am not a full-time blogger the amount of time I can spend on this blog is very limited. To redo the shoot is going to be another level of pain!

However, King insisted that after I had gone to so much effort I should redo the shot and get things done properly.

The paella we’re making today comes from Valencia and it includes white beans because, back when locals first started cooking it, not everyone could afford meat and white beans are a great source of protein.

As a vegan version, it is essential to get a balanced diet with a good level of protein(surprisingly this paella contains 17g protein per serve)… so next day, I got up at 6am(!) and did a re-shoot.

After a long journey… here it is! My very proud authentic vegetable paella.

Add a pinch of good quality saffron, salt and bouillon powder to 450ml hot water, stir well. Let it infuse for at least 5-10 minutes

Traditionally paella is cooked with peppers, artichoke and green beans. They look so pretty and colourful, right?

It has peas, white beans and mushrooms.

A large, ripe, juicy tomato is a must…

Cut the tomato in half and then grate with the largest holes on a grater and discard the skin, set aside.

One of the secrets to making the very best paella is to cook the rice in layer thin. The thickness of rice should be no thicker than 1 finger(1.5-2cm) after it’s cooked. Therefore, you need a big flat pan to give enough space for the rice to spread. For example, if making paella for two, it’s best to cook in a 28-30cm diameter pan.

Heat the oil in a large flat pan, add the minced garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes until the garlic turns slightly golden in colour.

Add all the vegetables, peas and white beans and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes until soft.

Season the vegetables with smoked paprika, black pepper and pour in the grated tomato, stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes until they are in a slightly brown colour.

Pour over the saffron broth and bring it to a boil.

Add in the rice, stir very gently and spread it evenly around the pan. You may also want to move around the vegetables to get an even distribution.


Unlike risotto, paella should be tender but not creamy. We want a brown and crispy layer of rice (the socarrat) at the bottom of the pan. Over-stirring can cause the rice to release too much starch in the broth, so please avoid.

Leave to simmer for 10-12 minutes over a medium heat.

When you see some small gaps start to appear on the surface of rice this means most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Add 3-4 small stems of rosemary on top.

Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan with aluminium foil and leave to cook for a further 5 minutes. I know it is so tempting to see how the rice is doing but don’t!

Turn off the heat, leave the foil on the pan and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve warm straight from the pan, with the fresh lemon wedges.

It is unusual that I write such a lengthy recipe and I am genuinely delighted you have made it all the way to here. I hope you will give this recipe a try, especially if you are getting tired with watery, overcooked and unflavoured paella from restaurants. This is a must-make recipe for a real Spanish food enthusiast.

You may also want to check out my other Spanish food recipes.

If you have followed and made this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and take a picture, tagging it with #k33_kitchen and share it on Instagram! I’d be very excited to see what you come up with. Cheers, hope you enjoy my recipes!

Recipe Summary

  • 1 (8-ounce) package mushrooms, quartered
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup diced Spanish onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 pound uncooked Valencia rice or Arborio rice
  • 1 teaspoon saffron, crushed
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (9-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
  • ½ cup diced carrot
  • ½ cup frozen sweet peas
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • ⅓ cup sliced pimiento-stuffed olives
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions
  • ¼ cup roasted red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 3 lemons, cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 400°. Sauté mushrooms in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes or until soft and light brown set aside.

Heat remaining oil in a paella pan or 12-inch ovenproof skillet, and sauté garlic, onion, and peppers 8 minutes or until soft. Add rice, saffron, and salt, and stir until rice is coated with oil. Add broth, and bring mixture to a boil.

Cover pan with aluminum foil, and bake at 400° for 8 minutes. Stir in reserved mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and next 3 ingredients cover and bake 8 minutes more. Remove foil, and bake 8 to 12 minutes more or until heated through. Remove from oven, and top with olives, green onions, roasted pepper, and lemon wedges.

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Great recipe - flexible. I played with vegetables (spinach) and added hot cayenne to boost the flavor next day left-overs were great. This will be a regular in our household.

We loved this. We added chicken and substituted spinach for the escarole/chard since that is what we had on hand. We appreciated the flexibility of the ingredients. Will definitely make this again.

