I learnt how to make paella in Salamanca four years ago, and it has become a firm favourite with my friends and family ever since. I adapted the meat recipe for this vegan one, which has proved popular with my meat free friends! Paella can seem a bit daunting, but as long as you take your time with the rice cooking at the end, it’s a simple one- pot dish. Paella is drier than risottos, so be careful not to add too much water when it is almost cooked.
–A wide bottomed pan
–1 large onion
–6 cloves of garlic
–A handful of mushrooms
–A handful of frozen peas
–A handful of green beans
–300-400g paella rice depending on hunger (You can find this in Tesco! Normally it is next to the risotto/arborio rice, which is a good substitute if you are struggling to find it)
–400ml vegetable GF stock
–A pinch of saffron
–2 teaspoons paprika
–A pinch of turmeric (for colour, optional)
–20ml boiling water
–Salt and pepper
–Lots of olive oil!
–Lemons and fresh chopped flat leaf parsley to serve (optional)
1)Chop the onion, pepper, mushrooms, and tomatoes into small 1cm pieces. Dice the garlic. Chop the courgette into half-moon slices and the green beans into 2cm pieces.
2)In the pan with some oil, fry the courgette and green bean slices until the courgette browns a bit. Remove the veg and set aside in a bowl.
3)Put 20ml of the boiling water and the saffron into a mug or small glass.
4)In the pan, add more oil and fry the onion, garlic and one teaspoon of the paprika until soft.
5)Add the chopped pepper and mushroom and fry till they are softer but still firm. Add the chopped tomato and fry until the tomatoes are cooked until soft.
6)Add the remaining paprika and the turmeric (if using) into the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7)Add the courgette and green beans back into the pan and mix.
8)Add the rice to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes. If it looks like it needs more liquid in this time or it is sticking too much add more oil!
9)Add the saffron water into the pan, making sure all of the strands are not left into the pan. Add some of the vegetable stock until the rice looks wet.
10)On a medium heat, occasionally stir the paella and add stock whenever the rice has absorbed all the water. Tip: it’s totally okay for the rice to get a bit stuck to the bottom! There’s a Spanish word for it: socarrat. It’s supposed to give flavour.
11)After 25 minutes, taste the rice to see if it is fully cooked through. Just before it is fully cooked, add the peas into the pan and stir in.
12)Once fully cooked, serve with a wedge of lemon and fresh parsley.