A few adjustments: I used vegetable broth to make it vegetarian. I left out the escarole and peas, and added vegetarian "chorizo sausage." Overall very good and even better the next day. Makes a nice vegetarian meal served with crusty bread.

After making the following changes its a 4: I added to the saute of (green)pepper and onion, two quartered zucchini, mushrooms, corn and roasted red pepper. Then added chick peas instead of the kidney beans. Yum. Kids actually request it!!

Forgot to add my rating below. Would give it 3.5 if I could, for all the reasons stated in my review below. Definitely recommend it.

Very delicious. I believe I followed the recipe to a t, was easy and everybody loved it. Good amount of veggies and beans, yummy, healthy, easy, will definitely make again.

The dish was flavorful and very nutritious. I used a mixture of lacinato kale (sweeter than the regular version) and spinach instead of chard, and used edamame instead of peas as this is what I had on hand. The disappointment expressed by a few reviewers may have to do with the quality of the saffron they used. I find that the real tasty stuff is very hard to find, being uniquely produced in Spain and coming only from one specific crocus. What's on the market is usually good for color but taste is poor. Smoked paprika, however, has incredible flavor and has been used traditionally in many versions of paellas. I used some of that along with regular Hungarian paprika and a light sprinkling of dried hot peppers. With more garlic than what the recipe called for, it was indeed delicious.

My husband made this in ➓ for a dinner party while I made the seafood one from the same magazine. His was fabulous. When I made it again months later, it was not as good. I think the quality of the ingredients is key, as well as attention to detail.

ho hum. Even with doubling the spices and using grilled artichoke hearts, very bland. Nice concept, but lacking in flavor.

I usually have no trouble following a recipe for good results. I followed this recipe carefully and ended up with mush with little flavor. I doubled the saffron, paprika and salt, as well as the garlic, and was still disappointed with the flavor. Some of the vegetables were over-cooked. I also used Arborio rice, as the recipe suggested. The result was more like sticky risotto than paella. I won't use this recipe again. Also, saffron is expensive, so I wouldn't classify this as a budget-conscious recipe based on the amount I needed to even get moderate flavor.

This is a winner. A wonderful recipe to make when you have vegetarian guests. It's relatively easy and you can add whatever veggies you have around. I added some shitake mushrooms and used aspargus rather than artichokes. Everyone loved it.

Yummy yum yum. Easy and very tasty. This was my first time making paella. I made it for my book group and everyone raved and wanted seconds. Doubled the saffron, but didn't have a lot of paprika (it was fine). Squeezed in about half a lemon's worth of juice. Left out the beans and some of the peas (the fresh peas I got were tiny!) and added portabello chicken sausage. Also used canned artichokes rather than frozen. Scrapings from the bottom of the pan were delish. Did I say YUM?

Exceptionally tasty and aesthetically pleasing. I substituted vegetable broth for chicken broth and used light red kidney beans instead of cannellini and it came out wonderfully.

This is a great recipe. I add chicken, shrimp, and chorizo to give it some protein and it always turns out delicious! I've made it three times now.

Horrible, Bland, and a mushy waste of all ingredients, It went straight into the garbage. Sad excuse for vegetarian food! BLEAH.

A winner for sure. I usually find a way to mess up a recipe but not this one. Have made it a few times to great reviews - and now I have something (good) to serve my vegetarian friends or bring to their dinner parties!

I really love this recipe and couldn't stop eating it! The highlight was that I used fresh peas, and they really popped when I ate them. I used veg broth and asparagus instead of artichokes. I had to cook it a bit longer than directed, but in the end, it was fabulous and really easy to prepare.

I made this recipe with spinach instead of chard, and fresh asparagus instead of artichokes (because they're in season). Also used vegie broth to accomodate a vegetarian guest. I prepped everything in advance as a result it was easy to make and allowed me to spend time with my guests. This recipe struck me as being risotto-like in texture. Tasted wonderful, everyone enjoyed it. The recipe makes huge servings. Everyone ate a lot and there were plenty of leftovers! This dish fit well with the Spanish theme of our Rioja wine tasting. As far as making this recipe again: maybe. I experiment a lot and don't often make the same thing twice. It's good enough to do again.

We loved it. I followed Brett and a cook from DC's advice and used 1/2 tsp of saffron and 1 tsp paprika. I also decided against the peas, beans, and kale and used artichokes, asparagus, zuichinni instead. Really enjoyed it.

Awesome! This is a healthy and tasty dish. The ony change I made was to double the saffron and jack up the paprika, salt and pepper as we loike our food a bit less subtle in flavor. Garnish with lemons(excellent suggestion!) This was super quick- I prefer with green chard as it is less bitter and strong than the escarole we have available here. Def. a staple in our house.

Very good, with the addition of a few ingredients you might find a bit odd. i added a 1/2 c. vermouth, 4 ounces oyster mushrooms, a sprig of rosemary, and 2 tsp. chopped wakame. delicious!

After having tried some very greasy paella dishes in Spain, I am happy to have such an "authentic" tasting recipe to make at home. It's definitely worth using 1/2 tsp saffron.

I was disappointed in this recipe, no overriding flavor. Seemed like so many vegetarian recipes, just not very interesting. I wish I had read about the lemons, anything would have helped.

Very tasty and well received by my vegetarian friends. I splurged and bought my saffron mail order to ensure its quality and freshness. It was well worth the investment and in the long run it was a very economical meal. The recipe feeds more than 6 people so there were lots of leftovers.

This is a delcious, healthy and great all-around recipe! Highly recommended.

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Vegetable paella

For Pablo, this is the dish of Spain, often cooked in the fields at lunchtime over an open fire. As a vegetarian, Pablo uses tomato juice rather than meat-based stock in his recipe, but it can include anything you want. The secret to good paella is the socarrat (bottom crust) and smoked paprika.



Skill level


  • 3 cups mixed vegetables (red, yellow and green capsicum, zucchini, broccoli)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 mushrooms
  • ½ small white cabbage, finely sliced
  • 4 bay leaves
  • fresh oregano, to taste
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 3 cups tomato juice, freshly juiced
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 handful chopped parsley
  • 6-8 slices lemon

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Roughly chop the mixed vegetables. Toss together and set aside. Gently heat the oil in a large pot, wok or paella pan.

Add the onion, celery and garlic to the oil. Fry over medium heat until the onion and garlic soften. Add the mixed vegetables and cook for 5 minutes or until softened.

Add the mushrooms, cabbage, bay leaves, oregano and paprika (Pablo likes to use cumin). Season to taste.

Add the rice and stir through well. Add the tomato juice (enough to cover the rice). Stir through and allow the rice to absorb the juice.

Add the stock to the pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the rice is cooked through. Add most of the parsley and lemon slices.

Serve with extra lemon slices and garnish with parsley.

To make a seafood paella, add cooked prawns and mussels and stir through.

Vegetarian Paella

Vegetarian Paella made in less than one hour with simple ingredients. This recipe brings all the flavor and comfort of the classic Spanish rice dish to your own kitchen.This recipe post is sponsored by The USA Rice Federation. I was compensated for my time, however all opinions are my own.

Easy Veggie Paella Recipe

Paella is a dish I love to order while dining out with friends and family. Its humble origins and one-pot appeal have a way of bringing people together, regardless of how intimate the setting is. So with its crowd-pleasing appeal and unique simplicity, it begs the question: Why not just cook it at home?

This Vegetarian Paella is chockfull of authentic flavor, yet endlessly riffable. All of the ingredients should be easy to source at your local grocery store, so don’t fret over the ingredient list. (You may even have a fair amount of them already in your refrigerator or pantry.) And although it comes together in under one hour, the rich layers of flavor will make you believe it’s far more involved.

So break out the red wine and let’s bring the flavors of the Mediterranean into our home kitchen!

What to Put in Vegetarian Paella

The beauty of paella is that it’s a blank canvas for you to add any combination of vegetables you like. While many classic paella recipes include a mix of prawns, clams, and chorizo, this veggie version packs enough smoky depth and texture to satisfy any omnivore.

I do, however, suggest trying to make the most of what’s in season. By choosing local, seasonal veggies, you’ll get the best flavor plus peak nutrition, which is a double-win. Therefore, the below recommendations are simply an outline for you to interchange as you see fit.

  • Aromatics. A key attribute of paella, aromatics are what build the foundation of flavor, lending aroma and dimension. I suggest using yellow onion and garlic, at minimum. Other optional add-ins include chopped carrots and celery.
  • Fresh veggies. I love a mix of mushrooms, green beans, and bell peppers. If making during summer months, feel free to add chopped zucchini or yellow squash, too.
  • Frozen veggies. Green peas are a staple in paella, however they’re only in season during spring months. For this reason, I lean on frozen green peas to add a pop of vegetal sweetness.
  • Canned tomatoes. I prefer fire-roasted tomatoes, which add a smoky backbone to the dish. You can also use plain diced tomatoes, or diced tomatoes with basil.
  • Spices. The quintessential spice is paella is saffron, which grows primarily in Iran, Greece, Morocco, and India. Although pricey, a little saffron goes a LONG away because of how intrinsically fragrant it is. You can find saffron at most specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods, which is where I typically purchase it. However, if you’d rather not purchase one extra spice, feel free to use ground turmeric instead.
  • Fresh herbs. Classic herbs include flat-leaf parsley and scallions, which are fantastic compliments to the spices.

How to Make Vegetarian Paella

The process of making paella is pretty seamless, yet the rewards are huge. To get ahead, you can slice and dice the veggies in advance, and thaw the green peas. From there, this whole dish comes together in under one hour, making it a total weeknight win.

  1. Start by heating a good glug of olive oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet or paella pan over medium-high. Cook your aromatics, bell pepper, and mushrooms until soft. Next, add the garlic and spices and cook until fragrant.
  2. Deglaze the pan with white wine and simmer until mostly reduced. (I typically use Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.)
  3. Stir in the rice and cook until slightly translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, chickpeas, and green peas, and bring the mixture to a low boil.
  4. Next, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook the paella for about 25 minutes, until the rice is tender.
  5. Lastly, prepare the parsley oil by mixing the parsley, lemon zest and juice, and olive oil. Once the paella is cooked, scatter the parsley oil overtop and serve!

What is the Best Rice for Paella?

Traditionally, paella may be made with Bomba rice, which is a short-grain, starchy white rice primarily cultivated in eastern Spain. Personally, however, I choose a U.S.-grown short-grain white rice due to its high quality and ability to find.

What is Short Grain Rice?

U.S. short grain rice is softer and stickier than other varieties once cooked. It also has a slight springiness to the bite, making it a great choice for dishes like paella and risotto where rice is the key component. Some varieties include Arborio, Calmochi, and Koshihikari.

All U.S.-grown rice is gluten-free and the least allergenic of all grains. It’s also rich in nutrients, contributing more than 15 vitamins and minerals, including folate and other B-vitamins, as well as iron. And because of rice’s slow-digesting complex carbohydrates, it will help keep you satiated and well fueled.

Is Vegetable Paella Healthy?

This dish is brimming with antioxidants, plant-based protein, and dietary fiber. In fact, one serving delivers almost 25% of your daily fiber goal. And while it’s plenty satiating from the rice, chickpeas, and veggies, if you’re craving an extra dose of protein, feel free to add meat or fish. For example, grilled shrimp, clams, or sautéed chorizo.

Give this homemade paella recipe a try this week for a guaranteed family favorite. And be sure to snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!

Tools for making Paella

First, you’ll need a low, wide paella pan like the one below. Traditional paella pans are made of carbon steel, which conducts heat really well. Just be mindful to dry the pan well and lightly rub it with a bit of oil after washing to avoid rusting. I’ve had mine for over ten years and, as you can see, it’s seen many variations of paella.

What gives paella its beautiful color and lends a bright flavor is saffron. Just a little bit goes a long way. I love developing that color with some hot water before adding it to the rice.

The key to paella’s smokey flavor is smoked paprika. You can find it in both sweet and hot versions. I’m very partial to the hot one. It’s so delicious and and you can always tame the heat by pairing it with sweet paprika.

Lastly, the body of this dish, is the Calasparra rice. It’s a short grain rice, that expands in width instead of length. Calasparra has a high starch content, absorbing all of the paella’s delicious flavors.

This recipe is ideal for entertaining. You can certainly prep everything before your guests arrive as this finishes off in the oven for the last twenty minutes or so. If you’d like to buy yourself a bit more time, just cover your pan with some foil in a warm oven.